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Where to Run When You Live in a City
From parks to the pavement
There are many good things about living in the heart of a bustling city: there's lots to do, lots of people and lots of excitement. Unfortunately there's also lots of traffic, lots of noise and few open spaces for running.
We look at your options for city running and how to stay safe in such a busy environment.
The best time to go running
Unless you like your running to resemble an Olympic slalom, there are certain times of the day to avoid in any city. Follow our advice for stress-free training.
In the morning
Running before work not only gets your exercise out of the way early but also gives you a chance to beat the morning rush-hour. You'll have to be quick though; be prepared to be out by 6am to avoid the majority of commuters and congestion.
While it can be easy to get up for a bright, warm morning in July, pulling yourself out of bed in the middle of winter is far more difficult. Use the summer months to set a routine and try to keep it up as the weather gets colder.
On your lunch break
Modern city centres are full of coffee shops, restaurants and bars that attract thousands of workers for lunch every week. There's likely to be just as many people on the street at midday as there was at 9am.
Unless you enjoy fighting your way through crowds and spending your afternoons in need of a shower, lunch time runs might not for you. If you have no other option though, think about joining a gym with washing and changing facilities close to where you work. You're not going to bump into anyone on a treadmill, after all.
In the evening
The evening is probably the most popular time to exercise for the majority of the working population, but how do you motivate yourself to go back out when you've only just got in? Look at the positives.
Running in the evening is a great way to benefit from the sunny summer weather without having to endure the intense heat of the day. The air is also less polluted than it was a few hours earlier thanks to fewer cars being on the road.
Where to run
Even the biggest cities have parks to run around, many even have their own running clubs - just look at the Serpentine Running Club in Hyde Park, London. Get to know your local park and mix things up with routes that include elements of circuit training. It's amazing how much the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of bird song can keep you motivated in even the most industrial of city centres.
Pound the Pavements
Side roads and alleyways allow you to be creative with your city running route. At quieter times (see above) - especially early morning - you could even have entire streets to yourself. Stay alert and aware of what's around you though; cities are full of obstacles to navigate including traffic lights, lamp posts and parking meters - is there no escape?
At the Gym
If you don't mind paying, the gym is good all round running location. But while the gym may be perfect for avoiding the rain, do you really want to be stuck indoors when the sun's out?
A good way to discover the best city running routes is to join a local running club. Take a look at our How to join a running club article for advice on finding a club near you.
Staying safe when running
Top tips for your next run
Stay Visible - If you're running at night, ensure that your running top or jacket features reflective bands to keep you visible to motorists.
Stay Alert - Cities are full of obstacles, hazards and traffic. Stay switched on to your surroundings at all times. If this means turning your music off, do it.
Stay Hydrated - Always take water or an energy drink with you on your run. Dehydration isn't limited to the desert; always replace the liquid you lose.
Top 5 Running Cities in the UK
London - Step off the bus and see the sights on foot. Watch the capital wake up with an early morning run along the Thames.
Brighton - How does running b eside the sea sound? If you don't mind hills and love the beach, Brighton could be the city for you.
Newcastle - Home of the Great North Run and with 25 large parks, Newcastle is the perfect place to run.
Manchester - Since hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester has established itself as one of the country's great sporting cities.
Glasgow - Host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow has invested heavily in new indoor and outdoor running tracks and facilities.
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- Where to Run When You Live in a City