Do you grow weary of dodging pedestrians, weaving your way past buggies and breaking stride every time you need to cross the road? Maybe you’ve signed up for an off-road race which requires more diverse training? Or you’ve simply grown tired of pounding the same pavements every day?
Trail running could be just the thing you need to shake up your running routine. Even the most dedicated city dwellers can take to the trails in the comfort of familiar surroundings - with London being a prime example. We’ve collated a few of the best spots to escape the hustle and bustle without ever needing to leave the capital.
Epping Forest boasts roughly 6,000 acres of peaceful sanctuary from the away from the hubbub of the inner-city. It’s open access meaning you can follow the trails or (if you’re feeling adventurous) venture off the beaten track and discover the lesser-seen delights the forest has to offer.
We recommend starting off with one of the nine waymarked trails and then delving into the undergrowth for your own little adventure once you’ve got your bearings.
London’s largest Royal Park spoils runners with its diverse array of wildlife. Running through it you can expect to see the parks famous wild deer, which roam freely within its boundaries.
Running in Richmond Park is synonymous with the Tamsin Trail, a 12km track encircling the park - its a must for those who regularly run there. While it’s a great starting point, the Tamsin Trail is not all the park has to offer. There are a number of other trails that meander their way through the grounds and if you feel like getting particularly muddy you can create your own.
If you’re looking to train hills than look no further than Hampstead Heath. It is home to Parliament Hill, one of the highest points in London. Those that make it to the top are rewarded with incredible views over the city’s skyline.
Also encompassed within the heaths 790 acres are a wealth of cross-country trails you can immerse yourself in. During the summer months, you can supplement your run with a dip in one of the heaths three swimming ponds or lido.
For those seeking a flatter terrain for their first foray into trail running, Wimbledon Common is the perfect place. While the grassland plain is almost completely flat, to the west you can delve into the woodland and get seriously muddy where the ground changes predominantly to clay.
So next time you start to feel fed up with the challenges of urban running, why not take to the trails instead? Not only does it offer a little peace and serenity, but you’ll also work those lesser-used muscles in your core, feet and ankles, which road running doesn’t so heavily rely upon. Trail running offers a breath for fresh air and well-rounded workout, so try it out and share your experiences with the Tribe.