London is an extremely active city, with some of the world’s favourite sports starting life in the UK, and taking to the centre stage in the capital each year. From the world’s biggest lawn tennis championship coming to the south west suburb with the same name each year, Wimbledon is a must for tennis fans. For those who prefer football, whilst the World Cup might not have been held here since 1966, that doesn’t stop fans from celebrating like it has, with screenings across the city and beyond.
For those who love running, London is the perfect place to do so. It is home of the London Marathon, one of the most famous, prestigious and biggest in the world. Whether you’re heading to the city to run it, or just heading for a visit but are packing your running shoes, here’s some tips and ideas for getting the best out of the experience.
Running Ettique : Quick Do’s and Don’t’s
As with anything, there are some simple etiquette rules you should follow, that are generally in line with British culture and customs…
- Stay left. We Londoners are very particular about the direction and position you need to adhere to, whether you’re driving, walking at a tube station or indeed, running. Keep to the left to avoid awkward mishaps when crossing other runners.
- Be mindful of space. Another big thing for Brits is personal space. Etiquette dictates that you should give runners a wide berth when passing or overtaking.
- Pay attention. This one seems a little obvious, but is super important nonetheless. The city is busy, to say the least, so make sure you’re staying aware when crossing roads so you don’t get hurt, or cause an accident.
- Cross into cycle lanes. As mentioned above, you need to be really aware of the lines you’re running into. Cycle lanes can appear as if from out of nowhere, so keep this in mind.
- Ignore fellow runners. Whilst no one expects you to have a full blown conversation with passing runners, a quick, polite nod goes a long way. Londoners are friendly, after all!
Best Spots to Run Round
The Royal Parks
The eight royal parks are legendary for a reason. They provide some much needed, peaceful serenity to Londoners amongst all the chaos, and can be found dotted round the city. One of the most popular parks with runners is Hyde Park due to its size – it’s the biggest one – and its location, as it’s nestled in one of London’s best boroughs. There’s also loads of great accommodation near Paddington just a stone’s throw away, too.
East London canal network
Discover a diverse side of east London by heading out along the boardwalks. Start at Limehouse Cut and venture past the Olympic Stadium and Victoria Park until you end up at Broadway Market. Keep going and you’ll eventually end up in Angel, where the towpath ends, and you can celebrate with a pint in one of the areas lovely pubs.
The Thames Bridge
The beauty of London’s inner city Thames Path is its huge selection of bridges and the boundless potential for creating your own preferred bridge-to-bridge running routes. Start at Battersea Power Station, cross over onto the north side of the river and follow until you get to the iconic Tower of London. Then head across the Tower Bridge and revert back on the south side of the river. Here, you’re not far at all from great hotels like The Devonshire London, too.
General Tips to get the most of London Running
If you’d like a few general tips to help you on your London running journey, we’ve got you covered…
Treat yourself to a sports massage
After a long day on your feet, whether you’ve been running or walking all day, a sports massage can be a great way to boost your training, and to aid recovery. Try a full leg massage after a really long run or race, (or once every few months) to help flush away toxins and repair muscle fibres. Why not look into hotels with spas included for reasonable prices – look out for Paddington Hotel Deals.
Make sure you’re staying hydrated
It’s crucial that runners stay hydrated, to make up for the amount of fluid that is lost as you sweat. If you become dehydrated you could suffer from nausea, fatigue or headaches, and you won’t want any of that ruining your holiday. Especially in the record temperatures the city has experienced as of late, ensure you drink frequently throughout the day and try to stick to natural, caffeine-free drinks such as water and fruit juice.
Invest in good quality footwear
Purchase good quality running shoes, so that your bones, joints, muscles and tendons are supported whilst you exercise. It’s advised that you buy running shoes from a specialist running shop where you can try before you buy, and get expert advice on the right type of shoe for your needs – luckily there are loads of great speciality shops in London full of people who can help.
Make sure you’re consuming enough protein
Protein isn’t just for weight trainers, it’s essential for runners, too. When you run, your body uses protein as fuel to keep going, so it’s important to regularly replace your stores. Luckily, British cuisine places a heavy emphasis on meat, fish and eggs, so you won’t have to look far to secure your daily intake.
Consider using a heart rate monitor
Heart rate monitors (HRMs) are a useful way to analyse your heart rate, so that you can monitor your performance and can adapt it accordingly. Investing in a heart rate monitor will help you get more from your workouts, and reduce the risk of injury through overtraining.
Get social with other runners
There are so many runners in London, that people have organised local running clubs. Check out websites like MeetUp that specialises in interest areas like this. This can be a great way to meet people on your travels, too!
Do not run if you’re injured
It’s hard to sit it out while waiting for an injury to heal, especially if you’re on a short trip away and want to run to see the sights. You risk setting back training and racing goals however, if you do overexert yourself, so take a rest.