As I’m coming to the end of the training block for the Tour de Newport (just a couple of weeks to go), I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’ve encountered on the journey and all of the photos I’ve taken. Today I’m reflecting on the running adventures which quickly became a highlight of each week of training.
When you have a 20 week training plan, there are going to be a lot of miles to cover and rather than just cover the same routes week in, week out, I was keen to travel to different places. This would be a great way of making runs interesting and making me look forward to the longer runs.
Throughout the week I stuck largely to the same core of around 3 or 4 routes as I was getting those runs done early in the morning but for the Saturday and Sunday runs I was constantly planning where to go. For many of the runs I’d jump on a train to head to a town and then run either along the road or along footpaths to another town. The plan would start with a distance and then based on my knowledge of the train network in the area I’d have an idea of where I could head. I’d then fire up the OS Maps on the OnTheGoMap.com website and plot a route.
Roads, country lanes, footpaths, canal towpaths, fields, woodlands, forestry trails, beaches, sand dunes, cliff footpaths, urban streets, stream crossings, I’ve encountered them all since the training began. My bread and butter miles were pounding the tarmac around Newport and then on the weekends I’d mix it up either with a pure trail run or a combination which would be similar to what I’d experience on race day.
Tarmac is always straightforward and predicable and is great for churning out the miles but the adventures are usually on the trails where you’re so much more likely to encounter interesting things like wildlife, vistas and historical things. The nature of the terrain means that things can get tough at times such as wading through a freshly ploughed field or discovering that a path you wanted to run along has overgrown. But these are where memories are made and if everything was always so easy it wouldn’t be so fun.
Travelling on my Running Adventures
Given the choice I’d much prefer to travel by train on a running adventure. It’s like an extension of the adventure having to plan which train to catch, deciding on connecting trains and the actual journey itself. New routes taking in new stations are always fun and the journey just adds to the adventure. And when you meet a friendly stationmaster like I did on a recent trip to Pewsey it makes it even more interesting – you can’t beat a bit of local knowledge.
Travelling by train does mean that I need to carry liquids and any food along with colostomy supplies and a change of kit for the end of the run but running with a backpack is always good practice for future ultra races where you are required to carry kit with you.
The Rewarding Nature of Running Adventures
Running adventures are so rewarding. I love photography, I love running, I love travelling, I love being in the countryside, I love history, I love discovering, I love learning new things and heading out on a running adventure ticks pretty much every one of those things on every run.
Maybe it’s just a knack I have or the fact that I try to pick out interesting things on an OS Map or it could be that we have such a rich and varied country but seem to find something interesting on every running adventure.
And the adventure just isn’t about the running itself but the post-run beer and spending time editing photos to find the best ones (I can easily take a couple of hundred photos on a run).
|Wales Coast Path|
|Vale of Glamorgan|
|Penarth to Barry Loop|
|Weston-super-Mare to Bristol|
|Frome to Bath|
|Llantwit Major to Rogerstone|
|Ledbury to Hereford|
|Cheltenham Grand Tour|
|Rhymney River Circular|
|Freshford to Bristol|
|Burnham-on-Sea to Weston-super-Mare|
|Cotswold Relay Recce|
|Pewsey to Avoncliff|
|Stroud to Gloucester|
|Newport to Bristol|
|Patchway to Bedminster|