Running is a great way to keep fit, it’s an easy sport which anyone can do and best of all it’s free! London marathon is happening in just over 5 months time so those of you who were lucky enough to have won the ballot will probably be starting to train around now. Even if you didn’t manage to get a place, there are still charity places going as well as other races you can enter in various locations around London.
London has a lot of good parks that you can you train in and cover the distances you need to complete before the big day. Even if you’re just a recreational jogger there are a lot of nice routes with some great scenery which you can enjoy whilst running. There are 8 Royal Parks (land that was originally owned by the monarchy) in London with Richmond Park being the largest. There is a man-made trail called the Tamsin Trail around the edge of the park which is about 11km long so it is a great place to run laps and build up those miles. The route is fairly hilly too so you can get in some hill training at the same time.
Bushy Park is the 2nd largest of the Royal Parks and it is roughly 10.8km around it’s perimeter. The route is generally flat and easy to run and the park is attached to Hampton Court Palace so you could always pop by for a visit if you’ve never been! Greenwich Park is another Royal Park that you can run around and it has a 6.6km loop around it’s perimeter. It is also where the London marathon starts so it would be a good place to train in if you’re running the marathon so that you can get used to the track.
Regent’s Park is a good central London park to run in and it is 4.3km around it’s Outer Circle route. It has showers and changing rooms as well as lockers, so you don’t have to carry anything when you run. The other remaining Royal Parks (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park and St James’s Park) all link to one another and if you follow the outer perimeter of them you will cover approximately 11.6km. The route is practically traffic-free (except for when you have to cross Hyde Park Corner to get from Hyde Park to Green Park) and it covers an impressive list of London’s famous landmarks, including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street, Horse Guards, The Mall, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Speakers’ Corner, The Royal Albert Hall, St James’s Palace and Kensington Palace. So if you’re just visiting London and want to get some exercise in at the same time then you could always give yourself a self-guided running tour!
Besides the Royal Parks there are many other parks in the different boroughs around London that you can run in such as Battersea Park, Victoria Park, Finsbury Park to name but a few. Make sure you check out the opening times of the parks though because some are closed at night. Also don’t forget to have a good meal at least 2 hours before you run. I usually have a bowl of muesli with banana or if I’m pushed for time I’ll grab a granola or cereal bar
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