By guest blogger Jess Underhill, writer behind Fit Chick in the City.
Running makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I get to lace up my Brooks and hit the road whenever I want to escape, be alone with my thoughts, visualize my future or chase down an endorphin high.
I’m lucky I discovered all that running has to offer at a relatively young age. Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee I’d head out for runs on quiet roads or park trails to escape the world and find myself.
During grad school when I moved to New York City, I was ecstatic to experience my first run in Central Park. Urban running was surprisingly thrilling and frustrating all at the same time. Initially, the energy of the other athletes in Central Park was magnetic.
Overtime that “magnetic energy” began to feel more like driving in traffic on a Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Being able to tune out during a run was no longer possible and running in circles in Central Park for training runs day in and day out became monotonous.
I lost my runner’s high.
For months I thought about giving up on running, but being the stubborn person I am, I decided to make some changes. It took some time, but I finally figured out how to navigate running in a big city and still feel the same way I did running through the woods in Tennessee.
Today, I’m sharing with you my top five tips for running in a big city.
1. Go where no man has gone before (or wakeup early)
If solidarity is what you seek the earlier you head out doors for your run the better. The only people you’re likely to encounter are other athletes who are quietly going about their workouts while everyone else is still sleeping.
2. Tune-out by tuning in.
Keep your thoughts inward instead of focusing on all the distracting traffic around you. Try counting to 100 over and over again or repeating your personal mantra to help get in the zone and tune-out.
3. Blaze new trails.
Assuming you don’t go anywhere that can compromise your safety find an off the beat path or park that isn’t a typical running path. For example in NYC on the weekends during the summer you can run north up the East River and across103rd Street pedestrian bridge to run a few loops around Randall’s Island.
4. Be aware of your surroundings.
Speaking of safety, just because you live in a big city doesn’t mean there aren’t isolated areas that can potentially become unsafe. When finding new areas to run in don’t go alone and don’t run in completely isolated areas too far off the beaten path.
5. Be prepared and learn the ins and outs of running in your city.
This means carrying cash and a metro card with you at all times as well as knowing where water fountains and bathrooms are along your route. You never know when you’ll need one or the other.
About Fit Chick in the City
Jess Underhill is the writer behind Fit Chick in the City. She is originally from Nashville, TN but has called New York City home for the past 11 years. Jess currently reside on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with my husband, Rick.
The goal of FCITC is to connect everyone from the “gym rat” to the “couch potato” with the best workouts and fitness products available, while providing a healthy dose of motivation and expertise along the way.
Jess is a fitness expert with over 14 years of experience in the industry. She has a MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion as well as a BS in Business Administration. For more information on FCITC, visit www.fitchickinthecity.com.