A Runner’s Guide to New York City

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From hitting the trails with a group of friends to popping by your local specialty running shop, running culture is more than just pounding the pavement. Running can be a grounding, stress-relieving habit that just happens to be great for exercising your body as well. In honor of the New York City Marathon’s recent 50 year anniversary, we’ve compiled a guide to everything you need to know when it comes to running in NYC.

Where Can I Find Quality Running Shoes?

In New York City, small, specialty running shops are common in many neighborhoods. If you have no idea where to start, check out Brooklyn Running Company, JackRabbit, and Super Runners Shop. They are known for their diverse selection of shoes and expert, approachable staff. Store employees work with you one-on-one, assessing your stride, experience level, and history in order to find you the shoe that best suits your individual running style. These stores also have generous return policies in order to ensure that the end result is your happiness.

  • Brooklyn Running Company offers both in person and virtual shoe fittings. Staff members look at individual gait, biomechanics, injury history, and foot strike to determine your optimal shoe. They also take into account whether you normally run on a treadmill, on a track, or on the pavement. While their specialty is beginner runners, all staff are trained professionals who are more than capable of helping the pros out as well.
  • JackRabbit considers themselves matchmakers when it comes to finding you the perfect running shoes. When looking for a new shoe, employees will walk you how you want your shoes to feel, which shoes offer you the best fit, and what shoes offer you the best fit for your biometrics. To do this, JackRabbit asks you to briefly run on a treadmill or around the block so as to better assess your body’s needs in real time.
  • Super Runners Shop was founded by the first ever winner of the New York City Marathon. They were at the forefront of running shops then, and they continue to stay at the forefront of running shops today. Super Runners Shop has all the typical brands of shoes you would expect to see at a running shop with a focus on new product technology and the latest fashions. They have a fitting system capable of taking a 360-degree, 3D view of the foot within seconds. This technology-forward approach provides the staff with multiple data points that results in a quicker way of finding the right shoe for your feet, body and experience level.

When Do My Running Shoes Need Replacing?

The lifespan of a running shoe is in miles, not months or years. While the outside of the shoe may look fine, over time, the integrity of the interior breaks down, leaving you with a greater risk of injury. For this reason, experts recommend replacing your shoes after 300-500 miles before your shoes are too heavily compromised. If you’re not keeping track of how many miles you’re running, some common signs to look for include smooth and worn down soles, a harder sole, the development of blisters after a run, and you start noticing more frequent aches and pains after a run.

Where Are the Best Places to Run?

New York City has countless routes offering a wide variety of scenery. Below are some of our favorites featuring picturesque paths.

1. The Stephanie and Fred Shuman Reservoir Track – 1.58 mi

Prized for its views of the Reservoir, you can enter on 90th street and get on the crushed gravel path which is also much easier on your knees.

running trail in central park

2. Prospect Park (Brooklyn) – 3.4mi

A fantastic trail with significantly less traffic than Central Park. Here, you find yourself surrounded by greenery and an open, airy feeling. If adventure is what you’re after and you want to explore Prospect Park more, cut off from the main road and get lost in the small paths. You’ll find open fields, a waterfall, choruses of birds and squirrels, and above all… solitude.

3. Hudson River Run (Manhattan) – 15.9 Mi

A jog along the Hudson is always a fun and refreshing way to see the city. If you can, enjoy this route in the evening, when the sun sets serenely over the river. During the summer months, look out for fleets of sailboats and plenty of activities along the parkway.

 

4. Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx) – 3.1 Mi

This park offers a wooded trail free from tourists. Hop on the 1 train and find yourself in a runner’s paradise surrounded by trees and the rarest of New York treasures…silence.

 

5. Two Bridges Run (Brooklyn/Manhattan) – 5.9 Mi

Running across the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges is an energizing trip with unbeatable views. The Brooklyn Bridge invariably fills up with tourists, so running this route early in the morning or late in the evening provides the best experience.

 

Are There Running Groups I Can Join?

Yes, of course there are! Many athletic stores offer weekly running clubs. JackRabbit offers regularly scheduled group runs, as does LuluLemon, New York Road Runners, and many more! Your local running store is also a great resource to find running clubs, as the employees are most likely involved in one.

What Are the Best Running Apps?

Couch to 5K (Free) is an app that literally does exactly what it tells you it will. It’s best used for beginners and prepares you with everything you need to get off your couch and run a 5K, in just 8 weeks! This app suggests running 3 times per week for only 30-40 minutes each time including a warm up and cool down. The slow and steady approach helps avoid injury while developing a lifelong love of running.

Asics RunKeeper (Freemium app) is a beginner-friendly app that allows you to track your progress and even helps you set goals and meet them using an in-app trainer. The app will constantly show you your progress to motivate you to accomplish even more.

Apple Fitness+ (Freemium) is best suited for those who already have apple watches. The app updates with new workouts each week, including 11 different forms of exercise. Length of workout and difficulty level vary greatly so it is easy to find something that best fits your style. 

Nike Run Club is a popular app among runners. It is easy to use and has many perks. With the NRC app, you have the ability to view a “running journal” where you can review countless statistics like routes, pace, elevation, calories, etc. You also have the ability to record the type of shoes you were wearing and how you felt during the run.

Strava (Freemium app) is one of the most popular running apps as it provides specific trail maps near your location, detailing distance, elevations, and run type. As an added bonus, it allows you to add friends and race each other by recording and sharing your distance and time! It’s beginner friendly but is a great resource for any level of runner.

We hope this guide has helped you become more informed and ready to take on your next run.

Good luck!

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