Working up a sweat in Ayia Napa…
With three-and-a-half-years of extreme heat training and running under my belt in the UAE, I was very much looking forward to reacquainting myself to the warm weather of Cyprus for the best part of eight days.
Indeed — given as the week served as an important juncture of my training block ahead of October’s Dublin Marathon — I knew I could leave no stone unturned despite being in the country for my friend’s wedding and lots of celebrating!
And, having not done too much prior research in regards to potential running routes, on reflection, it was enjoyable to discover places to run on the spot! The hot weather — with temperatures of 30°C or more — meant day-running (which I completed twice) was relatively tough going in dry heat, while the humidity was challenging at night time.
From Monday 23rd September to Saturday to Sunday 29th September, I managed to clock 43.7 miles and record over five-and-a-half hours of running.
Despite being in the midst of a marathon training block, I was really satisfied to build a decent volume of running — especially as I was there to have fun, enjoy myself and attend various events!
I topped up my running load with a couple of strength and conditioning sessions in the gym at the Grecian Park Hotel — a stunning venue. However, I have to say that the overall size of the gym and recovery facilities were a little disappointing for a five-star hotel.
On reflection, my recovery time was limited throughout the week I spent away and I struggled to dedicate the time needed to recovering properly post-run.
But, in a nutshell, that’s running for you! It’s a time-consuming sport at the best of times and I’m not sure how I could’ve managed it any differently.
It was, overall — though, an amazing week of running and as you can see from the Strava routes below — Protaras and the outskirts of Ayia Napa were lovely destinations in which to explore.
I only really had time to scratch the surface but if you ever find yourself in a) Cyprus and b) that region — check out the information below in regards to running:
Protaras — Cavo Greco (see first Strava Map below)
The E306 stretch — which begins in Protaras and leads to Ayia Napa — is running paradise in the sense it’s a direct route, there’s a spongy track to run/cycle on and it’s also very quiet with superb sea views. There is, too, a slow but steady hill climb — beginning at Leoforos Konnou — which is ideal to test endurance levels and add elevation to your workout.
Run to National Forest Park Kavo Gkreko and beyond (see first Strava Map below)
Beginning at the Grecian Park Hotel and taking a left, there is a thoroughly enjoyable flat stretch heading down towards the Cape Greco National Park.
Go past Konnos Bay and follow the off-road trail path to reach the Gkreko Visitors Centre. From there, you can either turn left and go downhill in pursuit of Cape Greco Peninsula or turn right and head along Kavo Greko Road and link up with the E306 highway.
Whichever option you take, there is plenty of variety on offer in terms of distance and time — whether you’re looking for a quick 5km up and back workout from the hotel, or weightier mileage.