There’s no need to take the subway to Center City if you’re looking for a good outdoor workout; there are plenty of ideal running routes on and around Main Campus.
Going to school in Philadelphia allows Temple students the exciting option of stepping off the treadmills and indoor tracks and onto the city streets or other areas around Main Campus like the outdoor track.
Temple’s track and field and cross-country teams use the outdoor track at 15th and Berks streets, running trails in Philadelphia and streets in and around Main Campus for outdoor training.
Eric Mobley, coach of Temple’s track and field and cross-country teams, said when the teams head off-campus to practice, they typically run at Valley Green, Belmont Plateau or Kelly Drive.
Kelly Drive stretches the four-mile length extending from the Philadelphia Museum of Art along the Schuylkill River and Boathouse Row.
Mobley is an advocate of running outdoors.
“There’s more to see, different running surfaces, just more options,” he said. “Because of the conditions outside, weather, surface, et cetera, two miles on the treadmill is easier than two miles outside.”
Valley Green and Belmont Plateau are sections of Fairmount Park, a system of 63 regional and neighborhood parks, which boasts more than 215 miles of recreation trails. Getting to certain sections of Fairmount Park from Main Campus often requires some form of transportation, but if transportation is unavailable, Temple students should know they still have options.
“If we are limited to just our feet for transportation, we will run either on the track or down Broad Street straight past City Hall, until it’s time to turn around,” Karrie Finn said. The sophomore biology major is a Temple cross-country runner.
Students can also choose to run west from Temple’s Main Campus, along Fairmount Avenue, to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This route is about two miles long and connects with Kelly Drive. For shorter runs, Shameka Marshall, assistant coach for Temple track and field, said students can run south on Broad Street and turn around at Girard Avenue.
Brian Norton is a leader of Philly Runners, a group that runs together three times a week, and notes that running outside is a good core work out.
“The constant adjustment to pavement, leaves, other pedestrians … keeps the runner moving vertically and challenges you to maintain a steady pace,” Norton said.
Safety is always a factor to consider when running outside. Members and coaches of the cross-country and track and field teams agree, though, that if students take certain precautions when running outdoors, Temple can be a safe and enjoyable experience.
“As a team, we feel perfectly safe running almost anywhere we please,” said Rebecca Mims, captain of the women’s cross-country team.
Still, students who run in the city have a story or two to tell.
“I haven’t really been full-out hit by a car, but I was tapped by one that wasn’t looking while I was crossing the street,” Finn said. “People make ignorant comments as our group runs through the city, and some think it’s funny to join in for a little bit.”
“For ladies, attire may be a factor,” Marshall said, adding that women who run along the city streets may want to don more conservative running gear in order to avoid receiving “interesting comments” from bystanders.
Regardless of where students choose to run, Mobley recommends they stay on busier streets, run with other people and avoid using iPods or MP3 players.
Mims said students should try to vary the surfaces they run on.
“It is important to balance your time on concrete with softer surfaces to avoid injuries if you are running more than three or so miles a day,” she said.
Marshall suggests that in addition to running, students should work out in Temple’s indoor pool to relieve stress from their knees while still achieving a cardio workout.
“Sometimes, it’s good to change up the routine, so you can work other muscles and change your breathing rhythm,” Marshall said. “Running the McGonigle stairs, for instance, is good and doing long sprints in the grass at the track is another option.”
“The main thing,” Marshall said, “ is fitness can be achieved in many ways, so give yourself a variety.”
Christine Fisher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.