City

A case of the runs: Easing your unfit form into MoHi's running routes

You said you’d start exercising when you went to college. You’re now a junior and you still don’t know what Dodge looks like. You’d like to start working out, but you’re at that point where you have no idea how and it’s too embarrassing to ask. Never fear: We have starter-kit running guides for you so you can make it up to Hamilton 6 without gasping for air.

Here’s everything you need to know to become one of those people who shows up to class bragging about their predawn workout, no matter if you can currently run for 5 minutes or 50.

Where to run, you may ask? Hint: Not on Broadway. While there’s always Dodge for the truly desperate, parks in or around MoHi are your best bet for a combination of sunshine, scenery, and sweat. Here are some routes to try as a beginner.

Kevin Ledee / Staff Designer

Level 1: The Great Hill - Central Park

@gothamcityjournal / via Instagram

Running newbies, head to the Great Hill in Central Park. (Don’t worry, you run around the hill, not up it.) It’s minimal effort with all of the feeling of accomplishment. To get there is only about a mile, and the path adds another quarter-mile for each loop.

Cut through Morningside Park on the way back if you’re tired. As a bonus, the hill is open to dogs during the day, so you have built-in workout entertainment.

Level 2: The North Woods - Central Park

@famtomerc / via Instagram

Level up and venture into the North Woods. It’s only an extra mile.

Level 3: The North Meadow - Central Park

@ ameer71 / via Instagram

The most green you’ll see in the city, ever. Be warned: This route involves hills. You can also cross the 97th Street Transverse to get to the Jackie Onassis Reservoir circuit.

Choose your own adventure: Riverside Park

@mikeboord / via Instagram

Stairs! But they’re not too bad. You can also cut through the park to the Hudson River path to run along the water.

When to go

Head to Central Park Monday through Friday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., or weekends from 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday when it’s closed to traffic. Riverside Park is technically open 24/7, but stick to the daylight hours because mugging ain’t fun. Dodge is open from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. every day, but Dodge means people will watch you pant and perspire.

Keeping it up

Be realistic about what you can do and how often you can do it: It’s better to do a couple slow miles 3 times a week than a single 10-miler that leaves you determined never to put on sneakers again. If you hate working out, make it enjoyable in other ways: Listen to music or podcasts while you run or head out with friends.

Starting and maintaining a running habit is difficult, but it pays off with a little persistence. And when it comes time for New Year’s resolutions, you’ll be trim, toned, and well ahead of the pack.

Got any other road running recommendations? Let us know! Comment down under, tweet us, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum

Ishya Verma is a Spectrum staff writer and Barnard first-year. She gets lost every time she goes running in Central Park. Reach her at ishya.verma@columbia.spectator.com.

All maps by Kevin Ledee, Staff Designer.

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