Recovery 9 miler including Titchfield Canal


With my first marathon of the year completed last Sunday I’ve been using my cycle commute to work as “therapy” for my legs. Each day has brought “looser legs” after all the hills and the 26.6 (as it turned out) miles. We were told there’d be on extra charge, so those 0.4 miles were free !!

Today’s plan was quite simply 4.5 miles down to the coast and back. A beautiful sunny morning welcomed me back into the world of running and as the initial couple of miles passed by I felt it had been the right decision to take a week off running.

Once I reached the sleepy village of Titchfield the sun was casting its shadows and even though April has only just arrived I’d used sun block on my forehead. The village was quiet as I ran through and without any car in sight you could almost imagine yourself transported back in time.

DSC00276The canal isn’t very wide but it does make an interesting and scenic route as it winds its way toward the sea. The initial track has been flattened and compressed so as to give an all year round surface, however, mud and tree roots add an element of interest the further you travel away from the village. I was in the company of walkers, cyclists and nature watchers what with Titchfield Haven being a nature reserve. The grasslands, lakes and open spaces mean photographers with huge lenses are also a feature of this area.

DSC00268I’m no expert but the mornings bird song certainly came in a variety of different tunes !! As I approached the coast I could see fellow runners heading towards me and within a brief moment Dave, Ed and Kate from our running club passed by with smiles and a “morning Rog” as they progressed on their 16 miler.

The tide was out as I reached the sea and the Isle of White beckoned in the distance. Quick questions, what’s missing from this photo ? Clouds !! There was hardly one in sight 🙂 April the 2nd and 15 degrees …. the first sight of Summer !!

DSC00273Retracing my steps back along the canal it was also evident that work has be done on fencing off both the water and the fields were sheep and cows occasionally graze. Ultimately fencing has to be practical but it was great to see some more traditional features with the weaved look that had been used to the right hand side. With the bright sun and the dappled effect this was giving through the shade of the trees you did have to be mindful of the tree roots on the sections of the path which weren’t as compressed.

DSC00274 That said, who wants a path with no variation, it’s always good to be thinking and having to choose your line of direction. Running this path does take me back a couple of years when Mark Greenfield and I ran it in February with head torches and ice in the puddles. I thought I could see a wide stretch of ice ahead of us that night but the river had overflown the banks and our reward was to run through freezing cold water 🙂

These kind of quirks are what make running off road unpredictable and enjoyable. All that remained was to join the tarmac pavements for a couple of miles and that was my recovery run done.

The plan now is to ramp up the miles, run both days at the weekend and generally move up a notch for Race to the Kings double marathon in twelve weeks time.