Relocating Runner: Elevation, Elevation, Elevation

Hi everyone, sorry it’s been so long but you know how moving house is. It’s my first blog post since I’ve moved and I wanted to write a bit about how I’ve been finding new running routes.

So here it is, hope you enjoy:

I’m no longer in the hustle and bustle of London, which suits me for sure, but it does mean I’ve had to learn some (all) new running routes.

Its been fun starting from scratch and exploring new places.


I need to talk about the hills.

So many hills.

I’d spent some time in Wales before I moved over for good, and had been lulled into (what I now realise was) a massively false sense of what the elevation is really like here – I think I’d been staying in a particularly flat part of the country as I’d been subject to runs as flat as this:

It was even flatter than London.

I now, however, definitely don’t live in a flat part.

When I leave my house I have a choice of:

A) Turn right to go up the mountain, and I do mean a mountain.

B) Turn left to go down the hill. Which is great until I have to come home and I have a mammoth hill to climb.

I asked the advice of a friend before heading out on my first run. They suggested I go up to a reservoir as while it’s a bit of uphill there, it’ll be a nice downhill on the way back, and I’ll get some great views. I even drove the route beforehand to check out the roads leading up to the trail path to the reservoir. It was hilly, but not unmanageable.

What this friend didn’t realise and therefore didn’t mention, was the trail path up to the reservoir went up the mountain trail path. This was the only bit I hadn’t thought to scope out in advance.

It was a bit of a shock to say the least. There went my easy run. This is what subjected my glutes and abductors to some serious DOMS the next day:

Thank God my next run was a track session, I don’t think I could have faced those hills again so soon.

Anyway, in my quest to find a flatter route I headed out for the canal path.

I’d run on the canal path before on another section, and remembered it to be incredibly flat. As you would expect a canal path to be.

What I didn’t realise (a common theme in this update!) was the many, many, many locks that could be found in this part of the canal path:

Don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely run out. But I had a definite sense of dread for the way back and it was tough going.

I then had an idea that I could run the canal along the other direction. Surely that would be flatter as it was heading in the direction I used to run it!

At this point, I’m amazed I’m still this naive…

Of course it wasn’t flat! What was I thinking?!

Flat is a luxury no longer available to me.

Flat is something I now wax poetical about and dream of on warm summer’s nights.

Of course I’m being dramatic, but finding a solid route for tempo running is going to be challenging. I’ve been back training a full week and tried a fair few different routes, but no dice.

Tempos will have to be saved for parkruns and taking dedicated trips to flatter landscapes.

And just in case I sound overly morose, I think I better add that although I joke about the grief and loss of flat routes, it is wonderful to be running in clean air on clear running routes amongst beautiful scenery.

Croeso i gymru.

(welcome to Wales)

2 thoughts on “Relocating Runner: Elevation, Elevation, Elevation

  1. Marty Coleman says:

    Great post, very funny. And I know you actually realize that these hills are going to make a HUGE difference in your fitness and readiness for your long races!
    I tell my runners your legs have to have more miles in them than your race. And how do they get those extra miles in them? By doing HILLS of course!


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