Wheres a New Yorker to run?
Imagine Manhattan without cabs, pedestrians, small dogs and pretzel stands the sidewalk would be free and clear to run as far and long as you want.
Unfortunately, thats not the case. Taking to the streets and sidewalks is not only frustrating and dangerous, but the constant stop-and-go could be detrimental to your training. Instead, try one of the several trails runners seek out for both the long and short runs:
Central Park: The city didnt lay out a long, paved road in the middle of the park for nothing. This loop, which snakes from Central Park South to the Great Hill near 100th Street and back, is a challenging 6.1 miles (and there are plenty of water fountains and restrooms along the way). If the road gets too crowded, which it may during tourist-heavy weekends, many opt to train either on the 1.5-mile loop around the reservoir or on the Bridle path, a 2.5-mile trail that winds through the center of the park itself. After your run, head to The Great Lawn or Sheeps Meadow to stretch and relax. View a map with the exact mileage of each loop and trail
The West Side Highway: Stretching from Battery Park all the way to the George Washington Bridge, this path along the Hudson River provides runners with breathtaking views of midtown Manhattan, the Jersey City skyline, and the Statue of Liberty. While it gets a bit smoggy and crowded near midtown, the three-mile stretch from Chelsea to Battery Park is wide and close to the water. As you make your way south, the Verrazano Bridge the starting line of the race itself appears in the distance and is a great motivator. Just be careful crossing the West Side Highway and navigating through the ferry-loads of nine-to-fivers walking to and from their downtown offices during rush hour.
The East River Esplanade: Live downtown and cant make it across the island or up to Central Park? This scenic path along the East River brings you under the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges and leaves you in the East River Park to either relax or finish up your run on the 400-meter track. This path is best for short three to six-mile runs.
Washington Square Park: The 0.5-mile perimeter around the park is great for a short warm-up or evening jog. While there are enough people and lights around to help you feel safe, the boredom of running half a dozen 0.5-mile laps might kill you. Bring your iPod.
New York City isnt the easiest place to prepare for a 26.2-mile race. Many things will frustrate you as you train -- crowds, tourists, strange smells drifting across the river, wind, summer humidity but dont let them detract you from your training. Stay focused and healthy, and in November youll cross the finish line a winner of the greatest race in the world.
For training schedules, nutritional advice and race/entry information, check out the NYC Marathon website.
MORE: Training for the New York City Marathon