Mix it up: New scenery keeps runs fun
After spending what seemed like an eternal winter running on a treadmill while the guy next to us wheezed heavily and coughed iincessantly as he discussed scores on ESPN, we're finally free to take our fitness routine outside. Barring a cold snap, we're anxious to stretch in the sunshine. To help encourage some much-needed outdoor exercise, we asked a few seasoned local runners to share their favorite outdoor routes.
"I start off by running along Harvard Street to Coolidge Corner [in Brookline] and pass by many of my favorite locally-owned shops, such as the Anna's Taqueria, Brookline Booksmith, and the Coolidge Corner Theater. [Then] I'll make my journey back home and allow myself a second chance to reflect on some great memories passing by the [Boston College] football fields where many a tailgate was enjoyed."
The Route: Begin at Coolidge Corner in Brookline, turn right on Beacon Street in the direction of Cleveland Circle, and then to Boston College Reservoir. Loop around the reservoir and follow the route back. 7 miles.
"In Lincoln, there seems to be endless miles of trails," he says. "I start my run from the Lincoln MBTA train stop and run through a mix of forests and open fields before getting to Walden Pond. It is a nature lover's paradise." Another of Lutz's favorite runs is the Wellesley trail network, which he calls "a hidden gem."
The Route: Start at the Guernsey Path trail near the Charles River at the Wellesley/Natick line. Follow the trail to Wellesley Square, the halfway point of the Boston Marathon route. You'll be on the road for a short time before picking up the Crosstown Trail. Follow the trail until the Charles River Path, which brings you through the Wellesley Town Forest. The Charles River Path joins the Sudbury Path, which will return you to your starting point. 14 miles.
If you're hunting for an extended running route, but you're not quite ready for 26 miles of leg-wrecking marathon running, try this run, provided by Shawn Hatcher. It's a trek through some of the more scenic areas of the city, including the Emerald Necklace. Most important, it's generally flat.
The Route: Start at the Curley Recreation Center in South Boston, follow Columbia Road to Franklin Park and then travel along the golf course, exit the park at the traffic circle, and head down to the Arnold Arboretum. Follow the road to the top of Lilac Hill. Exit at Arborway gate. Follow the Arborway to Perkins Street and Jamaica Pond. You'll then head toward Park Drive, Mountfort Street, before taking a right onto Commonwealth Avenue. Take the Boston University pedestrian foot bridge, follow the river to the Arthur Fiedler foot bridge. Follow Arlington Street to Herald Street, right on Harrison, left on Traveler. Take the Broadway Bridge back to South Boston and end at the Curley Recreation Center. 16 miles.
Lee takes an urban approach for her Beacon Hill route, particularly this time of year when the wind coming off the water can make running alongside the river about as pleasurable as laser tattoo removal. She also prides herself on having developed a route that avoids traffic lights. Lee's run isn't a long distance, but jogging uphill is no picnic.
The Route: Lee starts at West Cedar and Cambridge streets, and then (pay attention, kids): up West Cedar, left on Chestnut, left on Walnut, left on Mt. Vernon, right on West Cedar, right on Pinkney, left on Joy, left on Myrtle, right on Revere, left on Irving, left on Phillips, left on Garden, right on Revere, right on Anderson, left on Phillips, left on Grove, right on Revere, right on West Cedar, right on Phillips, ending at Irving. Got that? 2 miles.
For those who may feel a bit skittish about running in traffic, Olle suggests taking the Minuteman Trail. Members of the club gather at Carberry's Bakery on Prospect Street in Central Square on Saturdays. They head toward the Fresh Pond neighborhood to Alewife station to pick up the trail. And if you're feeling guilty for picking up a sticky bun at Carberry's - for shame - you can add a loop around Fresh Pond.
The Route: Follow Prospect Street to Memorial Drive in the direction of Fresh Pond. You can pick up the Minute Man trail at Alewife Station. Follow the trail through North Cambridge and up to Arlington Heights. Follow the trail back to Cambridge. 10.3 miles.