Visitors are often surprised that there is any space to go running in the busy, bustling, sardine can of a city that is New York. But the truth is, New York is a running city and New Yorkers love to run. Every time I’m out running in New York City, I’m frequently met by other runners on the trails. Seeing them out there gives me a sense of acknowledgment - I’m not the only one who loves to see the sights of the Big Apple on her own feet.
Whether you’re in New York or Rome, running outside is one of the best ways to soak up the atmosphere of a place. For those visiting the city, here are 3 popular trails for runners who want to experience a local’s version of New York City.
1. The best views: Central Park
If you want to be accompanied by lush greenery in the heart of the city, look no further than Central Park - probably the most popular running spot in the city. The Central Park loop also serves as the track for many races in the city, including the final miles of the New York Marathon. The best part of running in Central Park is the landscape, you are sounded by lakes, trees, and an abundance of birds. All of this scenery is set against the backdrop of stunning New York City. The versatility of the Central Park loop is also appealing, making it ideal whether you want to go for 5K, 10K, or a 15-miler.
2. The most iconic route: Brooklyn Bridge
There is nothing that screams New York more than the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, there is, at least, one running group who runs the Brooklyn Bridge weekly. I confess that I’ve never attempted to run the Brooklyn Bridge since sharing the narrow path with bikers and an overwhelming number of tourists makes it a very busy route, but there is nothing more stunning than the views of New York that this route offers. For those who want to rack up more miles, add the Manhattan Bridge to your run. For example: go across the Brooklyn Bridge and come back via the Manhattan Bridge. All the while, Manhattan is at your feet.
3. Local’s favorite route: Westside Highway
Westside Highway is my go to spot for running in the city. It has several advantages over other routes - not only can it be accessed from several points in the city no matter if you’re uptown or downtown, it is normally uncongested, and the highway is flat. Yes, very flat! In addition, the waterfront view makes it a particularly good option for running in the summer.
I’ve made a grave mistake. You see, in the last 2 weeks, I let myself eat incredibly unhealthy and disgusting food, none-stop. Granted, I was on vacation during these 2 weeks but still, the eat-until-I-drop diet, while satisfying in the moment, is making me want to crawl out of my own body. Not to mention, I was not on top of my miles in these last 2 weeks which means I’m now in pretty indecent shape.
So much for my 2016 resolution to run a new 10K PR.
It’s easy to berate myself for letting my diet and running slip up just weeks into the new year but a fitness coach once told me that it’s exactly this kind of self-punishment that makes people fall offtrack indefinitely. We all slip up some times but that’s not what kills our goals. It is the negativity of thinking that it’s all over that pushes some of his clients past the point of no return. Instead, I know what I need to do - remove these last few weeks from my mind and stay focused on my goal.
We’re only a month into the new year but I can’t be alone in my state of despair regarding my new year’s resolution. Some studies show that 36% of people break their new year’s resolutions in the first month. But if there is any real strength in numbers, then here is a message to the 36%: the new year’s not over, it’s only begun.
Despite knowing that I haven’t even racked up 10 miles last week, and that I am now further away from my ideal marathon weight than I was two weeks ago, today, I will lace up my runners and run the 8-miles that my training plan calls. I may be easing into the pace but hey, I'm moving forward.
With the recent blizzard blanketing the east coast in over 20-inches of snow, I can't help but daydream about sunnier and warmer days. I'm longing for a weekend escape to the Caribbean - I'm looking at you, Puerto Rico.
A flight to San Juan is the perfect cure for those winter woes. Just a short hop away from New York is this beautiful island escape. The island is not large but I think its size is perfect for a long-weekend stay. If you ever get bored of the crystal clear waters and the fine sandy beaches, head into Old San Juan for a day-trip of culture and history. With colorful walls and quaint cobblestone streets, the old town has its charm. Not to mention an unmissable selection of local cafes. Winter is also great for whale-watching since these mystical creatures come right offshore. For those with time to spare, add a visit to El Yunque National Forest to your itinerary and make a day of it. There are plenty of waterfalls to swim in and trails to trek on.