The Welsh coast and offshore islands are famed...
Many sections of path are ideal for runners
Whether you’re just getting into running, training for your next marathon or simply jaded with your regular routes, head for the coast to get fit and refreshed. And discover how uniquely invigorating seaside runs can be.
Every coastline has long-lost and less obvious corners just waiting to be re-discovered. Planning some new runs gives you the perfect excuse to go exploring in the harder to reach or less-shouted about quarters of Wales like the most northerly point on Anglesey, where shaggy fields tumble roughly into the sea; or the longest beach in Wales, Cefn Sidan, in Carmarthenshire with 8 miles of stunning sand and space.
If you’re heading to Wales for a break don’t forget to pack the running kit and get some training miles in on the Wales Coast Path. Knock out some speed reps on the quiet lanes or notch up leisurely distance sessions on beach and track. There are plenty of beaches where you can set up camp for the day AND be in the perfect spot for a run. What better way to keep everybody happy!
It is no surprise that trail running is becoming more and more popular, getting off-road for some of your runs reduces the impact on your ankles, shins, knees and hips; it gives them a breather while you carry on training. Coastal paths are perfect for trail running; they are well-signed as well as scenic, and there’s always the promise of a dip once you are done.
Inspiring, scenic routes without too many hills are crucial for new runners. Sea views are the ideal way to help take your mind off the effort, so incorporating a stretch of the Wales Coast Path in your new routine will work like magic. Start by mixing running with walking and build gradually. Most runners give up because they try and do too much too soon. If you’re completely new to running get advice and ideas from the NHS website on the Couch to 5K running plan.
The 870 miles of the Wales Coast Path was first run non-stop, in it’s entirety by Arry Beresford-Webb in 2012. And as if this wasn’t enough she linked it with the 177 mile Offa’s Dyke to get back home, all in a mere 41 days (that’s a marathon every day). A truly amazing accomplishment. You can read more about her journey on our Hall of Fame page.
Running the path in chunks you get the best of both worlds; a grand and satisfying objective but with time to stop and stare. Break it down into chunks to suit your fitness and time constraints. Do "there and backs" so you see the view both ways; create loops with a little creative use of back roads or use public transport to run from A to B. Use the maps and travel planner for your area. Here are a few cool examples:
Start/finish at either end for a "there and back" blast on scenic promenade - 5km one way.
A 4 mile long beach renowned for its surf. Pound your way up and down to the beat of crashing waves.
Start and finish at the family friendly sandy beach at Rhoscolyn (Borthwen). A 5km clockwise loop that takes in craggy sea cliff scenery with a return via the church and village.
A dramatic tour of this rugged peninsular riddled with ancient relics. A 5 mile off road loop starting and finishing from Whitesand’s Bay.
The tour of the Great Orme via the quiet one way toll road makes a scenic 9km loop. Parking is easiest on the West Shore so start and finish here.
An island off an island makes a natural marathon distance loop, with approx 13km on road and 38 off road. Start and finish at Holyhead or Treaddur Bay if you want amenities on tap, or one of the eateries, like the White Eagle at Rhoscolyn for a post run re-fuel.
Thanks for the content of this running section to Libby Peter, a climber, mountain guide and keen runner, who is based in North Wales.
Image credit: Keith Sharples