Training while living in a big city can be difficult. No one understands this better than us here at Jiakina.
Maybe you’re based in London or New York City. Or maybe you’ve found yourself in Singapore or Hong Kong for work.
Training in urban settings like these present a few extra obstacles—constant traffic, crowded streets, even air pollution. But with a little extra effort, you can still train properly for your next big event, even while in a metropolitan area. Here’s how to train for a marathon or triathlon in a big city.
Choose A Clear Goal
First things first: choose a goal for your training.
You may have already completed a few half marathons and want to shave a few minutes off your time, or maybe you’re preparing for your first 26.2 mile marathon. You might be training for your first sprint triathlon, or perhaps you’re an experienced triathlete who just needs to get in shape for the next 70.3 Half Iron. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to pick a clear goal before you begin your training regimen.
If your exercise schedule includes strength training, you’ll need to find a good gym. This is easy in big cities, as there are gyms on almost every block. The important point is to pick a gym with lots of machines and weights. It’s also nice to find one with plenty of space. Gyms, like many things in big urban areas, can sometimes be cramped and crowded. While spacious gyms tend to be more expensive, find something comfortable that’s within your budget.
If it’s a triathlon you’re training for, swimming will be an important part of your routine. Make sure to find a gym with a Olympic-sized pool. An Olympic pool is 50 meters in length so it makes swimming laps more effective. You’ll have more time to focus on your technique and breathing, as opposed to constantly practicing your turns.
Now for the one form of exercise that will be a part of every training program—running. This aspect of training is possible in a gym but can be more than a little bit boring. Running on a treadmill is a lot like watching paint dry, except more physically strenuous. To avoid the humdrum time on the treadmill, you’ll have to brave the city to do your running.
How To Train For Distance Running In A Big City
There are a few options for running outdoors in a densely populated urban area. First, you could find a track that is available to the public, like at a local school or park. This is safer than running on roads with heavy traffic and often offers a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life. Just make sure that you alternate which direction you run on the track so that your leg muscles develop evenly.
Running on a track can be convenient, but it has disadvantages, too. Tracks are perfectly flat so they don’t allow you to prepare for the hills that you will inevitably have to face in a marathon or triathlon. On top of that, distance running on a track can be almost as boring as a treadmill. Running a few miles on a track is manageable, but on those days when you have to run 8, 10, or 12 miles, you might need to run on through the city.
Plan A Running Route Through A City
Before you hit the streets to go running, it’s crucial to spend some time choosing a good route. Google Maps is a great tool for planning a running route, as it allows you to choose multiple points along the way and shows you the total distance you will have covered.
So what’s the best way to plan a running route? Avoiding highways and main roads is obviously important, as running through traffic is neither fun nor safe. Try to hit as many parks and green spaces as possible. You’ll also want to consider the time of day that you’ll be training.
Some roads may be more or less congested at different times in the day. Generally speaking, it’s best to run early in the morning or later in the evening, when traffic isn’t as heavy. Don’t run during rush hour if you don’t absolutely need to.
A great way to get put get running done in a city is to commute on foot. If you’re a morning person, try waking up early and running into work. If the place where you work doesn’t have showers and you don’t want to spend the whole sweaty and smelly, just bring your running gear with you to work and run home after the work day is done.
If the distance from your place of work to your home isn’t exactly the right distance you’d like to run, you can adjust the route a bit to make it fit. Public transportation can be used to shorten the running route, while adding out-of-the-way destinations can extend a run.
Finally, here a few important safety tips to keep in mind while running in a big city.
- Remember to wear bright clothing or a reflector vest when running in low light. If you’re planning on running when it’s completely dark out, wear a blinking light to make sure drivers can see you.
- Always run against the flow of traffic. It might seem counterintuitive to run towards oncoming traffic, but both you and the drivers will be able to see one another more clearly. It will also allow you to notice if a driver isn’t paying attention and give you more time to react should a car get too close.
- If you like to listen to music or podcasts while running, make sure to keep the volume low enough that you can hear car horns.
Training In A Big City
Training for a triathlon or marathon is never easy, regardless of where you live. It takes planning, dedication, physical endurance, and mental strength.
Training in a big, busy city is slightly more difficult than training in a small town, but it’s only a minor inconvenience compared to the monumental task of pushing your body to its physical limits. With a little extra planning and effort, you can get in shape for your next event from anywhere in the world.
If you want top-notch sportswear to help you train in any environment, check out the Jiakina Shop.