It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it for fun, trying to get a little fitter, or training for a special event or personal challenge; there are few better ways to see New York City than by running its parks, streets, and circuits in search of a little inspiration and some fantastic scenery. Perhaps you’ve been inspired by the most recent marathon, or need to get fit ahead of your New Year’s Resolution. Whatever is driving you to take to the streets, embrace that feeling; it doesn’t get any more liberating than that.
Preparing for a new hobby
Before we disclose some of our favorite New York City routes, we thought we’d share a few tips regarding your preparation. So, what do you need to know?
If you’re running during the day
Firstly, it’s important to plan your route carefully to avoid getting lost. You should arm yourself with a cell phone or GPS, and a means of mapping your run or monitoring your activity; Strava, Map My Run, and Runtastic are popular choices. It’s also important to take plenty of water with you since running is likely to dehydrate your body quickly. Dressing appropriately is a must since the kind of clothing you wear will make all the difference to your body as you run. Sportswear, such as compression clothing is particularly effective when it comes to supporting muscles, joints, and circulation as you run. Copper wear, which is popular amongst amateurs and pro athletes, offers a level of protection if you’re running with an existing injury, and provides comfort and ease of movement regardless of your pace. Navigate your chosen retailer’s home page for some of the best and most effective compression clothing.
If you’re running at night
Although New York is a vibrant city with plenty of neon lights and bright corners, it does have its shadows. Therefore, it’s essential that you dress appropriately for early morning, dusk, and beyond. Cheerful, reflective layers are a must; they’ll help drivers, cyclists, and other pedestrians to spot you quickly, and easily as the light falters. It’s also a good idea to take your cell phone in case you get into difficulty, or need a torch. Run against the traffic as much as you can, and ditch those headphones to ensure you’re always aware of the world around you. Finally, run with a partner wherever possible, and stick to a route you’re familiar with; streets tend to look the same under the cover of darkness, and so a little local knowledge will go a long way. Whether it’s day or night, you should be wary of rush hour, and keep away from crowded sidewalks as best you can.
Of course, whether you’re running seriously or for fun you’re going to need to consider the weather. What time of year are you heading out? Is it especially warm, or chilly? Layers of compression wear will usually work to keep you warm until your light jog, or more demanding pace has begun to do its job, while sunscreen, plenty of water, and a cap are particularly important when the late spring and summer hit New York. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t run in the rain, either. Waterproof outer layers, a hat with a brim, and reflective clothing should keep you safe, whatever the sky is doing – there are no valid excuses to not run in the city.
Those sneakers were made for running
So, you’ve got all the gear and no idea? Now is the time to change all of that, with a few carefully planned laps of your nearest park, or some well-trodden routes down the city’s most famous streets. New York City is blessed with dozens of fantastic running routes, a few of which we’d like to share with you now.
The Carroll Gardens Trail
Here’s one to get you started; a beautifully quaint, Italian-American neighborhood Carroll Gardens has some fantastic little cafés, leafy cover, and great shopping. It also boasts a relatively simply running trail, which loops from Carroll Gardens to Park Slope, through Cobble Hill, and back to where you started. This route is perfectly uncomplicated and provides amateurs with an excuse to stop and start between eateries and boutiques as they go. Build up your strength with interval training, before tackling the full 3.82-miles in one go. Watch out for the sidewalks; they’re bound to be busy during the day.
The Central Park Loop
If you’re considering going for a run in New York City, then you’ve probably thought about navigating a few laps of Central Park. One of the city’s most beloved assets the park is beautiful regardless of the time of year and offers up plenty of running buddies if you’re in desperate need of a little motivation. What’s more, the park’s mixture of flat and hilly terrain makes it a moderate challenge for novices and hardened runners alike; the 6.1-mile trail can be broken into more manageable chunks if you’re building your strength over time. The park’s facilities, restrooms, and proximity to New York’s amenities add to its appeal.
The Hudson River Run
The Hudson River Run is ideal for tourists, or anyone looking to escape the familiarity of the Central Park Loop. Navigating the path from the Bronx down to Battery Park the route lasts for 8.89-miles if you’re intending on running its entire length. Less intrepid joggers needn’t fear though; this route is perfect for dipping in and out of, with shorter stretches available if you bow out at 14th Street, or 79th Street and head back upwards. As you’d imagine this route offers fantastic views of the river, although you should beware if you’re running in the heat of the day that there is little shade. It’s also best to avoid this route during peak hours, as the sidewalks become incredibly busy.
The Five Bridges Run
As the name suggests, this route will take you over five of New Yorkers’ favorite bridges, incorporating the 59th Street Bridge, the Pulaski Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Weaving between three boroughs and down numerous streets and avenues the route is favored by the adventurous; standing at 16.68-miles long you’d need to be a confident athlete to complete this mini-marathon. If you did want to cut the route short you could start at Borough Hall and cross just the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges; this complicated course could need GPS otherwise.
The Prospect Park Trail
Ambling for some 3.4-miles, the Prospect Park Trail is preferred by those wanting to escape Central Park’s traffic and tourists. The scenery is still rather striking, including as it does undulating paths, water features, and plenty of greenery. However, you’ll find yourself afforded the freedom that other routes simply don’t allow; get ready to pick up a little speed and see how far you can go. Start at the park’s main entrance, the Grand Army Plaza, and complete a full loop for an easy to moderate jog. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view along the way.
Running, or jogging is a fantastic way to see New York City, and to discover a few of its hidden gems and best-kept treasures. Although you might have your favorite routes around the city’s landmarks and attractions it certainly pays to keep an open mind when it comes to planning your next adventure. Where will your new route take you, and what will you be inspired to do next?