Todays run was only my second in two weeks, so, the fact that it lasted for over two hours and I bagged 14 miles meant it’s great to be able to plan the next 3 weeks ahead of the upcoming coastal 50K race.
You can’t beat a good run, on a bright and crisp morning with the added bonus of running by the sea. I’m only four miles from the Solent waters, with views of the Isle of White and a well trodden footpath that’s made up of beach, trail and pavement.
With the temperature down to only a couple of degrees I always look to see if our bird bath has frozen and sure enough, it had. However, with the right kit this isn’t an issue. My trusty long sleeve Helly Hanson and thick egloves take the chill out of the initial miles as your body temperature rises and then they are reassuring when you get those occasional chilly breezes that come in off the sea.
Running into the bright sun along Hill Head I passed the multi-coloured beach huts and the sailing club. With Titchfield Haven’s wildlife marshes to my right there were already a number of enthusiasts with their tripods and cameras looking for their favourite birds. Once past the white sea side bungalows I moved down onto the shingle and by the waters edge.
Having the whole beach largely to yourself gives you a real feeling of “escaping” and its one of the main reasons I enjoy my running. The sound of the sea lapping up and down the shingle, the occasional gulls cry and even the sight of a glider on its flight path back to the local landing strip all contributing to my experience.
Naturally running on the shingle is harder work than on the coastal path but there’s also shingle sections in the race !! Moving up onto the headland the path was surprisingly dry with only the occasional puddles to dodge around. At this point I decided to retrace my steps and head back towards civilisation.
I pondered that I ought to use this stretch of coastline more in my running because even though it doesn’t have the ever changing hills that I enjoy, there’s something special about running by the sea.
Once back onto the tarmac coastline the dog walkers and families were much more in evidence. I made my way back towards Stubbington and around the airfield, then down Newgate Lane and back home. These necessary road miles weren’t my preferred choice but today they made for a decent run.
With 3 weeks to my ultra I’ll aim for a 20 miler this weekend coming and a number of regular runs to catch up the missing ones from recent weeks. There’s no doubt that a flat course means fewer demands on certain muscles but at the same time running for five + hours with specific muscles being worked constantly can wear you down.
I’m really looking forward to meeting up with lots of runners that I know and with the marathon and ultra starts only separated by half an hour then the out and back nature of the course should offer lots of banter 🙂