Running comes with all sorts of challenges (mainly keeping your lungs inside your body) and the environment in which you run can make all the difference. I'm not one for running of the fell, mountain or trail variety. I'm very much a big city chick. I love London with all my heart and pounding its pavements on my training runs just confirms to me each time how much. My life and work are based mainly around East London, so I thought I'd share a route I run regularly and enjoy.
Start off on Brick Lane, down by the Truman Brewery (try not to get too distracted by whatever sweet grooves may be coming out of PUMA YARD at the time) and run up the street. Brick Lane is always such a hive of activity. There are so many interesting shops and stalls around - plenty to keep your mind busy while your legs power you onwards. I love the smell of the Beigel Shop as I run past and always make a mental note to pop in and treat myself on the way back.
Then I hang a left onto Bethnal Green Road, past Richmix and the buzz of Box Park. Turn right onto Shoreditch High Street and run past all the bars where revellers pour out onto the streets and usually give you some vocal encouragement or a round of applause.
I'll then hang a right onto Hackney Road and weave in and out of pedestrians til I make my way down to the canal. The canal is where my run really comes to life. Now that there are no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings to deal with and fewer people, I can put the hammer down and test out my speed with no interruption. I have almost left my lungs by the canal many-a-time. I like the peace of the water. Along this part of the canal, you'd barely even know you're in a city.
Then you see the gates to Victoria Park on the left hand side and who can resist running in a wide-open green space? Victoria Park is always bigger than I think (you'd think I'd learn after running in it so much, yet every time, I'm surprised), so your can really get some good mileage in. The paved pathways are so smooth and feel great underfoot and it's always great to see other runners and cyclists out enjoying the park.
After doing a lap of the park, I usually head back to Shoreditch to get that bagel I've been dreaming about since I set off. What I love about the route is that it gives me three different environments, three different terrains and each part of it has a different feel. Plus, ending the run in Shoreditch means you can give the legs a rest and reward yourself with some good ol' people watching.