I fell in love with running over the past year around Providence. It became a source of stress-relief, accomplishment, and arguably most important, endorphins. I’m not saying this happened overnight. There were many long runs at the beginning that were painful, as I acclimated to the hilly geography of the city. However, with consistent practice and a hopeful mentality, running slowly transformed into a magical escape from the struggles of the day. I am still an amateur and my pace is on the scale of snail-mail, but I think that this great variation in runners and runs makes running perfect for almost anyone. You can improve at your own pace and on your own terms. Maybe you run ten miles every day or maybe you have not run since eighth grade P.E. class. Either way, hopefully, the recommendations below will inspire you to venture out (or into the Nelson) and just run.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to run or keep running. Sometimes you don’t know how to start a run or what your strategy should be. I’ve found running apps to be incredibly helpful. My personal favorite is Nike Run Club, which has guided runs for all distances and types. These guides also provide a source of advice and accountability on the run. Apps are great for tracking distances and speeds, so you can see your progress. In addition, if you plan to run a long-distance race such as a half marathon, there are apps designed for training programs that tell you what to run each day to build up your distance. Or are you motivated by fear instead? There is even an app that simulates running in a zombie apocalypse. Remember, running should not be about the numbers, but rather how it makes you feel; still, having stats to refer to once in a while can be useful.
Here are a few running routes around College Hill that I recommend:
Hope Street to India Point Park: Pretty self-explanatory. This can give you several miles. Just follow Hope Street down toward India Point Park and then you can enter the running loop in the park if you desire. This is a great weekend run with beautiful views at the park.
Blackstone Boulevard: This is a lovely stretch of pavement and gravel that runs in between two roads. It is lined with trees and grass, so you get a bit of nature along the way. It begins near Wayland Square and goes all the way to Lippitt Memorial Park. It is about three miles round trip and can easily be repeated for longer runs.
East Bay Bike Path: If you want a long stretch of land for running and don’t want to do laps, this is the one for you. One way is 14.3 miles and it runs mainly along the water from India Point Park to Independence Park in Bristol. As the name suggests, it is also a great bike route if you’re not in the running mood.
Around Campus Loop: If you want to stay close to Brown, you can circumnavigate the campus using the streets. Spanning from Keeney to the Nelson, this can be a fun way to see the campus and challenge yourself with a subtle incline. Just be careful of the janky cobblestone on some sidewalks so that you don’t trip.
Nelson treadmill: Okay, so this is not a path, but it is an option for running. This is great when the weather is miserable outside (which happens a lot here) or if you don’t want to think about directions. Also, if you have old person joints like me, this can be a nice break for the knees, since the pavement can be high-impact and damaging.
Random but Very Important Notes
Providence drivers are insane. Even if you make eye contact with the driver, make sure they are actually stopping before you cross the street.
Watch your step. Once fatigue sets in, it becomes difficult to completely pick up your foot. The sidewalks are wonky, with random raised cement and tree branches. You get the point. If you do find yourself midfall, protect the face at all costs.
There is a difference between lacking motivation and being in pain. Yes, running can be mentally painful and physically strenuous. However, if you are in actual pain and your body says, “Nope, not today,” listen to it. You will only make things worse if you try to push it.