Urban Hill Training | Eclectic Cake: Urban Hill Training

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Urban Hill Training

"There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs."

Last week I tried my first run commute. I strapped my belongings to my back, resisted blowing the rescue whistle attached to my new backpack and ran the 243 bus route from work (Holborn) to my circus strength class (Old Street). A lovely 4k-ish route that made me wonder why I'd never done it before! 

And to my surprise, I only got lost once. I ran down a ramp of the Old Street underpass and up another I predicted to be for my exit. It wasn't. Turned around (and not knowing any road names), I ran down and chose another exit, this time stairs. Not mine either. I was third time lucky and continued on my way up the final ramp. But as my heavy legs began to thump up the incline, I realised I'd basically been doing mini hill work. Bonus!

As run commutes are something I'm keen to continue, it would be great to really use the short distances to my advantage and add some hill training. Problem is, Central London is pretty flat...on the surface. Below ground level, linking fresh air to Underground platforms, is a whole network of subterranean routes that can be used for their leg buring properties.

Angel Underground station, for example, has the longest escalator in the network at 60m. Walk the full length and that's a vertical rise of 27.5m you've just stomped up. And I bet you'd get a great workout by running up the 'down' escalator! Of course, I'm not recommending it...

The deepest station in Central London is Bank at 41.4 metres below ground - a glute warming 128 steps! But for ultimate urban hill training, try tackling Covent Garden station with 193 spiraling steps.

Covent Garden - 193 steps
Russell Square - 171 steps

Goodge Street - 136 steps
Caledonian Road - 134 steps
Moorgate - 131 steps
Bank - 128 steps

So, sorry legs, there's no excuse. We're off to run some concrete hills!


  1. Ooh Urban hill challenge - love the idea, I wonder what tfl will think of scores of lycra clad sweat-monsters sprinting up their staircases??

  2. This is brilliant! Angel is my closest station, so I'll have to go and get a workout in!