It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything running related here so I figured I’d share my experiences running in Europe!
I’m still having lower back issues — not worse, not better — which I’m hoping to address when I get settled here in Florida, but in the meantime, I’ve fallen into a pattern of running about 5 miles every other day, which is what I was able to do in Europe as well.
Since I run every other day, this meant that I was able to take in the sights in my running shoes in Paris, Thun (Switzerland), Cannes, and London (x3). Out of those four places, I think my favorite was London, but that’s highly influenced by the fact that our hotel was a half block from an entrance to Hyde Park. Anyway, below are my recaps of running in each of those cities.
Paris definitely took the cake for the most scenic run from a city-like perspective. Our hotel was in the Montparnasse area of the city, and you could literally step out of the hotel and see the Eiffel Tower 1.5 miles straight ahead. Being so close made for some some great run sightseeing.
Being summer, or I guess just the fact that its such a iconic structure, the area around the Eiffel Tower is a zoo during the day, but when you’re running around it at 7am on a Sunday, it more or less feels like you’ve got the entire area to yourself. I did a mix of trying to blend in with local runners (who apparently don’t greet each other?) and playing the American tourist card by stopping for pictures.
During the day, the Seine is bustling with boats, but it’s so peaceful in the early hours of the day. There’s a path you can run right along the river, winding around the city. I’d imagine it’s a nice escape from the city’s traffic.
I covered about 6.5 miles on my Sunday morning run in Paris — it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the city and just keep running, but since we were in town for the Tour de France, I needed to put on a stop on things so we could start our day and camp out at the Champs Elysees.
Oh, Thun. I cannot say a bad thing about you! I’ll write a separate post about Switzerland, but running in Switzerland was fantastic for two reasons: first, the scenery isn’t all too bad… I mean, it’s not everyday you’re running with views of the Swiss Alps, right?
The other reason I loved running in Thun was because of how active the community was. I stepped outside at 6am to start my run, and was surprised to see so many others out and about, starting their day by foot or bicycle. I don’t mind being the only person on the roads, but it’s always fun to see so many others being healthy too!
I think I covered about 4.5 miles in Thun. I followed that up with a swim in my dream pool before heading off for a drive into the Alps!
Despite the fact that I was running along the Meditteranean, I think running in Cannes was my least favorite of the places I ran in Europe. I bet if I’d gone out a little further I’d have enjoyed it more, but it was a fairly urban route along the coast, and since I’m an early riser, I found myself passing people who were still finishing their night (I still don’t understand how someone can stay up until 6am?!).
Nonetheless, running in Cannes was still filled with plenty of great views. And running right along the coast kept things nice and cool. I covered about 4 miles, the perfect amount to move around a bit before lots of beach wandering later in the morning.
As I mentioned earlier, running in London was my favorite of all the places I ran in Europe, thanks to our hotel’s location right next to Hyde Park, and the fact that the Olympics were in town. Every morning I went out for a run, I passed tons of other runners/walkers — some were clearly locals, but so many others seemed to be in town soaking up the Olympics. It was definitely a melting pot of runners — sort of reminded me of being at the NYC marathon!
Most of my runs were in Hyde Park and St. James Park, but I did wander into another place one morning…
Notting Hill! I used to watch this movie all the time, so it was fun to run through streets that reminded me so much of the movie. This particular area of London was fairly hilly, or at least more hilly than anywhere else I was in London, but it’s amazing how running through a “fun” neighborhood can make you forget that running up hills is tough.
That about does it for my European running recap! I think I should start looking into marathons in Europe or something (and free plane tickets, obviously) — who’s with me?