A few weeks ago we suggested trying out Yoga – if that wasn’t the right thing for you we have another option! Our teacher Huw enjoys running and used to run up hills whilst carrying a bike when he lived up in the North a few years ago. London is quite busy and not comparable with the countryside but has still lots of good parks and amazing views to offer! We asked Huw to tell us how to stay fit and where to go for a run!
I’ve been asked to write about the best ways to keep fit in London. Unfortunately thinking about this has forced me to reflect my rapid sporting decline since moving south from my previous home in Yorkshire. As a young man the only thing that got me running around was having a ball to chase, but it was the rural North that persuaded me to keep fit beyond football. The moors and fells (hills) ‘up North’ encourage a number of unique local sporting pursuits, notably fell running and cyclo cross. After trying out the grueling 38 mile ‘3 Peaks’ cyclo cross race (carrying a bike up hills) about 10 years ago, I took up fell running, later doing the 3 peaks fell race over the same three mountains, not to mention many other local events involving pubs, rivers, tussocks, crags and scree.
Running in the open countryside of the North is a joy, and London simply can’t offer the same incentives. These days, apart from cycling to work I only tend to run once or twice a week, but nothing like the 6 days I used to commit to. Nevertheless running in London has much to offer, and is not limited to inhaling petrol fumes and weaving between pedestrians. You can of course simply choose one of London’s many beautiful parks for a short run, but if you are tempted by something a bit longer, or would prefer to cycle, many of these parks are linked by trails and canals and it’s quite possible to all but completely avoid roads and enjoy a virtual country trail. My favourite of these routes links Finsbury Park, Highgate Wood and Alexandra Palace parks, culminating in great views from ‘Ally Pally’ over London. Disused train lines have been turned into a Parkland Walk that takes you from Finsbury Park to Highgate Wood where you can weave through the dense forest before cutting across to Ally Pally. This is a tame run compared to running through the Yorkshire Dales, but always remember the walking option, keeping fit doesn’t have to be fanatical.