Recently on the If We Were Riding podcast, the hosts were discussing the question- what makes a great training location? I started thinking about this question for myself and wondering how the area where I live
Pro athletes may re-locate to an area which suits their training needs, but for the average person is it feasible to choose where you live based on the accessibility to training facilities?
I live in the London Borough of Havering, in the South-East of the UK. I grew up in this area and have lived here my entire life. However, I’ve recently realised that my local area is actually a great training location- I have access to everything I need to make training work for me.
Facilities- gyms and pools
It’s proven that the longer your commute to the gym, the less likely it is that you will attend regularly. I’m very lucky that I have 5 gyms with pools, all within a 4-mile radius of my home. They’re all owned by Everyone Active, so my membership is valid across the whole chain. It’s pretty easy for me to get to the gym or pool, so I have no excuses!
Clubs, groups and other athletes
Living in a remote area often means training alone, whereas being based in a town or city gives you access to clubs, groups and potential training partners. Personally, I prefer training with other people so I’m fortunate to have a great location triathlon club- Havering Tri. There are several other running, cycling and swimming clubs locally, so finding a group to train with is never an issue.
Terrain and Topography
For varied training, it’s ideal if you have access to different terrain both on and off road. Being able to easily get to a track, trails, hills and flat roads
Whilst there aren’t any mountains where I live, there are some decent hills within a 30-minute ride. I also have a large country park on my doorstep, which provides opportunities for running on different surfaces. We also have access to a running track with Havering Tri.
It’s important to feel safe when out training, especially if running or riding solo. Feeling intimidated or anxious about being attacked or harassed can obviously have a huge impact on how you are able to train. Running in the heart of a city can be a lot different than running in a quiet neighbourhood or on a trail. Although I generally feel safe while training, it is always a consideration at the back of my mind.
The perfect training location would have mild weather with zero wind, rain or snow. British weather is pretty unpredictable and can be grim which makes for difficult training conditions.
Having access to local races is a consideration when choosing a great training location. I’ve got the Spitfire Scramble a stones-throw from my door and the brand new Havering Half is launching this autumn. There is also tons of parkrun events in the local vicinity.
What makes a great training location for you? Where do you live and how does that impact on the way you train?