Travel and Fitness blog

Climbing volcano at night

I traveled to the small island of Lombok in Indonesia to climb the country's second highest active volcano

Running my first marathon

Racing such long distance was like nothing I've experienced before. There was no way to expect how it will test my body and willpower

How to stay fit while traveling - healthy travel tips

Staying fit while traveling is a real challenge. We have to carefully balance vacation and entertainment on one side and energy levels and good looks on another

Run around the world: Central Park and the rest of NYC

If I would need to explain what New York City is to a teenager, I would say it looks exactly like their messy room.

Well, maybe a messy room with an awesome skyline view.

There are posters with celebrities on walls, clothes everywhere (shops, obviously), some snacks here and there and some garbage, for sure.

Sounds exactly like my room when I was growing up.

And it feels exactly like it too - after just a couple of steps you see a total chaos, yet somehow those who live there can navigate easily and seem not to notice any inconvenience.

While running in Central Park you can almost forget you're in one of the world's busiest cities. That's not me, btw, just a guy who ran into the frame

Running in NYC

One of the first things I've noticed was how many runners there were. And that was only the beginning of spring - honestly, it was not that warm. I bet there are gazillion more in summer.

I felt, though, that most of them are completely in their heads.

Why? You see, when you run past a fellow runner and make eye contact, more often than not you will both greet each other by waving your hand. Or at least make an awkward smile and look away.

Not here, though.

As friendly as I am I tried to greet everyone while running past them. I bet a guy running and waving at everyone looks a bit strange and I made at least 15 people wondering who am I before realizing it's not practiced here. Anyway, I hope my smile made their day a bit better. 

New York City is huge and depending on where you're staying and what kind of runner you are, there are many options to run in this city. The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, Central Park.

Squirrel in the Central Park
Central Park is the most popular running place in New York City

Running in the Central Park

It's amazing how you can experience a totally different vibe while still technically be in the concrete jungle.

I think almost everyone knows about Central Park and is curious about how it is to run there. For those who don't, Central Park is a 4-kilometer-by-0.8-kilometer park in the Northern part of Manhattan island. It's also featured in almost all big movies about New York.

I wanted to experience first hand how it feels like and what the fuss is all about. So for a couple of days I stayed in the Upper West Side, just half a block away from the park - strategic location to conquer the dream.

Once in the park there are so many options what to do - you can run fast around the park loop and do speed intervals, take it easy and run close to the water and enjoy cherry blossoms at Jacqueline Kennedy reservoir (first picture in this post) or go zigzag and sideways to take on all the hills.

Basically, you can prepare for any type of race here and that's perfect.

I even noticed people doing proper cycling workouts here, like hill repeats and, probably, also longer sessions with serious triathlon bikes.

Old bridge in the Central Park
There are a lot of smaller paths in the Central Park which are perfect for a slow jog. If you want to run fast - better take the loop around the park. 

To put into perspective just how popular Central Park is, people come here even by subway from all parts of town for a run (and then jump back all sweaty to go home).

By the way, don't worry about not bringing water with you. There are drinking fountains all around the park for you to use. 

As I planned a faster workout, I went for a Central Park loop which turned out to be the most popular route in the city. And also that's a nice total of exactly 10K - perfect.

It's like going to the cinema and taking popcorn. It's classic.

NYC running heat map by Garmin
Garmin shows the most popular routes in the city. And Central Park is, obviously, the most popular of those.

Overall, there's so much running going on in NYC alone. In Europe there's barely some heat in most locations, but here it's all colorful and popular.

Central Park with a view on the skyline
Southern part of the Central Park is surrounded by NYC's skyscrapers. It's spectacular to run with such a view

Running in the Central Park was amazing. You know that outside the park the life is super fast, yet you don't feel that rush of the city here and it's more like a calm European town inside.

Other places to run in New York City

Apart from Central Park, most of the action is going on along the coasts of the Hudson or East rivers. That totally makes sense, as running through Midtown with all the traffic, shops and people is just impossible.

The city is very windy and with all streets lined up like a squared notebook there's not much room to hide. So if the wind blows, you have to deal with it.

It's strange, though, that vast majority of people run without a hat and even with short sleeves. I would freeze or get a cold after the first run doing this.

I've also stayed in Midtown and Brooklyn, to experience the other part of the city, so can say that running along the coast is also quite a pleasure, but brings a different experience from the Central Park.

Battery Park esplanade

Battery Park esplanade is a short promenade that starts from Battery park at the Southernmost part of Manhattan and stretches for around 2.5 kilometers until Tribeca.

You can squeeze in a short run there, but it's not like it ends suddenly. It actually connects to the Hudson River Greenway.

Battery park is a more quiet place to run than the Central Park. There are far less runners here (but still a lot compared to other places I've been) and even less tourists.

Hudson River Greenway

This is the place to do your long runs. The greenway stretches throughout all Manhattan and is almost half-marathon-long. So if you start at Tribeca, run all the way uptown and back you'll complete a full marathon.

Just make sure to bring a hat with you. So much time close to water and wind can be too much for the body.

Haven't noticed water fountains there, though, so it's a wise choice to bring a water bottle or some cash.

Views are similar to those in the Battery Park, just a bit more boats here and there and less trees.

Brooklyn Bridge park

If you're staying in the area of Brooklyn Bridge, then Brooklyn Heights promenade and Brooklyn Bridge park would be great for running. With a view on NYC skyline and the Liberty Statue there's really not much more to ask.

You can squeeze another short run (another 2.5 kilometers), but if you need more - run across the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan and continue along the East River coast.

Run through the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to get to Manhattan. Watch out, though, it may get quite crowded. That's again not me, just a random runner

That's where I've managed to run so far and I loved it. Even though nobody waves at you, the atmosphere and views are just amazing.

There's definitely more to it and I'll come back to run some more for sure. But for now - happy running, everyone!

Let me know about your favorite running spots, I'll try to hit them next time I'm in the city

3 comments :

  1. I love NY so much! The Brooklyn Bridge offers great view on the skyline!

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  2. Awesome! One of my bucket list goals is to run in the NYC marathon so this is super inspiring!

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    Replies
    1. Great to hear, Sally! It's on mine as well :)

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