Day 863: Running in Oxford

I am talking about running. Again. Considering the fact that I do it almost every day and sometimes even twice a day (summer season), it is a large part of my life. When we go travelling, the running shoes are the first things to go inside the suitcase. I do have to think what other things to pack, but I never doubt whether I need or don’t need my running shoes. It’s a lifestyle.

When we arrive at a new place, we always look around for places to run. Is there a riverside? A park? A dedicated running trail? A forest with hiking trails? In Oxford, we were housesitting in the Donnington area and could reach the bridge + river Thames in five minutes (when running). So, the first place everyone planning to run in Oxford should know is the riverside. Basically, it is the Thames Path. You could find some tarmac and some hard uncovered path there. Not too many people walk or bike there but it could get crowded in the summer when people tend to walk more. I am just supposing, we visited in December. You could run uninterruptedly for about 3.2 km (2 miles), then you’d need to cross the road over the Folly Bridge (traffic lights, the road can be busy). From there on, it is a bit harder to run because you will also have to squeeze through the gates at the Osney Lock and cross some bridges as well. At one point, you will also have to cross the road over the bridge and go to the other side of the bridge. This happens at the Osney Bridge. The path narrows and could be muddy. Shortly after, you can cross over to the right and run on Port Meadow, a grassy area which is fine when the day is dry.

If you love cross-country running and uphill suffering (it is hard, believe me), go to South Park. No association with the stupid cartoon whatsoever. It’s a big lump of grass with a narrow (muddy) trail around it. Up the hill, view (!), down the hill. Running up is tough but the views are worth it. If you need to do some hill work, this could be perfect. There’s another park just across the road as well: Headington Hill Park. I didn’t go there but the landscape is rising around there so you could expect some hills there too (the name should give a hint about this as well).

Oxford does have its own park run (5K), which happens every Saturday at 9 am. I did plan to go there but just couldn’t get up. If it had been closer (not a 35-40 minute bus ride away), I would have tried harder. I love such park runs that are so nearby that I can jog there and count this as my warm up (so, needs to be at most 3K/2 miles away). We lived in South Oxford and the run is in North Oxford. The buses are unreliable (more on this soon)! So, didn’t go. But you could go. It is supposed to be a mix of tarmac and grass, not my favourite… The run is in the Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park. If you need a tempo run on a Saturday morning or simply want to jog with loads of people, go there. You can pick your pace. I usually use the park runs for some hardcore training, i.e. tempo runs. There is always someone who runs at about the same pace as me and that I can compete with.

Progress Report

1. Own and live in a house.

I was exhausted after my tempo run and didn’t feel like working at all.

2. Write AND publish a book.

Nah, didn’t write either. We had planned a sightseeing day in Oxford.

3. Win a major race.

Missed the park run and had to do my own tempo run. Tough. Didn’t feel good at all. The illness must have been still haunting me.

Photo of the Day

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The Thames Path is quite fine for running. The riverside was indeed our favourite place for the workouts. And we were not the only ones running there.

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