There’s a lot of debate within the running community. Some runners prefer to run for speed over distance, while others opt to hit the trails over the streets or track. When it comes to wearing headphones, there are those who never lace up without accompanying pump-up music, and then there are athletes who think that music blaring in your ears is a harmful distraction from your form and from your surroundings. And don’t even get us started on the whole runners versus joggers debate!
However, there is one thing most runners have in common — and that’s a love for running outdoors. While the treadmill is a great option for speed work, and an essential piece of equipment during inclement weather and time-crunched situations, there's nothing that quite compares to running outside.
To help runners of all paces and abilities broaden their horizons, we partnered with adidas UltraBOOSTX and adidas running ambassador Robin Arzon to explore three different running routes throughout New York City. Leveraging Arzon’s expertise as a run coach, ultra marathoner, and ambassador in the health and wellness space, we found three distinct paths that incorporate iconic views, historic landmarks, and cool cityscapes to bring adventure and inspiration into every run.
Route: The Williamsburg Bridge To The Manhattan Bridge
While running in New York City can be tough (there’s a lot of weaving around tourists and food carts), Arzon still appreciates the incomparable energy of the Big Apple.
“New York is such a dynamic backdrop for a run,” she explains. “It’s constantly changing and there is a feeling that you’re pushing the pulse of the city with your feet when you lace up.”
As a dedicated marathoner and ultramarathoner, Arzon has pretty much been in a constant training cycle since 2010. While her weekly mileage ebbs and flows, her favorite running routes almost always incorporate one or several of the city’s bridges.
“[Running the bridges] is a great way to add distance as well as hill work to your runs,” Arzon says. “The variety of the boroughs — different views, different types of street art and graffiti — is really important to me.”
This 5.8-mile route, in particular, treats runners to epic views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the lower Manhattan skyline.
Route: East River Park Running Path + East River Park Amphitheater
For her own speed work, Arzon typically heads to the East River Track, but newbie runners can reap the benefits of the flat and casual East River Running Path, where scenes like the East River, recreational soccer and baseball fields, and even the Statue of Liberty provide scenery that's quintessentially New York. And for those looking to incorporate cross-training into their run, the stadium steps of the amphitheater at the end of the 2-mile route provide an opportunity to do so.
If picturesque views don’t inspire you to lace up and run, Arzon’s self-motivating tactics may work for you: “I tell myself that I’ll just go out for 10 minutes and if I’m not feeling it, I can come back,” Arzon says. “I’ve never come back! I’ve always done my full run. You have to ultimately think about how you’re going to feel after the run.”
Runners lacking motivation can also turn to the greater running community for help.
“The dynamic of running in a group is amazing,” Arzon says. “Seek out people at the local adidas NYC store, or your local running store, and see what group runs and events are happening near you. Dozens of running communities exist in New York City and are accessible to everyone.”
Route: Flatiron Area to the Westside Highway
Another way to infuse fun and motivation into every run? Take selfies!
“I always encourage people — take selfies [after or during your run]!” Arzon says. “Document your journey and let people celebrate you. I think the more that you share that journey, the more it pays it forward to get people excited, to support you, and maybe even join you.”
One particular route with an iconic backdrop for your social feed is a just-over 3-mile loop from the Flatiron building that leads you to the West Side Highway. Featuring glimpses of the Hudson River, the Freedom Tower, and the Flatiron Building, you’ll also get a nice breeze along the West Side Highway from the water. Win-win!
Of course, it’s equally important to make sure that you’re running to empower yourself. On certain runs, Arzon admittedly ditches her phone and disconnects from social media to get that much-coveted “me time” many runners pursue.
“There’s so much power in movement, I think it unlocks potential in people,” Arzon says. “I see it every single day. The key to happiness is not a six-pack. It’s feeling like a complete badass when you wake up in the morning. For me, that always lives at the end of a sweaty run.”