My 5 favourite runs in Edinburgh

Whether it’s New Year’s Resolutions, you were inspired by the stunning feats at the Commonwealth Games last year, or even by your neighbour or friend that gets out running in our beautiful city; every day is a great day for running in Edinburgh.  I have put together a list of my 5 favourites to share with you which I personally love and think they capture the beauty of our stunning city.  All the routes start from the Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – Royal Terrace which is an ideal part of the city to start a run from.  Go and explore on your own, or if you want some company and learn some interesting facts along the way then join me on a running tour of Edinburgh.

Auld Reekie Highlights

In just 4 miles you can take in the major sights of Edinburgh, from the hotel you can head East and explore the historical terrace and mews of Royal Terrace before shooting up behind the Old Royal High School to Calton Hill and clamber onto the Athenian acropolis and take in a bird’s eye view of the city.  From there it’s an easy downhill onto Princess St past the Balmoral Hotel with its majestic clock tower and through Princes St Gardens before heading uphill to the imposing Edinburgh Castle up on Castle Rock.  Let the legs recover on the downhill of Royal Mile all the way past the new Scottish Parliament to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, exactly 1 mile and 107 yards away.  It’s a short uphill back to the hotel back through the New Calton Burial Ground and check out the body snatchers watch tower as you climb back up past the Robert Burns memorial on Regent Terrace and back onto Royal Terrace.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Arthur’s Seat

If you’re a runner and you’re in Edinburgh you have to go all the way to the top, I’m sorry but there are no excuses!  It’s only a short distance, 3 miles from the hotel to the top and back, but sharp!  The views are worth the lung busting effort to the top and you can really have some fun on the way down.  Beware if you are heading up in the dark you will need a head torch as it is not lit.  Find your way down to Holyrood Park next to the Palace, and head up the main walkway aiming slightly left and heading for the back of the Crags, the path branches slightly to the left taking you off the paved walkway and still heading left, as you start to climb some rough steps (St Anthony’s chapel is directly up above you) and the path veers to the right, follow this main path all the way to the very summit.  It is very steep in parts and can be slippery so make sure you have adequate foot wear and take care, especially when there are high winds.  Enjoy the views and why not find another path to take you back down to ground.

Arthur's Seat

Arthur’s Seat

Water of Leith

The Water of Leith walkway stretches from the delightful Leith Docks, winding its way through Edinburgh City to Balerno.  You can run a mile or take it all the way to Balerno and clock up the 12 ¾ miles running the entire length of the path. It passes through some interesting areas such as Colinton Village and Dell, the Union Canal, Saughton Winter gardens, Murrayfield Stadium, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Garden.  You can choose to join the path anywhere along the way and make your run as short or as long as you like.  Want to go long?  Take the path all the way out to Balerno and you are at the foot of the Pentlands, but that’s a whole other blog!

Cobbles, Trails & Beach

This one is a bit longer, 12 miles, but it doesn’t have any serious climbs, just a steady incline on the way back.  From the hotel, head down towards Holyrood Park and follow Queens Road around to the right and drop down onto Duddingston Low Road at the roundabout, heading past Duddingston Loch.  You can follow the main road all the way down to Portobello, or cut through into Duddingston Golf Course to see Duddingston House, a stunning 18th Century mansion, before heading down to Portobello.  Enjoy running along the beach in the sand along Portobello promenade enjoy the sounds of the water lapping on the sandy shores of the Firth of Forth before heading along Seafield road east, when you see ‘Booker’ a warehouse on your left, cross over and head up Brunstane Burn Path.  Keep following the No.1 cycle path signs and this path then turns into Innocent Railway and enjoy a cool & dark unique run through an old railway tunnel before popping back out under the Salisbury Crags to head back up to the starting point.

Duddingston Loch

Duddingston Loch

7 Hills of Edinburgh

This is for the experienced runners among you and not to be taken lightly as its a rather hilly (as the name would suggest) 14 mile circuit, so make sure you have some water and snacks with you before you head out.  This route is actually a race that takes place annually in June every year, but it is also a great way to see some stunning views of Edinburgh and beyond at anytime of the year on your own merit.  The route is quite complicated to list here but clear directions can be found on the race website here.  The route starts and finishes on Calton Hill, heading out to enjoy Corstorphine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill East, Braid Hill, Blackford Hill and up Arthur’s Seat before finishing back on Calton Hill.

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Celebrate Valentines Day with a Run!

Celebrate Valentines Day with a difference this year and come and join me in supporting Bethany Christian Trust, by running the 5km Partner Run.

As part of my role within Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – Royal Terrace, I have teamed up with our chosen charity, Bethany Christian Trust, to hold a 5km fun run at 10am on Saturday 14th February. It is £10 to enter, and all proceeds go directly to the charity to benefit homeless and vulnerable people in Edinburgh, so a very worthwhile cause.

So grab your partner, a friend or family and come and join us for a fun morning in one of Edinburgh’s most fantastic locations, Holyrood Park. Hope to see you there.

Partner run.

36 miles in 24 hours & I become ‘Bug of the Month’

The plans were set, so even without ideal preparations (a weekend of bad food, booze & late nights), the plan was executed; mostly.

The hubster and I parked up at New Mills and joined the Macclesfield Canal and ran 26 miles to Kidsgrove on Monday.  It was a good run, the sun was out, it was pretty warm (by our standards) and it was great to get this training run ticked off & test out this route.  The canal path itself was harder than we both expected, very hard rocky surface which caused the knees to suffer along the way but we persevered.  Again I suffered with the inability to eat after 15 miles.  I was doing quite well up to 15, I ate salted peanuts at Mile 5, had a salami stick at mile 10 and then had half a chocloate Clif Builders bar at mile 15, but by 20 I had my usual nauseous feeling and didn’t take any more food on; much to my detriment.  Maybe it was my hydration……I normally drink Nuun http://www.nuun.co.uk/ along the way which has always worked for me but thought I would try Elete water http://new.eletewater.com/ on this run as I had been hearing a bit about it, but it just didn’t taste as good or feel that it was giving me the same hydration kick as Nuun.  So my apologies to Nuun for even considering another product, I’m back with a vengeance, my bulk order has been placed!  Image

We arrrived at Kidsgrove and it was still 3 miles to Alsager where we had a room booked for the night at the Best Western, absolutely knackered we jumped on the train for the last 3 miles with a Mars milk in hand.  Great recovery drink!  Even when I’m feeling nauseous this manages to settle my stomach and refuel me wonderfully.  The hotel was great, always a bit hit & miss with Best Westerns, but this one is great, odd location as there isn’t much out there, but we were only there to be fed & sleep.  Food in the Stables Bar was perfect, we both had the steak, egg & chips and the meal was so substantial there was no need at all for dessert.  We will definitely  be using this route again with this hotel, the good thing is there is a pool & sauna there too which could be quite handy.

The original plan was to run the 26 miles back, but considering we both needed to be at work this was not really practical, so we caught the early train back to Macclesfield and ran the 10 miles back to New Mills, got home, showered and worked a full day.  So not a bad effort at all.  Legs felt surprisingly good after sleeping in compression kit and we managed 9:30min/miles for the 10 miles.

No rest for the wicked though.  Back on the bike on Wednesday for the cycle commute to and from work and even got to Bioticfit for a tough session of Military fit that evening.  Still feeling my abs on Sunday after monstrous V-sits!  A short 7 mile run on Thursday, followed by a day of rest on Friday left me feeling fresh for a ride on Saturday.  Took the mountain bike out and explored the Trans Pennine Trail from Reddish Vale to Longdendale.  I would have liked to go further but was running out of time, so it was a nice 32 mile loop along some lovely tracks & found a new route to get home when I am doing my long run home from work as well, so that was a bonus.  Always nice to get out on the bike to take the weight off the legs a bit too.  It was quite a warm day so I kept hydrated with my camelbak filled with Nuun & a tasty flapjack on route to keep fuelled.Image

Finished off the week with a double run commute, so a tidy 14 miles, to take my weekly running mileage to 57.  Pretty pleased with that!  I stopped via Asda on my way to work and found that they stock Milo, as my husband would say ‘Oh Yes Please’, I bought a tin of that, perfect recovery drink for me, just need to stay out of the tin for extra helpings of course!

You are probably wondering what ‘bug of the month’ is…… There’s a great website, called Running Bug where there are loads of tips, competitions, log your miles & forums for runners from all walks of life.  Take a look at the link and get involved.  It was great to be selected as bug of the month & I really enjoyed chatting to James at The Running Bug to tell my story. http://therunningbug.co.uk/rbblogs/follow-the-running-bug/b/weblog/archive/2013/06/14/bug-of-the-month-lucja-leonard.aspx

 

 

 

It’s the end, but it doesn’t have to be Day 31 Janathon

I can’t believe I have made it through the full month without a day off exercise, looking forward to getting a rest day in, but it won’t actually be until some time next week!

I enjoyed my run in the morning, a nice 7 miles to work in Brooks Pure Grit shoes that I am trialing out.  Because my trek is on the footpath I jumped into Phillips park to test out the grit side of things and treated myself to 5 hill reps. They worked really well.  They are comfy and look good too!

After a massive service on my bike today, it was a great feeling to ride home 7 miles with tyres that have tread and brakes that work!  I felt my tyre after we changed it, and it was as smooth as a babies bum, and the brake pads, well……the pad part was non-existent!

Was supposed to make it to Circuits tonight but alas I got held up at work so that was a no go, glad I couldn’t though as I think I have pulled my pack slightly moving a TV at work, the wrong way, bending at the back not at the knees!  Lesson learnt the hard way!

Long run & then some Day 29 Janathon

Up and at ’em this morning, a hearty bowl of porridge to fuel the tank and it was time to get out for my long run of the week, 16 miles. How lovely it was to be out in some milder temps for a change! Wasn’t sure what route to take but thought it best to avoid the river as that would have been a slosh pieffort sure after all this snow and rain! Out & back from Didsbury through Northenden, Sale & Altrincham. 8.5 min/mile….not bad!

Home, quick shower, leftover tacos and muster up energy to ride 7miles to work, whew, hard work. Grabbed some dark choc covered coffee beans & a double shot Americano and it was all cylinders firing again!

The 7 mile return cycle in the headwind at 11pm didn’t really excite me, but done nonetheless!

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Ass Kicked Day 10 Janathon

Thank goodness my hubby suggested putting on my jacket for the morning run commute to work, I think I have been deceived by our recent mild weather and looking outside at 6.30am, it looked aok, but heading out it was absolutely freezing! A great run though, I was warm enough in my gear for the 7 mile jaunt to work, but it is a nice feeling to feel the sweat kicking in under it all! I even wore my new buff from http://www.endurancelife.com (Never Give Up is the slogan so very fitting!). I kept thinking of my monster race coming up on the 19th in Anglesey through the same website, 32mile ultra planned, so these 7 miles to work are really just base miles, so when I get tired I just think it’s only going to get harder so keep going! It’s a great reward to get to work and have a hot shower and feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
With Bioticfit circuits planned, I cycled 9 miles to Abney Hall Park and did a monster session of circuits. James, our trainer, certainly knows how to get the most out of all 28 of us. We kicked ass doing static squats, kettle bell squats, squats with sledgehammers and burpees with a tyre to name a few killer moves. I’m feeling it in my rear this morning so it definitely works!
Relaxing on the couch afterwards hubby and I settled in to watch The toughest race on earth, with James Cracknell completing the MdS, Marathon des Sables. Considering we are eyeing it off for 2014 it was certainly educational, scary, thought provoking, but still utterly inviting in a crazy way! Deep respect for all the runners that take part, whether they actually finish or not #Respect!