I was excited to wake up this morning. Like, really excited.
I knew it was going to be sunny out — even if it was really, really cold — and my plan was to head for Central Park instead of running along the East River.
I love my proximity to the park, but I try not to run there too often because I don’t want to get bored. I almost always do my weekend runs in the park, so during the week I mix it up as best I can, opting for flat, short runs much of the time.
But today, I wanted to go to the park. Really badly. I’m not sure why.
Nothing beats the energy in Central Park on any given morning. Whether there’s one other runner out (which is rare) or dozens (more likely), everyone is always working up a sweat and starting their day in a similar way. It’s inspiring and it makes for great people watching.
The main running loop in the park is incredibly hilly. I tend to not focus on or overthink the hills anymore because I know the route so well. I know when to hold back, when to push and when to brace myself for the challenges that come with Harlem Hill. Training in the park over the past few months definitely paid off this weekend, though. The hills during the National Half were tough, but they were nothing I couldn’t handle.
Without further ado, my running tour of a chilly morning in Central Park…
After entering the park at 79th Street and running south, I ran one lower loop in a clockwise direction, then switched it up and ran a second loop going counterclockwise.
And you have to love the motivation running up Cat Hill…
I felt great squeezing in 6.4 miles this morning. Doing a longer run than normal meant I had to rush a bit to get out the door on time, but there’s an easy, time-saving solution for that: a ponytail.
I’m not really appropriately dressed considering it’s 30 degrees outside, but whatever. It’s not winter inside my office, so I’ll dress however I want!
Lastly, thank you for all of your tips and advice about incorporating speed work into my training. I’m excited to try it out!
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT TODAY: What are your favorite websites? Not necessarily just blogs, but all websites in general. I have a few that I catch up on every morning before I start my workday, including The Frisky and New York Magazine‘s Daily Intel. I’m always looking for good new ones to add to my rotation though, so please share your must-reads!
I used to live in NYC and have recently moved to India. Your pictures of Central Park made me soooo nostalgic! Don’t take running there for granted!! It is such a beautiful place – I miss it!
You’ll hit Harlem Hill twice — it’s at the northernmost part of Central Park. The hill is steep but you’ll feel amazing when you get to the top. Plus, there’s an awesome downhill immediately afterward!
I am running the More Magazine half this weekend and am nervous about the hills. Where is the Harlem Hill about? The race has us running from west to east two loops around the park. Thanks!
I love your photos! Central Park feels more like home to me sometimes than my own apartment. The energy there in the mornings really can’t be beat.
My favorite time to run is just as the sun is coming up!!
Running in Central Park is my dream! I am totally living vicariously through you right now 🙂
Great CP photos! I actually have a question for you… I am moving to the UES from the UWS, and I realized I have never been on the east river drive running path! Like you said, doing the central park loop every day gets a little monotonous so I was wondering if you can tell me how to access the east river path? Like, what street can you enter from? Sorry for such a random question but Google was shockingly unhelpful about this. Thank you!
Happy to help! I love the East River path. You can enter from East End Drive from any of the streets in the low 80s. There’s also an entrance at 96th Street, though it’s a little sketchy, so I recommend entering the path further south.
Good luck with your move!
Those pictures make me so happy! I grew up only a few blocks from the park, running the Park Drive and Reservoir/Bridal Path from the beginning. Even with all of the trails and options in D.C., CP will always be one of my favorites!
As for the ponytail, that’s my go-to pretty much every day I run/workout in the morning (or midday, or afternoon, or evening…)
Nice to see how you plan your running schedule. Can a training for running be helpful to avoid injury? So that you can enjoy your regular running workouts.
Thanks for the pics. I love running Central Park and yet as an outer-borough dweller, I only get to do it on NYRR races. (Not that I ever miss Cat Hill or Harlem Hill)
I saw the “Become your Dream” ,too and it made me super Happy!
I want to go running in Central Park! Next time I’m in NYC can we please take a running field trip through the park? I’ve never run there and I feel like I’m majorly missing out.
Absolutely. Come to NYC immediately and I will take you there. I’ll wear short shorts and let you borrow my leg warmers.
I really kind of wish I lived near CP so I could use it more often! I have to take the subway there, which gets annoying.
I love FitSugar. It’s a great way to stay in the know about health trends!
You are intense! Two days after the most insane PR ever you run, spin and chisel and then today you run the loop! I wish I had your muscle ability and energy.
I love Gawker. I also really like Slate.
Love those morning’s when your excited to go run… I had one of those a couple weeks ago..
Pics are great! It would be nice to be able to run around central park!
I know exactly what you mean about running in the park. In fact, I think I may try to do my “long run” this week in Central Park Friday afternoon after work.