The 4 Waterfalls Walk + Essentials

The 4 Waterfalls Walk

This week’s workouts were the most fun I’ve had in a long time and it was all down to the 4 Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons. Absolutely stunning views and I fancy myself as a bit of an amateur photographer so I’ve taken tons of photos to share with you.

The main attraction of the 4 Waterfalls Walk for me was that you get to actually walk behind a waterfall! How cool is that! Pretty darn cool.

What I ran this week

In a bid to kick start my running again after RED January I spontaneously decided to go out for a run!

It was a beautiful sunny lovely day and that’s just the best time to get your trainers on and out the door.

It wasn’t anything revolutionary, but running felt great! This is the reason I love running. You’ve got your best running tracks in your ears and the sun on your face and you’re living the running dream.

Yes it was awful in terms of feeling like I was the worst runner ever, but at least it happened.

I have a race at the end of March and it’s going to be an 8 mile trail run…. not sure how I feel about that to be honest but as long as I can stand up at the end I’ll be a happy camper.

I got sick on Thursday night so my plan of running on Friday when I got home from work was out the window but I did have something special planned for Sunday…

The 4 Waterfalls Walk

A couple of my work BFFs (best friends forever) and I decided we’d go on an adventure to the country of Wales to walk the 4 Waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons.

Before we headed off, I was advised that wellies were not appropriate footwear for the occasion due to the tricky underfoot conditions. I didn’t take that advice and I’ll share with you why I made the right decision later on in the post!

The morning started off a little foggy and we drove across the Severn Bridge in thick fog. What a day to go on an adventure when you can’t see anything…

We got to the top of the Brecon Beacons around lunchtime, armed ourselves with a map and a picnic and set off. We said ‘hi’ to some sheep and trotted into the woodland.

The weather had cleared up by now and it was glorious sunshine and around 14 degrees in February! We couldn’t quite believe our luck. We’d gone out jacket-less and feeling optimistic.

Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Heading out to the 4 Waterfalls

The First Waterfall

We arrived at our first waterfall which was a pretty sight with woodland trees all around. One waterfall down, 3 more to go!

The terrain was very trail-like and slippery in some places as we’d had a decent amount of rainfall in recent week. This also meant that the waterfalls were even more impressive so we couldn’t complain.

Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Waterfall #1

Waterfall #2

The most impressive of them all, the second waterfall was the one I’d seen photos of the night before and advised the group chat that if I didn’t get a picture of me standing in the water then I wasn’t going.

Luckily for me, I had chosen to wear my wellies and managed to get a pretty spectacular shot like this…

Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Waterfall 2

This was also the waterfall that you could stand behind and it was pretty amazing. I’d never been to a waterfall before and to be able to reach out and grab one with my hands was just the best feeling. THIS is the stuff that dreams are made of.

The steps leading down (and not forgetting back up) to the second waterfall were challenging. They were steep and slippery but the views at the bottom were totally worth it.

The person who left their spectacles half way down the steps probably didn’t think so though! I sure wouldn’t want to go back down and retrieve them that’s for sure.

We rewarded ourselves with a perfect picnic packed by Naomi. We needed some energy after all of those steps (I believe it was 160 or something like that!).

Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Behind waterfall #2

Third Waterfall

The third waterfall probably had the biggest drop from the edge and me being me, I decided I was going to sit on the edge and get a photo (I’m here for a good time not a long time). I set up my tripod and got down to the ledge and it was exhilarating!

I had to share my money shot with a couple of bananas that had been left. Perhaps this was where all the monkeys were hiding out when no-one was looking.

We then had tons of fun taking some photos near the shallow water and I decided that I wanted to go a little deeper and nearly fell in. It was okay though because Becky was filming me just in case I did.

Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Living on the edge of Waterfall #3

Final Waterfall

The final waterfall was the most ‘insta worthy’ of them all as you could get close to the ledge without fear of a drop on the other side. It was really pretty on this one and we made sure to take lots of photos here.

Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Waterfall 4

The Long Walk Home

All 4 Waterfalls conquered, we headed back to the car and my gosh it was a long trek back! In total we walked around 7 miles according to my Garmin and it took us around 5 hours (bearing in mind we stopped to take lots of cool pics along the way).

We walked back the ‘scenic route’ along the river which was deserted and we never passed another person along this route.

By now our feet were tired and the sun was starting to go down and all that was keeping us going was the prospect of an ice cold McDonald’s coke and a bath when we got home.

Tips for The 4 Waterfalls

  • Make sure you wear suitable footwear and more importantly that they’re comfortable. I wore my wellies because they’d been well broken in from walking the dog in them and the grip was sufficient on the bottom
  • The terrain is particularly tricky in places so you need to be steady on your feet otherwise you could end up slipping onto a wet rock
  • Take snacks and a picnic. We had the picnic queen with us so were well prepared for sustenance.
  • Also, take water! Although we didn’t see any places for bathroom breaks along the route except for in the car park where we set off from so bear that in mind too
  • You may want to consider your fitness levels as it’s no walk in the park. There are steep inclines to navigate both up and down and you certainly feel the leg burns during and in the days that follow (see below for elevation chart)
  • If you aren’t sure about a 7-mile walk, head straight for the main waterfall and that will be more than enough to whet your waterfall appetite as it’s impressive
  • Take tons of photos. You’ll enjoy looking back on them when you’re home and you’ve got some lovely keepsakes
Tips for the 4 Waterfalls Walk | Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls
Elevation chart of the 4 Waterfalls

All in all, it was a brilliant day out and I’d highly recommend the 4 Waterfalls.

The Brecon Beacons are totally stunning and every time I’ve visited I haven’t been disappointed.

Total cost of the walk was £4 for parking and £1 for a map so it’s a cheap day out for tons of fun too.

If you’ve walked this trail before, have you got any tips you’d like to share?

Running Blog | 4 Waterfalls Walk

Need For Speed | Week 3 | 10k Training | Diary of an Injured Runner

Things I thought I’d never say… ‘I’m writing this on a Bank Holiday Monday, sat in the garden in the glorious sunshine… in England’. ‘I have two 10k races in 2 days, one of them is a trail run’. ‘I lost 11lbs in 5 weeks’. And yet, here I am saying all of those things!

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The Bristol 10k is now a week away and I’m feeling pretty optimistic that I might be able to pull a further PB out of the bag. While I’m obviously going for a course PB AND an all time 10k PB, I’m wondering whether aiming for a 55min PB is out of the question! I don’t want to crash and burn by running outside of my actual ability. There has to become a point where I physically cannot achieve a certain time which is nothing to do with how hard I push??

Monday | Shins Shins Shins
I’ve been really really suffering with my shins lately and foam rolling was just way too painful to try and ease it off so I ordered this body roller which is like a big stick with little wheels on that you use to roll away your aches and pains. I’m a little sceptical but I’m getting desperate at this point and need to feel like I’m doing something. I’ve watched more YouTube videos than I can count on how to ease the pain and this was one of the things that was highly recommended. It’s such a difficult area to try and stretch out, I find myself trying to contort into all sorts of positions to try and get a stretch there but nothing really works.

Tuesday | Cardio Day
I’ve been embracing these ‘non running cardio days’ these past couple of weeks and my legs are definitely feeling the benefit of it. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t do this workout in constant pain on the inside of my shins though! I wanted to do a little longer but I thought I’d be silly to push it, especially with 2 races this weekend so I did just over an hour.

Wednesday | They See me Rollin’
The ‘body roller’ was delivered today, hooray! I gave it a little test on my legs, they’re still sore, and I can’t say they felt any better afterwards but I’m assuming persistence is the key here. The Labrador was also very interested in this new contraption!

Thursday | Rest Day
I’m feeling nervous about Saturday’s run because I feel very under qualified to run it. I always imagine that there’s going to be runners there who look at me and think ‘she’s definitely no runner, what on earth is she doing at a trail run’. And while they’re right, to date, I’ve never felt like this when I’m at a run. There are always many different abilities at races and everyone is encouraging. I’ll admit that I have thought about not going. It’s such a long way and I really don’t want to fall over ahead of Sunday’s run and do myself an injury.

Friday | Out Out + New Trail Shoes
I had the day off of work today and my main goal was to get some much needed new trail shoes. The guy in the running shop was very helpful and I sauntered around the store trying on as many different shoes as they had and running up and down stairs. I was surprised that I ended up with a size 4 as I am actually a size 4… and I know running shoes are usually bigger than your normal shoe size. Anyway, they felt comfortable and I went away new shoes in hand – also knowing I was going to commit the sin of running in a brand new pair of shoes… ah well, what was I going to wear, my battered Nikes or my toe crippling trail shoes!

The evening followed by a trip into town to say goodbye to a work colleague but I had to leave fairly early because of the lovely early start tomorrow!

Saturday | Brecon Beacons 10k Trail Challenge
This race may have taken over as my most favourite one yet! Before that, I’d like to share a fun fact about myself that, if you don’t know me, you may not know. I am rather silly. Which means that silly things happen to me… A LOT. While I’m the kind of person who cannot fit any more information into my brain until the last possible moment, I do like to have a general idea of how far away a race is ahead of time, which means I’d looked to see how far away the Brecon Beacons were and my sat nav reliably informed me that it was just under 2 hours away from home. The sensible part of my brain said ‘that’s weird, it’s only across the bridge into Wales and up a bit’, but I reasoned that perhaps the roads into the Brecons were slow and winding which is why it was going to take so long.

So we’re at race day, hopped into the car at some stupid o’clock, and I’m following the sat nav to get on our way. What I thought was really strange was the way that it was taking us, up through Gloucester and onto the M5… weird, I need to be on the M4 and I know this isn’t the right way. I pulled over on the side of the road and instantly realised why we’d gone so far off course… my sat nav was set to ‘avoid tolls’! So we weren’t going across the bridge into Wales we were going ALL THE WAY AROUND IT! Great start to the day, I could have had an extra half an hour in bed!

Crisis averted, we eventually made it to Race HQ, which was a tad troublesome in itself. Because there was also an Ultra, Marathon and Half Marathon on the same day spaced an hour apart, we’d arrived during the half marathon set off and we had to wait for all of the runners to cross the start before we could get into the car park and we were sat there for quite some time. Phew, we made it. The views in this part of the world are stunning and I was feeling a little nervous as to what these trails were going to be like. I’m 100% no technical runner but the views on trails cannot be matched which is why I come back to them time and time again. During this race I had a very brief discussion with another runner as to the fact that we were both here for the ‘experience’ and not the PBs, which is how I feel about nearly every trail run I’ve completed.

We had to gather for a race briefing 15 mins before the start and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t great. They were using a tannoy system which didn’t seem to be working and I couldn’t hear a thing. People were shouting that they couldn’t hear but that didn’t make the instructions any clearer to me. They held up signs which I assumed meant that we had to follow them… easy enough.

The puppers set off 5 minutes before the main race and then we were off. As soon as we started I felt knackered! Even though the race started early, it was already pretty hot. Because I have the Glastonbury 10k tomorrow, I’m not going to push myself today that’s for sure because that IS a time I care about! The views on this course were absolutely stunning and I’m not even ashamed to say that I stopped on multiple occasions to either take in the views or to take photos of the views. The terrain was great and not very ‘technical’ in my mind, with the exception of a couple of rocky places towards the end. Had it been raining and more muddy, it might have been different (that’s not to say there weren’t some muddy parts as there were).

My new trail shoes held up well, they could definitely still do with some breaking in, but otherwise they felt okay (not like my last pair where I actually thought my toes might fall off after wearing them) and I was a teeny bit upset when they got mud on them, not gonna lie haha.

Coming up to around mile 6 and I thought I was on the home stretch but my watch clocked a final distance of over 7 miles, and it’s usually pretty accurate! (Reading some peoples’ Instagram posts after, the Half Marathon was more like 16 miles – eek).

Overall this was a great race, I loved it and I’d love to go back again and not race as I wanted to really take in the stunning views instead of running away from them! The medal wasn’t too shabby either, one of my favourites. Also worth noting, I had zero pain, niggles, nothing. My shins didn’t hurt one tiny bit.

Sunday | Glastonbury 10k
This was the first ‘race’ I’d done (since 2012 when I ran the Bristol Half Marathon) in 2017 so I felt there was a bit of pressure to get at least a course PB and then under the hour was my goal. I adore Glastonbury, it’s such a unique place. Unfortunately last year I didn’t get a chance to look around much as I felt absolutely horrible after and wanted to get back to the car and home as soon as possible.

Glastonbury, as you might expect, is also a very chill race and it doesn’t start until 11.20am which is the latest start time I’ve ever had. This also meant that the temperature was absolutely scorching by the time we set off at around 24 degrees. I couldn’t remember much about the course, although I vaguely remember thinking it was pretty hilly the first time around, and there’s ‘Heartbreak Hill’ on the very last 1k of the race, which I didn’t manage to run up in 2017 (I think I may have said a curse word when I saw it around the corner then too).

I’d set my pace time on my Garmin to 59:30 (definitely not going for any kind of 10k PB after running trails yesterday and it being so hot), getting around in under an hour was my number one goal. I set off quite well and managed to get 1min lead time fairly quickly so I just needed to hold onto that pace as long as I could. Last weekend, at Bridgwater 10k, I only stopped at the water stations for mere seconds because I knew that was going to make a massive difference to my overall time but today, I couldn’t run past them I really needed that few seconds break and a bit of water intake.

I managed to maintain my pace right up until mile 5 but by this point, someone had notched up the temperature and I was absolutely boiling! I scraped by this mile, managing to hold onto about a 50 second lead but it was tough. The photographer (also, free race photos at Glastonbury!) takes a photo of you with the Glastonbury Tor in the background, which is a great backdrop and I knew that Heartbreak Hill was just around the corner from here. There is even a sign ‘Welcome to Heartbreak Hill’ at the bottom. I looked up (mistake), did a little internal cursing, and ran up the whole flippin’ thing, which already meant I was better than last year. Then it’s a nice little downhill to the finish line and boom you’re done! I looked at my watch and it said ’58:44′ and I was over the moon with that time! 5 minutes faster than 2017 which (to me) is a huge difference. Another sub 1 hr 10k in the bank, which makes this the 3rd run so far.

I’m so thankful that I found the pacer on my Garmin, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to get the past sub 1hr times without it. Before, I’d look at around mile 5 and guestimate whether I’d be able to get in under or not but with this, I know my estimated finish time and whether I’m on course or not – it’s absolutely brilliant!

After the race, I felt horrible. I’d been feeling sick since yesterday and the heat didn’t help but I’d also had completely blocked ears. Every step I took, every time I breathed in, I could ‘hear’ it and I felt like I was on a plane. We had ice creams and a wander around the Abbey and then came back to the start to watch the drummers and then headed back to the car. I must have sat in the car for around 20 minutes trying not to feel sick – nonetheless, great day, great race and I may come back again in 2019 we’ll see. I did get a bit sunburned though, being a pale English Rose hahaha. How silly of me not to wear any lotion! I also had no pain at all during or after this race, which I didn’t even realise until I’ve sat down to think about it now! I’m really hoping that it stays pain free as this is the only way I’m going to continue to get better race times. (Pray to the shin gods).

Next Week – Week 4
The week of the BIG run, which I’m looking forward to but also I’m going to be so nervous trying to get that ‘need for speed’ and all time PB. The weather forecast is showers and definitely cooler than this week, so I’m feeling better about that! While I will never, ever, ever, complain about it being too hot in England, I may complain that it’s too hot for running.

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