Jul | 31
Inspiration, Running Tips

Guest Post: Five Tips for Running in the City

Do city life and running mix? Guest blogger and author of Fit Chic in the City Jess Underhill thinks so.

Do city life and running mix? Guest blogger and author of Fit Chick in the City Jess Underhill thinks so.

By guest blogger Jess Underhill, writer behind Fit Chick in the City.

Jess Underhill lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with my husband, Rick

Guest blogger Jess Underhill lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and has over 14 years of experience in the fitness industry. (Photo courtesy of J. Underhill)

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.

About Guest Blogger
The Brooks Blog regularly features stories from our athletes, running partners and friends who exemplify Run Happy.
  1. Nichole

    great tips for staying alert and also zoning out. It’s a fine combo. I love running a city first thing in the morning, you see it like nobody else.

  2. instantphoebe

    I always wonder about running with headphones in. I don’t do it b/c it seems a bit dangerous (you can’t hear a car…or a creepy person come up behind you), but I was wondering if anyone else had opinions on this.

    • Lino Garcia Vallejo

      You’re right, always it’s dangerous a little bit for either reasons you mentioned. I’ve been trying lowering the volume but even so it’s not comfortable running in the city, though. Sorry, I can not think any bright ideas unless there is a personal proximity sensor… I even don’t know if something like that does exist.

  3. KittensRule

    Listen to HipHop! My favorite NYC run: 1. Blaze; Step 2. Put on some Biggie; Step 3: Run from Fort Greene (home of Biggie) to Williamsburg.

    • theanemonae

      haha… what is it about weed that makes running enjoyable?… this comment actually made me excited about going for a run tonight

  4. davedave12

    Focus in — there is no reason to acknowledge the traffic which can cripple or kill you — in Jan we had a young man running in the dark against traffic in and out of the street as he ran around snow piles get hit by a plow and be killed — Now that poor truck driver who was just trying to do his job has to live with this nightmare — the runner had been trying for years to get into med school and he finally did; he was supposed to start in the fall — but he could not stop running like an idiot —— streets are for traffic

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