I have just returned from a brilliant weekend filled to the brim with Coastal Trail running – my favourite kind of running. I clocked a satisfying 35miles up and down the Devon cliffs.
You only have to look through these stunning pictures to understand how beautiful it is in Devon, and what a welcome change it is to running on tarmac.
After a 5 hour drive it was pure heaven to arrive at Saunton beach in Devon and explore the coastline with my 4 and 6 year old boys, while my husband went for a well deserved surf. We all love being near the sea, our boys love the sand dunes and rocks, my husband loves the sea and I love to run along the cliffs.
After some high speed unpacking, I donned my Brooks Cascadia Trail running shoes and set off to run along the beautiful coastal paths. (I’d been planning my run all week!!). Starting from Ruda Camping Site I set off towards Putsborough beach. The trail was exhilarating (to say the least), the views across Croyde bay and out to sea were breathtaking. Despite some steep climbs I felt very fresh and my legs felt so good I almost wished I was racing instead of training. I had a big smile on face and enjoyed the coastal air and stunning views.
I decided to do an hour of running, the trail was new to me so I planned to run out 4 miles and double back on myself (mainly through fear I might get lost). I had it in mind that this would be a recce for a longer run on Saturday and it was a shock when my watch buzzed 4miles. I was almost disappointed to have to turn around and certainly felt much fresher than on my usual 4mile tarmac runs!!
Fuelled on a scrambled egg and bacon breakfast, I headed out the door to retrace my steps and go a few miles further than the
previous run. I may have been a smidge hungover from the previous night’s wine but the coastal winds soon sorted my head out. My bouncy legs were back and I was ready for 12miles of hills.
I love trail running so much. The ever changing scenery and terrain makes me forget my heart and lungs are screaming stop! I am so focused on making the right steps, whilst taking in the beauty of the trail. Coastal trail running is nothing to do with speed and everything to do with strength, endurance and adaptability. Strength because you have to climb those hills to get the views. Endurance because you don’t want to stop and adaptability to overcome mother nature’s attempts at thwarting your run!
Boy did it rain. As I made my way round to Putsborough beach I was nearly knocked over by a sudden gust of wind (The evening weather reported gusts of 70mph!), followed by pelting rain – you know the kind of rain that hurts yourskin? Yeah that! I knew this wouldn’t last though, as the clouds were moving so fast, so I put my head down and kept running. It was at this point I reminded
myself that I had raced up and down a rain swept Snowdon, just a few months ago in Outdoor Fitness Magazine’s Man vs Mountain. (My blog is quoted on their new event website :-)) http://www.ratracemanvsmountain.com/
Soon enough the rain was replaced by sunshine as I made my way along Putsborough beach towards Woolacombe beach. I promised myself I would only run 6miles out but it was hard to make myself turn around and start heading back. Thoughts of spending the rest of the day exploring the beach with my boys the only way of persuading myself I should head home.
After another evening out, with yet more wine, oh and lots of cheesecake (surfers’ portion sizes) I put on my trainers to yet again
retrace my steps. As I started climbing the first hill however I was pushed back by wind and my soul couldn’t face yet another windy run. I promptly turned around after only half a mile and decided to do a short 5 mile beach/village run through Croyde before joining my boys at the pool. I have my limits! The feeling of running uphill against the wind was too draining for me to enjoy the run, and I was only planning to run for enjoyment.
After another evening out, with yet more wine (I know I know – but we were on holiday ;-)) I completed my final 10miles, mixing in
both coastal and beach paths. This was my best run of the weekend, maybe because I knew we were leaving to go home and I had to enjoy every step. The sun was shining and the wind had gone, leaving peaceful, quiet trails with only a few runners/walkers.
My legs may have benefitted from this weekend but I’m sure my liver didn’t!
My training this week (post coast!)
Tuesday – Cycleops indoor cycling (24mins) 80 Burpees, 80 Air Squats, 60 Sit ups, 4x1min Planks, 60 Press Ups totalling a gruelling 45mins with my lovely hubby 🙂
Wednesday – 5miles run at lunch and a killer strength workout with a friend.
Thursday – 20miles cycle and a long swim
Friday – 5mile run and a long swim