Off-road running and a chilled bank holiday

posted in: Running | 0

I love running off road. I’m lucky to live near a number of parks and commons, which let me run away from traffic and relatively uninterrupted by crossing roads etc. However, I run these same routes all the time, and they still involve paved paths. It’s still pretty urban, unsurprisingly given that I live in London.

Yesterday, I decided to set an alarm (ouch) and drive to Wimbledon Common which is one of my favourite places to run.


Wimbledon Common is largely woodland, which one of the reasons I love it so much. It’s proper off-road running, with tree roots and uneven ground. Perfect!


We’re just getting to the point in the year where it’s dry enough to make Wimbledon Common feasible There were still some large puddles, especially on side tracks (which I didn’t run) – but mostly it was easy running.

I’d like to spend more time exploring Wimbledon Common, but yesterday my goal was to get in some miles ahead of a busy weekend – and next weekend, which will involve minimal running. So I opted to then head into Richmond Park which is beautiful, if perhaps a little tamer and feels decidedly less off-road than Wimbledon Common.


It has a major advantage of having one path which runs the whole seven-mile perimeter of the park, and is almost entirely uninterrupted. There is a road inside Richmond Park – which seemed to be ruled by cyclists on very-expensive-looking bicycles (jealous!) – but the path I ran on is a little bit away from that, which gives it a great feeling of being in the countryside.



There are some pretty decent hills in this run. In fact, the watch tells me I was almost always running uphill, or downhill, with very little on the flat.



That final hill back up Wimbledon Common was brutal. I really focused on equal effort, not equal speed, and we got there. 12 miles @ 8.22.



I’d like to explore more new-to-me places to run, but I am reluctant to drive for hours or spend ££ on taking public transport miles outside town to get to there. Somehow this feels like it defeats the point of running being something you do with minimal preparation and upheaval. Today was easy; 15 minutes each way, easy parking etc. Is it worth me driving say 45 minutes to get to a good run? I’d love to run in Epping Forrest, on the North Downs Way, and on Hampstead Heath, but all seem kind of impractical. I try to make the most of trail running when I visit people outside London though.

Long run ACHIEVED, Matthew and I had some lunch then headed to Crystal Palace in our on-going search for a chest of drawers which a) a beautiful and old thing b) will fit up the sodding stairs into our flat.

This guy caught my eye….


…I could literally have a different drawer for each item of running clothing/equipment…


…Er, scratch that. I wouldn’t be able to afford running clothing if we bought this. Ouch.



We stopped off for coffee and cake on the way back to the car.


and I resisted buying all the coffee:


And so ended a lovely bank holiday Monday! At least the sun is shining on London today as we all head to work. I had an absolutely lovely cycle to work (was meant to run, but gave myself a day off after yesterday’s miles) – more of this please!

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