You can probably already guess where my favorite running spots based on my Instagram posts. I'm a creature of habit when it comes to running and feel so much better when I know where I'm running and what the route is like. Here's a look at my three favorite running spots.
Como Regional Park
This is where I spend most of my running time. It's super convenient for me since I can start from our apartment and run up there. I don't need to worry about getting the car and spending extra time driving before and after my run. There's also a ton of paths and sidewalks so it's easy to mix up my running routes without getting lost. Plus it's gorgeous to run around between the lake, the park and the gardens by the zoo.
However, for me, there are some downsides to running in this area. There can be a lot of car traffic in the area (especially now with road construction season upon us) so it can be tough to cross the street and there's extra noise. It is also tougher to get in longer runs without doing lots of loops in the same area. Right now, if I'm going to run further than seven miles I'm more likely to go somewhere else to run. Otherwise, I'm stuck looping through the neighborhoods and it's not as scenic as my run could be.
Mississippi River Parkway
I've gotten in a ton of miles running along the Mississippi River. Most of my half marathon training long runs were along here and I've gotten pretty good at knowing how to modify my route depending on how far I'm running. It's also a gorgeous place to run because it's a little slice of nature that I don't have to go far to find. You can see downtown Minneapolis from this route but it doesn't seem like you are that close when you are running.
My favorite part about running along the Mississippi River Parkway is that it's great training for a couple of local races. The Get in Gear half marathon, 10K and 5K all take place along this route and it's very easy to run the race beforehand to get an idea about what the course is like.
And, of course, the Twin Cities Marathon also runs along part of this course starting at between miles 15 and 16. Since I ran the 10 miler last year (which meets up with the marathon course at mile 19), I know how the course is set up on the St. Paul side of the river. Including an actual (well, blow up) wall at mile 20. And the hill at mile 21. Each time I tackle the hill on my training runs, I feel strong about making it up during the marathon. Although I might be walking it up during the race. It's a tough hill.
Chain of Lakes
This is my newest running spot and where I've been spending a lot of my Sunday runs for marathon training. I love running along the water and there's a lot of ways to easily lengthen your run by adding on extra lakes. Plus, lots of porta-potties and water fountains along the way!
It does tend to get crowded on the paths here but I haven't had too many problems since I get out there early to run. There are also stretches without much shade so make sure you sunscreen up before! There's also a lot of people watching to do while you run which is fun and keeps my mind off how tired I feel by the end of my run.
My favorite part of running the chain of lakes is that I can take a quick wade in the water post-run to cool down. There's a couple of beaches around the lakes and it's just the right cool temperature to feel awesome after a tough run. Again, I'm sure the beaches get busier later in the day (and the hotter the day is) but I've been solo on the beach when I've gone in post-run. Except for the ducks of course.
Looking for more running routes around the Twin Cities (and Minnesota in general)? I'd suggest the "running routes" tag on MinneapolisRunning.com!