The third week of the training plan and things are going well. I’m largely keeping to the plan although I skipped a hill session on Wednesday due to family visiting and substituting my early morning run for a run around Cardiff (there are zero hills in the city centre).
The running adventures continued with a 23 mile run along the Strawberry Line between Yatton and Cheddar and I finished off the week visiting a friend’s new cafe. I also had a bonus running adventure on the Tuesday with sunrise run around Clevedon.
Tuesday – 10 Miles
A last minute day booked off and I couldn’t resist an impromptu running adventure to start the day. I knew there was a chance of good weather so fancied a coastal run and around Clevedon looked promising so I headed down there early in time for the sunrise.
I arrived about 30 minutes before the sunrise and used that time to plot a quick route of around 10 miles. I headed over at exactly 6am and joined the coastal path to the north of Clevedon. The route headed into the town and alongside the pier and past the lido which had some brave open water swimmers.
It followed the Poet’s Walk path around Wain’s Hill, an Iron Age Fort, down onto a sea wall and then back in land along a country lane to rejoin Poet’s Walk. Retracing my steps it gave me an opportunity to rephotograph the things I had shot on the way out but in a different light now that the sun was higher in the sky.
The route passed through the town and up a winding path called Zig Zag which offered stunning views over the town. At the top was Dial Hill which I had encountered a few years back when running part of the Gordano Round path.
Dropping down Dial Hill I encountered a rope swing which I just had to have a go on and then back on residential streets I happened to spot the holy grail of post boxes – an Edward VIII. When you run along so many streets you can’t help observe the things you see along the way and often they’re things that most people don’t pay attention to such as foot scrapers outside houses, mile stones, and old post boxes. With only 171 Edward VIII post boxes in the UK (30 or which are in Scotland) I didn’t think that I’d randomly encounter one (there are at least two in Clevedon). This was probably the highlight of my run!
Distance: 10 Miles
Wednesday – 6 Miles (Hills)
After a late night with lots of food and beer, a 4am run, especially one with hills, was definitely not on the cards. Instead I decided to head to work and squeeze in a run before work. Due to the showers being out of action for a long time due to COVID, a run from the office hasn’t been an option but know that they’ve reopened it does give me a fallback.
I didn’t have a lot of time before work so opted for a 5 mile run and headed towards the bay. I took the more scenic route along the dock feeder canal and wharf until I reached the Bay. After an out and back to the Norwegian Church to get an obligatory shot of the Bay I headed back but via a park that runs along Dumballs Road.
Back in the city centre I weaved around the city streets to make up the final mileage to 5 miles.
Distance: 5 Miles (No Hills)
Thursday – 8 Miles
A few late nights this week have taken its toll on the early morning runs and for the second time this week I have opted to run later in the morning around Cardiff. It has been a refreshing change to run around different locations and like yesterday I headed to Cardiff Bay but this time running around the entirety of to via the barrage. As a bonus I ticked off an extra 10 streets in Penarth Marina.
Distance: 8 Miles
Saturday – 22 Miles
The running adventures come around quickly and it doesn’t seem that long ago since I was doing the Tour de Tiny Rebel. This week I needed to do around 22 miles which means that I would be able to plot a decent route. I was looking for a route that would be challenging but still have plenty of flat easy sections so I decided to try out the Strawberry Line which is an old railway route between Yatton and Cheddar. The route would be flat and easy to follow and instead of coming back the same way I would take a different route with some off road sections and hills.
The Strawberry Line is around 11 miles in length and has large sections of old railway line with the occasional section on road and a section that passes through the historic town of Axbridge. The route is popular with walkers and runners and you can hire a bicycle at Yatton to cycle to Cheddar.
Even though I wouldn’t call myself a fan of running along disused railway lines, this one did have some pleasant sections including parts that followed open fields, tree-lined sections and a 165m tunnel that was completely unlit (due to cave spiders and bats most probably). There was even a detour through an apple orchard which was adjacent to Thatcher’s but I doubt would have been big enough to supply them with apples.
Reaching Cheddar I utilised the Tesco Express to refill my water bottles and buy a St Pierre caramel waffle (these are great on a run) and then headed up to the top of the gorge. I couldn’t come to Cheddar and not have a view from the top and the climb would help with training.
Leaving Cheddar I had plotted a route that would take me back a different way to the Strawberry Line but for the last few miles I would rejoin it. The return journey featured another tough climb through a wood but again, it would be beneficial for the Tour de Torfaen. Leaving the woodland I crossed a field and was confused to see a family playing frisbee. It transpired that the footpath crossed a disc golf course which was part of the West Mendips Activity Centre with its dry ski slope and Alpine Lodge.
The route I’d plotted was around 21.7 miles which when accounting for any wrong turns would take me up to 22 miles but by this point I was on track to be well over 23 miles so I decided to change the route and try and get back to the Strawberry Line sooner which would reduce the final distance although I would probably still be closer to 23 miles. So instead of running via Duck Street and Honey Lodge, I made do with Common Lane, which was pretty common and soon turned into some tricky fields with no defined path. But I was soon back on the Strawberry Line for a straightforward run back to Yatton railway station. The final distance was exactly 23 miles and with around 10 minutes until the next train I made use of the pub next door.
Distance: 23 Miles
Sunday – 8-12 Miles
The legs were feeling the 23 miles from the day before and in particular the soles of my feet were sore. I had put down 8-12 miles on the plan but didn’t feel up to that distance and I’d rather be ready for week 4 so instead opted for a 4 mile run around Cwmbran finishing in the stunning new cafe run by a friend – Be:Vito.
Distance: 4 Miles