I’ve always known that NYC is a walker’s paradise. It’s one of the things I love about living here, but it wasn’t until I started training for the New York City Marathon that I realized just how incredible this city is for runners, too. You’d be surprised how many running paths there really are in NYC — each one a private little oasis that feels far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Whether you’re logging some serious mileage training for an upcoming race or just want to get outside and jog for a few minutes, here are some of my favorite running routes in NYC.
The Williamsburg Bridge
Truth be told, the Brooklyn Bridge gets all the fame and clout. But for a runner, the Brooklyn Bridge can be SUPER crowded, and I would advise avoiding it at all costs — unless you want to spend your whole run dodging cyclists and slow-moving tourists.
The Williamsburg Bridge, on the other hand, is rarely crowded. The bike lane is totally separated from where the runners and walkers are. And the views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines are gorgeous. Also, this bridge is great if you’re looking to do some hill work — sadly many parts of Manhattan are not particularly hilly, but this bridge will get you ready to conquer some elevation if you’re running a hilly race in the future.
The West Side Highway and East River Greenway
When it comes to running, the path on the West Side Highway will always be my happy place. There’s something invigorating about the fresh air and that feeling you get the second you hit this path, overlooking both the Hudson River and New Jersey skyline. I love that running on this path is totally mindless — you don’t have to worry about cars or stop lights. All you have to do is keep on running!
This path is great for long runs, as it goes for 12 miles alongside the West Side Highway, and links to the East River Greenway at Battery Park.
For many, Central Park is their go-to place for running and where they go to escape into nature. The park is home to two main running paths. First is the super hilly outer loop, home to Harlem Hill and Cat Hill, which runs for 6.1 miles. The second path is the Reservoir Loop, or the Bridle Path as locals call it, which is 2.5 miles and far less intimidating.
If you need to cover some serious mileage (hello, marathon training!) I recommend starting on the West Side Highway, heading south and looping around Battery Park to the east side, and then running north to Delancey where you’ll hop on the Williamsburg Bridge. Once in Williamsburg, head left and run up Kent St. for a few miles until you hit Greenpoint, at which point you can either keep going, catch the subway, or turn around and do it all again.