We all know that running is the fastest, cheapest, most convenient and most practical way to burn off three tins of Quality Streets and a block of Stilton. The trouble is the time of year: before work, it’s dark. After work, it’s dark. So how about on your lunch break? Work with me for a moment, here. It gets you out of the office, into the fresh (albeit damp) air, will genuinely make you feel better, and London is full of running routes.
For a 5km run, start at Adeleide Road Swiss Cottage Library and run the 1km to Regent’s Park as your warm-up. Run down Avenue Road on the left side, cross Prince Albert Road, and run right around the park on the Outer Circle until you find the first set of gates to enter, and stretch here. Then run to the Inner Circle and follow it until you hit Chester Road. Run down Chester Road to Broadwalk, dodging the kids on scooters, until you’re back on the Outer Circle. Run left and around past London Zoo and you’ll end up on Avenue Road once more.
For shorter options, use the football pitches to do intervals – jog to one end and sprint back ten times. Head over to Primrose Hill for a harder version: hill sprints, walking down to recover. For a flat but scenic route, try the canal path in Regent’s Park.
The Isle Of Dogs
This circular route is just about a 5km run. You’ll notice on a map that on the Isle of Dogs, Marsh Wall, Westferry Road and Manchester Road form a nice loop that takes in Island Gardens and South Quay tube stops. For a slightly shorter route, cut up through the Isle of Dogs on East Ferry Road.
Canary Wharf and Heron Quay
For a shorter run, still in the same area, a couple of laps of Heron Quay will give you a nice quick route to follow. Bonus points if you run against the wind.
Tools for lunch break runs
Map My Run is one of the most valuable tools for joggers: calculate your mileage and plan your route so you know where you are going before you head out.
Totally Sporty also lets you search for running groups in London if you want company or extra motivation.
Tips for lunch break runs
Run in groups. It will keep you motivated, and no one likes to be the first to drop out.
Be organised. Keep some spare kit and a change of clothes in your drawer and if you have long hair, opt for an up-do that works for both the office and the gym.
Time your meals and snacks so your stomach is not growling or stuffed when you exercise. Between one to two hours before working out, have a carb-packed snack. Think of it like a mini second breakfast: a little granola with skimmed milk or some trail mix.
Image by Steve-h courtesy of Flickr