Living in Austin is great when you’re a runner because there are lots of venues to choose from and lots of active people to share your run.
Austin is a VERY active town so we take our parks and trails seriously. City leaders work hard to preserve our green spaces and since we have a number of notable athletes residing here too, (you may have heard of Lance Armstrong) well, it’s an understatement to say we strive for quality in our outdoor spaces.
These are some of my favorite venues for working out. Please be mindful that there are MANY other wonderful venues around town that offer a rewarding workout experience but these are the most attractive and convenient for me.
Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail – Also known as the Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail, the “trail” as Austinites call it, offers a 10 mile loop around Town Lake –a beautiful body of water that separates the north and south quadrants of Austin. It offers a crushed granite trail inside a tree-lined path with bridges to accommodate a 3, 4 and 5 mile cut-off.
The Ann Richards Congress Avenue Memorial Bridge is the turnaround point for the 5-mile loop. You may recognize this bridge because it houses a large colony of Mexican freestyle bats and is a popular tourist attraction.
Of course, the smell of guano can be quite pungent during the summer months but if you run quickly it’s not too bad. But don’t run too fast because you won’t want to miss the sounds of the bats overhead. And be sure to return at dusk to see the show as millions of these flying mosquito traps take to the sky to feast on many of the annoying summer pests that call Austin and the Texas Hill Country home.
Downtown Austin – I never tire of running on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. I am totally in love with the Texas State Capitol and consider it the most beautiful of all the state capitol buildings. I know, I know, I’m biased. This stately building made of pink granite from the quarries of nearby Marble Falls is impressive even if you’re not a native Texan.
I am very fortunate to have many opportunities to run Congress Avenue and the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.
Here is a beautiful picture that I took the morning of the Austin Livestrong Marathon as we made our way up to the capitol grounds for the start of the race.
Downtown also offers beautiful views of the Texas Governor’s Mansion, the Texas Land Office and endless historic buildings in a variety of architectural styles like another of my favorites, St. Mary’s Cathedral (shown below).
Tarrytown – Tarrytown is one of the original Austin neighborhoods that my friends and I use for hills. Depending on our route, we can easily find 5-7 miles of rolling hills some of which runs along the beautiful cliffs that overlook Lake Austin. The roads are lined with majestic live oak trees and beautiful homes, which makes for a nice diversion from the challenging terrain you can encounter along the way.
Hills Fitness Club – For indoor training I turn to Hills Fitness Club, my home away from home when I’m looking for equipment or a break from the weather. It offers an abundance of fitness classes and cardio equipment to compliment my time outdoors.
I frequent the Hills for muscle conditioning, spinning classes and strength training. I also have a close relationship with several of the stationary bikes that I use to remove the “funk” (it’s a professional term I learned from my physical therapist) from my legs.
Question of the Day: What are your favorite spots for training when you’re burning some calories on your home terrain?