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Tour de Newport Training: Week 17

Last week was a huge week in the training plan with a 35 mile run on the Saturday followed by another run on the Sunday. The build up to the 35 miler (should have been 32 but diversions added to the distance) was difficult and made me feel ill at times. I think there was a bit of pressure about making sure I made the distance as it would work as a confirmation that the training plan had been working and I’d be ready for the big day.

However, on the day everything work out even better than expected and I estimated that it would take me around 05:30 to get there and I got there in exactly that time even with an extra three mile, three diversions and pit stops. It felt so reassuring to complete the distance and feel good at the end of it.

Tuesday – 14 Miles

I was up at the usual time but I was in state to run. I was on day 2 of a stomach virus which had kept me bed-ridden for the entirety of Monday and made me feel rough for all of Tuesday. I had a couple of lateral flow tests and both were negative so thankfully it was something more straightforward. This was all I needed with just a few weeks to go until the big day. Thankfully I had completed the biggest run of the training plan last week so whilst I wasn’t happy about not being able to run, I would be worried if I had missed that run. 

Distance: 0 Miles

Wednesday – 8 Miles

Much like run 1, run 2 was not going to happen. I was on the mend but still in no position to run. I resigned myself to having another day off. The forced rest was probably doing me a bit of good but I’d much rather be out there doing my 4am runs. 

Distance: 0 Miles

Thursday – 10 Miles

It had been over 72 hours since my symptoms first appeared and I was feeling quite a bit better, but still not great. Even though I probably should have stayed in bed and not run, I couldn’t resist getting out there. I was going to keep things short with some loops around the Riverfront and as soon as I started running I noticed that my pace was slower than usual and it was a little tougher. I managed to complete a 5k run but this was enough for me so headed home. 

Distance: 3.1 Miles

Saturday – 18 Miles

I was due to be running the Cotswold Relay today with the running club but pulled out on Monday to give them plenty of opportunity to recruit a replacement which they quickly managed to do. Even though I wouldn’t have been in a position to run a race, I did feel as though I could tackle a longer run. As this weekend would be the last time that the trains would be running as normal from South Wales to Bristol Temple Meads before summer engineering works causes disruptionI decided to head there for a running adventure.

The was keen to see the new graffiti that was being installed as part of the Upfest 2021 festival but needed something a bit more substantial first so plotted a route from Patchway station which would use the Frome Valley Walkway trail to follow the River Frome and then through a couple of parks before hitting Easton to check out some graffiti. From there I’d head over to St Werburgh’s and St Paul’s and then cut through the city over to Bedminster to see the new Upfest works. 

The first half of the run was nearly all trail and parks and it took in some stunning places with quite a bit of history such as the mills that used to line the Frome, the old bridge in Frenchay (‘built by subscription’ in 1788). There were many good photo opportunities along the way so the pace was slow.

At Easton I’d now be urban running and heading around the streets, back lanes and underpasses seeking out graffiti. The area has along with St Werburgh’s and St Paul’s has no end of amazing graffiti so progress because even slower.  

By the time I’d reached Bedminster the graffiti was almost on every street corner. I hunted down the new pieces I’d seen during my research but my favourite (it wasn’t new) has to be the seagull peeking out from Back Road off North Street. The gap between then buildings where the narrow road is means that from the right angle it looks like the seagull is peeking out from behind a house. 

The run finished in the usual spot (Small Bar) and I’d run a total of 15 miles. It was very slow due to all the stopping and compared to the 35 mile run the week before it was perhaps harder!  This was to be expected due to still recovering from the virus but I’m glad I got out there even if it wasn’t for the 18 miles that was originally on the training plan. 

Distance: 15 Miles

Sunday – 2.5 Hours

The original plan was to run 2.5 hours and I felt confident that I would be up for running that today but didn’t fancy straying too far so used it as an opportunity to run the Wales Coast Path section on the west part of Newport which I would encounter around 61 miles into the Tour de Newport route. I had run it before but it was a few years ago so would be good to have a refresher. 

With rain potentially on the way I did it in reverse to get the coast section out of the way first and then would run along roads and lanes back to the start. As it happens the rain never came and it became quite warm at times. The route was just as I remembered – long sections with not much happening. The section is around 6.5 miles in length and come the big day it’s going to be a challenge in itself getting through it after 60+ miles of running. 

Leaving the path it was then largely roads back via Castleton and Ty Mawr Lane but I did manage to tick off a path which I had long wondered about. It was shown on the OS Map with green dots which signifies a route with public access but the exact nature of the path may be unknown. Sometimes these proper paths, other times tracks. This path was well maintained the entire way with either a canal towpath style surface or tarmac as you get closer to Duffryn. This would definitely be useful as part of an alternative route between Newport and Cardiff of vice versa. 

The run finished at 13.5 miles which was 2.5 hours in total when you take into account taking photos along the way and navigating through a large herd of cows.

Distance: 13.5 Miles

About Author

I once didn't run, then I started to run and got addicted. Then Crohn's Disease put a stop to my running adventures. Now I'm back with a new bum (colostomy) and starting to embark on new running adventures.

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