1. Bute Park
Right in the city centre, this park is suitable for nearly all types of training. It's perfectly flat so that you can work on speed and have a clear indication of pace. You will most probably see many other runners out and about, too.
The River Taff runs through the side of the park, and seeing the seasons change in the park makes sure your runs always stay interesting. If you are starting from the town centre, then you can follow the river down (on your right side), cross the bridge on your left and if you take a right, the path will lead you to Llandaff Fields, so you can make the lap longer if you wish.
Bute park is the ideal training environment – it's flat, plenty of space to run, and a great place to run with friends.
2. The Garth Mountain
This has to be my absolute favourite place to run with my dad. Don't let the 'mountain' part put you off – as it only just qualifies being called a mountain and not a hill, you can make this run as easy or as hard as you want because the road goes along most of the ascent from Pentyrch.
It really begins in Gwaelod-y-Garth, a very small, quiet village with a cosy pub amid the houses. The steepest part of the run starts from the pub and goes along the side and behind it. Once you pass the very steep left turning up, the ascent becomes more gradual as you run along the side of the mountain. This part of the run is all road.
You will pass a pink cottage on your right, at which point a wonderful view of Cardiff can begin to be seen on your left. Follow the road up until it takes a right turning, and here is where the 'off road' section begins. The terrain will become a carpet-like grassland from this point, surrounded by ferns and the occasional herd of friendly cows.
The final difficult push up the trig point will bring you to the summit, from which you will be able to see all of Cardiff. The good news is that the hard hill work is over, and you can begin your descent down. Be careful of your footing on the uneven grass and rocky paths as you go down.
There are several places which you can begin your run up the Garth, but this is my favourite. It is a reasonably short run that makes up for the time with the intensity.
3. St Fagans Fields
This is an area I frequently run, and it can be really lovely in the Autumn and Winter months.
If you start from the Fairwater Green, you can get a nice hill in to start by running up St Fagans Road. Once you reach the top of this hill there will be an entrance to a wooded area on your right. If you go through here, another small hill arrives but once you reach the top you get to follow a lovely wooded path for the next 5 minutes.
This is my favourite run to do on frosty days, as the fields surrounding this wood are covered in a white sheet of frost in the mornings. Once you reach the end of this wood, turning left will lead you to a street called The Drive. If you run down this and take a right, you will come across St Fagans cricket ground, of which you can do as many laps as you like!
There are many fields around this area to explore and create your own route. It does involve a healthy mixture of road and easy trail, so if you're looking for variety in your runs then this is the perfect environment!