“City Runs” is a new series that I’m introducing to my blog. Throughout the series I’ll visit different cities at home and abroad and give some recommendations of the best places to run. Hopefully this will inspire you to get you outside and give you a great active experience in that city should you ever choose to visit. I’ll also go on the run that I’m recommending to you to make sure it is enjoyable, engaging and not some random route that can be plucked from the top of a search engine. I am effectively your guinea pig.
So to kick off the series, where better than London? I’m from Essex, so this is my closest city, therefore, I didn’t have to push the boat out too much with the budget for travel and after bribing a photographer (my brother), with the promise of tacos upon completion of his days work, I was set. With the abundance of parks and city scapes, London is full of great places to run. After some research and conversations with friends who live in London, I settled upon Regents Park.
Regents Park is a large area with winding footpaths, gorgeous nature and various running routes. It’s closest underground station is “Regents Park” on the Bakerloo line which pops you out opposite the park. The park actually has a map of all its possible running routes which I’ll insert below for you to take a look at.
I would recommend the Regents Park run. This is the option I chose. Although it is slightly longer than the outer circle run, it is certainly more interesting, taking you through into the park meaning you can enjoy its many fountains, its gorgeous nature and any buildings should you need a break or some refuelling. I unfortunately arranged my trip to Regents Park in the midst of snow and freezing cold weather so although I enjoyed my run, you might want to be cleverer than me and wait until the weather is slightly better. However, I was proud of myself for braving the cold and it was certainly worthwhile whatever the weather.
What to wear
The running shoes that I opted to use were Adidas Ultraboost Laceless. I have two pairs of Ultraboosts now, the Ultraboost Uncaged and the Ultraboost Laceless. I seriously recommend you get yourself a pair, whatever the style, they’re insanely comfortable and always great quality. I went for the Ultraboost Laceless for this run and they are by far the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve owned. This was my first time running in them and after completing the Regents Park route they were still just as comfortable. They are evidently laceless but hold your foot locked in place using the ridges of knit across the top of your mid-foot. These trainers look like something from the future.
On my bottom half, I wore Adidas tracksuit bottoms with shorts and thermal leggings underneath in a failed attempt to keep warm. On my top half I wore a thermal top and running t-shirt with an Adidas Z.N.E hoodie which is one of my favourite recent purchases for its ability to be worn in sporting and leisure scenarios. Here’s a look at my outfit of choice for the run.
For me, running to music makes the run so much more enjoyable, giving you a rhythm to move to and sometimes that extra motivation you need to push through for the last few minutes or pick up the pace. So it’s so important to have a great playlist. Right now I’m obsessed with the Black Panther soundtrack. Some key tracks to look out for are “All the stars”, “Paramedic!”, “Bloody waters” and “Pray for me”. The soundtrack has a nice mixture of songs with different paces. Whether you enjoy a fast, powerful run or a more relaxed pace, there’s something here for you. Here’s a link to the album on Spotify - Black Panther Soundtrack
Maybe my next City Run can be in Wakanda?
Spotify – I’ve already mentioned Spotify and that is my music service of choice. For £5 a month for premium you can’t go wrong with unlimited access to millions of songs, albums and custom playlists.
MapMyRun – I also use MapMyRun, which in my haste to get the run over with in the 0 degree weather, I forgot to use. The app tracks your running route, your speed and your pace and is always helpful to keep track of your running progress.
Apple Health – Apple health is a really handy way of tracking steps and distance covered for the whole day and everyone with an Apple phone will have this. There will also be an alternative for Android. Perfect for if you’re not fussed about completing the run in record time or even if you just fancy walking it.
Tube Map – This app helps plot your route using the Underground system and it’s necessary for anyone that doesn’t know London like the back of their hand. It definitely helped me a lot in my journey, telling me which line to get on, how many stops it would be and how long my overall journey would be.
I also checked out “More London” for those of you who prefer the City vibe. More London is an area near to Tower Bridge, City Hall, and HMS Belfast. The Tower of London is also visible from the other side of the Thames. If you want a run that allows you to see all of the key sights then this is the place for you. This route however would be significantly busier so be ready to dodge slow walking humans staring into selfie sticks.
What could improve my run?
If I could look at one thing that I would like to put to use in my next City Run, it would be a smart watch. With built in fitness tracking apps and heart rate monitor it makes it the perfect fitness gadget, with easy access to data while you run rather than having to pull your phone out mid run, causing you to slow or stop. However, they don’t usually come cheap.
After the run
Seeing as most of my days out revolve around food in some capacity, I’d already found exactly where to head after my run for a treat – Breddos Tacos restaurant in Soho. It was just two stops away from Regents Park station. Get off at Oxford Circus and walk for 2 minutes through Oxford street and into a quaint side street and you’ll soon find Breddos. Serving some fantastic tacos as well as other dishes meant for sharing, you won’t be disappointed.
After Breddos you can take a walk into Carnaby street, which is literally 10 steps away and have a shopping spree, with my brother heading straight for the Adidas Originals store.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the first edition of City Runs as I really enjoyed making it. I will be back soon in a exploring a new City and giving you my running recommendations.
Disclaimer: Adidas provided Ultraboost Laceless for this blog post.
Copyright on pictures (except Regents Park map): Alex Tapley