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Bristol-based fitness blogger, Rachael Power, shares her favourite places to train around Bristol, so if you’re local and looking for a new place to train check these out.
Bristol is an amazing city to train in and around. The hills that were once the bane of your life to carry groceries up can become the perfect piece of kit for strength and hill training; and the vast expanse of the Downs a haven for early morning runs - as long or as short as you like.
Here are my top recommendations to keep your training on track.
Of course, you can’t mention Bristol and running without the vast grassy expanse that is the Clifton Downs. From the top of Westbury Hill to the Sea Wall, around to the Spire hospital and back to Westbury is a fairly flat route that’s about four miles (or more) in total.
I trained for my first 5k, 10k and half marathon on this route alone (by doubling up for longer distances) so it’s perfect for everything. Just make sure to run in daylight, as it gets extremely dark in places away from the main road at night time.
The Tow Path
This was another favourite half marathon training place of mine. Starting in Bedminster, the route extends far under the Clifton Suspension Bridge and out toward a village called Pill.
You can jog along the sometimes very muddy river bank for as far as you like, covering distances of up to around 13 miles if you’re going to Pill and back. This is a great route if you’re not keen on city running and want to escape for a bit , but not go too far out of town.
Do watch out for families and cyclists who use the route in significant numbers on sunny weekends!
The River Avon Trail
I ran this for the first time last year, and it is stunning. This is actually a continuation of the Tow Path and starts out at Pill, but if you want a short route start near Temple Meads and you can go out as far as Bath. The path is accompanied by woodland and the odd railway track. Take some change with you too, though, as there’s an ice cream shop stop a few miles in!
Clifton Suspension Bridge/Ashton Court
Clifton itself is full of hills and a really great place to run around. One good route is starting in Redland, run to Clifton Village via Whiteladies road, on to the Suspension Bridge, across to Ashton Court and back which is around 12k depending on where you start from.
It’s a beautiful route and full of hills and dips which keeps it very interesting. If you have the time or energy, Leigh Woods is a great route too.
If you want to get a flavour for the half marathon route itself, I’d recommend at some point trying the Portway out for size.
There are pathways along the right hand side which overlook the Avon Gorge and it’s really pretty on a nice day out. The road itself is 6.5 miles long, so plenty of space to run!
One of my final favourite routes is a circle around the Harbourside. From Queen’s Square, run towards Bedminster, across the swinging bridge and down the left hand side of the Harbourside. It’ll bring you back around in a circular route as you reach the other bridge, near the Pumphouse pub, and run back in past the pubs and bars and back to Queen’s Square.
Try to run this at quieter times to avoid huge numbers of people commuting or going to the pub.
What are your favourite routes around Bristol?