Couch to 5K
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Running next to a road

I sometimes run next to a busy A road which is nice and convenient, local, level and without any interuptions, I just wonder if there's a problem with pollution over time? there's the odd whiff of diesel fumes sometimes and of course then there's the noise, but the noise doesn't bother me too much for 30 mins.

The park or common land seems to be nearly always the best places to run except maybe after heavy rain.

7 Replies

I live in santiago, Chile. Pollution here is a HUGE problem!! The main roads in the city are 6 lanes, B roads are 4 lanes! The other problem is that the mountains trap the heat, keep the wind out and trap the pollution. The government restricts cars on the road when it's really bad and a couple of weeks ago the factories were ordered to close for a day.

i run down a central bit, between 2 lanes of traffic each side, before my route takes me to the park or next to the river away from traffic. A lot of people run in the city, apart from when the government issues a warning not to exercise outside.

As I have been concerned about pollution I have done a tiny bit of research, mostly it says don't run in polluted air! however, nobody would exercise in santiago if everyone followed this but some days are just no!! When you can't see ANY mountains you don't run!! the rest of the time I judge it by how much of the Andes I can see.

Ihave run when it was very bad and won't do it again!! you have to recognise that you don't want all that horrid stuff in you body!! It's not good and when your running your taking more of that in!! A lot more!! If you have other health issues then it's just not worth the risk!! Having said that I can't run in the great british countryside so I will still stick to running outside. do I worry?yes, will it stop me from running outside? yes when the levels are high but I still like running outside.

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I live in London and all my roads to the various parks are full of cars and i wonder the same thing. When there is no air movements I swear I can taste the fumes. I choose to live here and work on the principal that if run I can make my body fit enough to deal with all the ills of pollution. I'm not sure it works but I don't have much choice.


I can definitely taste pollution, the fumes are kind of soapy and totally disgusting. Ewww.

However my take on it is that it's the lesser of two weevils, the other one being the couch.


Isnt there supposed to be these reduced pollution emitting wotsits fitted into vehicles , or did I dream that ? :-)

I tend not to worry unduly, considering the amount of carp , tar and all the rest I sucked into my lungs over the past 30+ years by smoking like a trooper .

Good point though Dave xxx


I live in Greater London, and can choose to run in a park or on road, but going by what Vix has said think I'll be going to the park more often.

No, I don't worry about it unduly either Poppy, as I also smoked up until many years ago.

Onestep, I totally agree about bus lanes..


Yep, there'll be pollution, not sure what you can do about it short of wearing some sort of industrial headgear.

In Scotland (where I am) 2000 deaths a year are caused by long term exposure to particulate matter. In the UK (depending on where you read) around 30000-60000 deaths/year are attributed directly/indirectly to PM because of resulting cardiovascular or respiratory conditions. <- Bummer! This beats some major cancers as the biggest killer in the UK.

I did a research paper on this a couple of years ago, hence the excessive use of numbers (and slightly morose tone)...

It's very interesting though! WHO and COMEAP have some interesting articles about this topic if you google for them.


Just like to pitch in and say I would avoid running alongside a busy road at all costs. I live alongside a busy road and the when I tend the plants in the front garden I look as if I have been wielding bags of coal and my front windows need regular cleaning. This is down to traffic pollution which I have been told is exacerbated by periods of time when the traffic is at a standstill - worse during school term time I hasten to add.

I am fortunate in that I live just 5 mins from some well maintained Sustrans cycle routes so chose to run their.


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