I’m so happy to come back as a Baltimore magazine Ambassador this year! Since moving to Charm City what feels like ages ago, I’ve watched the magazine evolve & grow with the city itself – it’s so fun to go hand in hand with the […]
Global Running Day is Wednesday, June 6, and now that the weather is finally turning, it’s time to lace up your running kicks and get outside! Between waterfront walkways and treelined parks, Baltimore has its pick of beautiful running routes. We have some incredible routes for seasoned runners, casual joggers, and those just hoping to get a few steps around town. Some of our favorite Baltimore runners helped us compile a list of their go-to routes.
Not only is Fort McHenry an important historic site, it’s also a beautiful location to run and walk. Once around the Fort’s paved track is approximately one mile, so you have the opportunity to make the run as short or as long as you want. Bonus points for the Visitor’s Center being open regularly with public restrooms. There is parking at the Fort, outside of the complex in Locust Point and just a mile down the road from McHenry Row.
Herring Run Park
This urban oasis is located in Northeast Baltimore and has a paved four-mile loop trail, including two new bridges that go over Herring Run river. There are opportunities to walk, run or bike along the stream bed and “the trail is almost all shaded for summer runs,” says occasional Baltimore contributor Ryan Detter. If you’d also like to visit Lake Montebello, it is approximately 1.35 miles around—so you can add on to your run or use it as a beautiful cool down.
It’s easy to appreciate the stunning views around the Inner Harbor and waterfront neighborhoods. No matter how far you’d like to go, the promenade, running from Canton to Federal Hill, offers an opportunity to be close to the water at (almost) every turn. “My main running route is running along the Inner Harbor,” says Lauren Seserko. “If you hug the water, you can run all the way from Canton through Fells Point to Locust Point and even make it to Fort McHenry and run that loop.”
Jones Falls Trail
Escape the city (without ever leaving) on the paved Jones Falls Trail. Starting in Mt. Vernon, follow the trail by the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. “You can either take it all the way to Union/Woodberry or go up into Homewood campus,” says Detter. You can even take this trail all the way through Druid Hill Park (past the Maryland Zoo). Detter says this is “where you’re doing switchbacks in the woods and you won’t even feel like you’re in the city.”
Druid Hill Park
Speaking of, if you’ve visited our amazing Maryland Zoo, then you’ve seen the lovely tree-lined streets within Druid Hill Park. There are so many picturesque areas to walk/run through the park (and picnic after) and most are paved, providing an even run surface. The 1.5-mile loop around Druid Lake is a scenic, light track. If you’d like a longer, more challenging run, try out the course for the Dreaded Druid Hill 10K—this 6-mile trek will take you through and around the park with more than a few bumps in elevation. (This route is going to be affected by current park construction.)
Loch Raven Reservoir
While located just north of Towson, this area is a beautiful place to escape the city streets. With a variety of paved and off-road trails, you can easily walk or run for two miles, five miles, or even 10. “Part of it is closed to cars on the weekends,” says Seserko, “so it’s a great place to get a long training run in on paved and off-road trails.” While this area has beautiful nature views all year, early summer is ideal since all the plants are blooming.
Located downtown in between Fells Point, Canton, and Highlandtown, Patterson Park is a massive, wonderful city park. A full loop is approximately two miles, with the opportunity to add more as you wind through the sidewalks inside the park. Don’t miss the beautiful Patterson Park Pagoda and ducks in the boat lake.
Located near Loyola University’s campus, this wooded trail is made for a soft walk/jog alongside stream valleys, lovely parks, and beautiful Baltimore neighborhoods. For nearly three miles, you’ll travel through approximately 15 residential areas—including Roland Park, Hampden, Remington, and Tuscany-Canterbury. Recently, the trail was updated with a new footbridge, connecting several miles of the trail. It’s a lovely escape from the bustle of downtown and, as Detter says, “you don’t even feel like you’re in the city.”
Prepping for the Chuck 12? Start and end on this race’s namesake. If you’re hoping to enjoy the street’s downhill benefits, start at the top closer to Towson University. You’ll run approximately six miles if you start at Lake Avenue and end at the Inner Harbor. Of, if you’d like an uphill challenge, you can also run up Charles Street to the JHU campus and back down St. Paul/Light Streets for approximately six miles.
Like many of our local universities and colleges, Goucher generously allows the public to use their grounds for running and fitness. Runners can park in their main Dorsey parking lot and use the trails around campus. BONUS: Baltimore Road Runners club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings here throughout the year!
Looking for run buddies? Join one of these run crews to build up your endurance and support system.
Monday Charm City Run Rise & Run: Every Monday morning, CCR Fells Point hits the promenade early for a sunrise four-mile run.
Thursday Charm City Run Pub Run: Our local CCR store has a regular group that runs from their store down to and around the Inner Harbor every Thursday night. All levels are welcome for the 2-5 mile group run.
Faster Bastards: Every Saturday at 8 a.m., the Faster Bastards team runs about 10 miles from Canton Waterfront Park, through the trail by Sandlot, around to Rusty Scupper and back. On Wednesdays, they also run through Druid Hill Park at 6:30 p.m.
Monthly Tuesday Shake Shack Run: Every month, the CCR crews from Locust Point and Fells Poin get together to hit the bricks then end at Shake Shack. First round of beers is on the team once you arrive.
You know the feeling: Bootcamp warmup begins and, during your jumping jacks, you feel your burrito bouncing around in your stomach. No bueno! On the flip side, we’ve all had a morning when we wake up with just enough time to make it to class, only to have drag through the entire workout.
No matter where you fall on the activity spectrum, you should take a look at what you’re consuming before and after your workouts. Pre-workout and recovery nutrition are incredibly important parts of the workout itself. If you’re depriving yourself of adequate nutrients, you could be stifling your potential as well as limiting your progression.
The tricky thing is, it’s all dependent on your body. What works for you may not work for your bestie. And what may work for your HIIT workouts may not work for your yoga practice. The key is to stay focused on what your body is telling you. If you listen to it, you’ll learn to better understand your needs and anticipate your best options. To help start you down that path of understanding, we spoke with registered dietitian and founder of Real Food Court, Courtney Ferreira, about the relationship between food and exercise.
First off, the number one rule is to stay hydrated. (Say it louder for the people in the back!) Staying hydrated is essential for your body to function, let alone perform at the higher levels workouts require. Without it, you are bound to feel weak, tired, and dizzy, and you also run the risk of more serious side effects like muscle cramps and sickness. No matter what time of day, try to hydrate before, during, and after your workout.
Think of your body like a car—you’re not going anywhere without fuel. Your body has the same relationship with its “fuel,” specifically, carbohydrates. Carbs aren’t just Oprah’s favorite—they are also the fuel that powers your muscles. Quick biology lesson: Our body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose. Glucose is then broken down through glycolysis to produce energy. It can also be stored as glycogen to be used later. “It is important to set yourself up for a good performance by providing some energy, or glucose, into the blood stream before your workout begins,” says Ferreira.
While research studies have shown that eating carbs 15 minutes before exercise helped participants improve their endurance (running 12.8 percent longer than when they had the placebo), it’s not required that you eat immediately before your workout. Ask yourself two basic questions: What kind of workout am I doing? Am I hungry?
“The idea of needing to eat before and immediately after a workout is most important for those who are doing intense workouts or are training or competing or have the goal of muscle mass,” continued Ferreira. “For the recreationally active person, exercise can be fueled by a snack and follow with a normal meal.”
In any case, the best exercise-boosting carbs include whole foods. Look for whole-wheat breads, fruits, even starchy vegetables—things that slow the carbohydrate breakdown and provide a steady release of glucose. Having the proper fuel will help you improve the intensity and quality of your workouts. We asked a couple of active Baltimoreans what they prefer:
“If I’m just hitting the gym after work, I usually snack on lemony hummus and veggies before I leave the office,” says Nabila Chami.
“I prefer to workout on an empty stomach, but will sometimes grab a handful of nuts or piece of toast with nut or sunflower seed butter on it if I’m going to be really pushing weights or endurance,” says Corinne Weaver.
While you may want to reach for that burger as a reward for a tough workout, it’s important to make smart choices for your body. After your workout is a key time to repair muscle and stabilize your blood sugar, which are depleted during strenuous workouts. Remember, during your workout, your body burns fuel from stored energy and food you’ve eaten recently. After this happens, our muscles start to use available protein to rebuild within a few hours of working out, but your body is especially good at absorbing carbs and protein within 45 minutes after your workout.
No matter what, Ferreira reminds us to be prepared. “You will never be able to predict how hard you will work or how tired you will feel because this can be impacted by what you eat early in the day and how mentally stressful your day is,” she says. “If you are driving home from the gym, the park, a class, it is important to have something on hand just in case. The last thing you want is to get dizzy or nauseated.”
Having balanced, real foods after your workout will help give you the fuel you need to recover and keep you satisfied for the night or until your next meal. Here are some more examples of tasty post-workout meals/snacks:
“I like ice-cold lemon water post workout—it feels ultra refreshing,” says Ashley Goetz. “And I usually prefer fresh, raw veggie dishes post-workout too or like a juicy, crisp, tart apple.”
“After workout meals are usually veggie and fruit-focused,” says Weaver. “Cherries and almonds are a great combo for my muscle recovery, and lean fish or eggs with water-rich zucchini or a carb boosting sweet potato.”
Care For Yourself
Most importantly, learn to listen to your body. Understand what it feels like to be hungry, have high energy, have low blood sugar, and more. Watch for signs of nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Test out different options for your eating patterns and see what works best for you.
As Ferreira comfortingly puts it, “Although it may take you time to figure out what foods work best for you, I encourage you to experiment until you do. Remember, your body can truly adjust to anything. Just have patience and take it slow.”