Running postcards from... Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff

In preparation for my Pretty Muddy challenge this month, I decided to fit in some grassy runs. As a road runner, I want to get a little more accustomed to uneven terrain - and the neglected trail shoes unceremoniously buried away and forgotten.

So today I ventured north to one of Cardiff's largest green spaces: Pontcanna Fields. Connected to Sophia Gardens, Blackweir Fields, Bute Park and Llandaff Fields, this is one of the best places to explore, walk, chill, cycle and run. Throw in the neighbouring woodland, river, cathedral and the capital's castle, and you're spoilt for choice.

The tree-lined paths are great for running, but I was sticking to the grass today

As my first proper run on grass in a long time, I opted for laps on the large open space of Pontcanna Fields. Fairly flat and dry, you probably don't need trail shoes, but if you're trying out a new pair for the first time it's not a bad testing ground.

With high humidity and the sun breaking through, this quickly became a sweltering run

Still fairly early in the morning, the fields were relatively quiet. Come early to avoid the crowds on a warm weekend. A few dogs bounded around, ecstatic to be free to run in such a wide open space. I kinda felt the same :)

An early cricket game gets underway

As my first off-road run in months, I was surprised how good it felt. The pre-warm up had my glutes firing, my cadence quickened and it turned out to be great practice for engaging core and stabilising muscles.

By the end of my run I'd counted two running groups, a dozen solo/couple runners and an unending stream of cyclists

Forming a figure-of-eight, I zig-zagged across paths getting busy with runners and cyclists. The trail shoes didn't feel great on hard ground and for once I actually enjoyed getting back onto the grass with the occasional dog walker for company.

River Taff on the edge of my route, with Blackweir woods on the other side

River trail heading towards Bute Park

Run here for: variety, flat routes, off-road/grass training.

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