If you share anything in common with the 110 people who arrive at Austin’s doorstep every day, luggage in tow, you’re probably clued into the fact that our Central Texas city is obsessed with being active. From yoga studios on every corner to the dog parks that can’t keep up with demand, from the packs of cycling enthusiasts exploring the Veloway to the droves of rock climbers seeking their next adventure, there’s something in Austin for everyone who likes to lace up those sneakers and get sweaty.
While I love sun salutations as much as the next hippie, my love for running took hold after I moved back to Austin after years away and it dawned on me how easy it was to log miles, connect with other people and enter races.
When it comes to running, Austin boasts an embarrassment of riches. Below are my top five reasons why Austin gives big running towns like Chicago and New York a run for their money.
1/ Year-round Training Season for Runners
In early March, when many American cities are slogging through snow melt under ugly gray skies, Austin trails are a sea of cheery bluebonnets and wildflowers. In Central Texas, the biggest hurdle to training though the holidays is turkey coma, not wind chill. Late summer is the most challenging time to train and, if this year’s unseasonably wet August is any indicator, I’m going to manage long runs every Saturday just fine.
2/ Chock-full of Trails, Gyms, Tracks
Whether you want to take advantage of the resources and programs at centrally-located TownLake YMCA, abutting Lady Bird Lake, or go solo among hilly, ambling routes like Decker Lake trail in East Austin, there are a wealth of options to choose from to customize your running endeavor.
3/ Vibrant Running Community
In addition to being a city that supports vibrant parks, hike and bike trails, and important infrastructure, Austin is home to amazing non-profits like The Trail Foundation and YMCA of Austin that buttress the rich fitness community here.
It’s easy to join one of dozens of training groups that meet around Austin or just go on a long run with like-minded folks. We’re on the cusp of Austin Marathon training, and Rogue Running kicks off their fall/winter training season with the popular Church of the Long Run on Sept. 5, 2016. Austin Fit Magazine is a helpful resource for getting inspired, and thriving groups like Austin Runners Club and Trail Roots will help you determine the perfect speed, locale and goal for logging miles.
4/ Amazing Races Throughout the Year
I’ve already mentioned some of these but, dang, there isn’t a month that’s lacking a decent race in Austin:
- There are serious races for runners intent on beating their personal record, like the Austin Marathon (February)
- Family affairs that have been bringing Austinites together for generations, like the Capitol 10K (April)
- Popular Schlotzsky’s Bun Run (September)
- Turkey Trot (November)
- Want a relay race? Try the Texas Independence Relay with your friends (April)
There are over 60 races to explore around the Austin area every year.
5/ We Know How to Have a Good Time in Austin
Austin is a quirky city that doesn’t take itself too seriously and our running scene reflects that. We keep adding to our already awesome festivals and city-wide parties and runners reap the benefits of this, enjoying the best of both worlds. There’s the Gorilla Run (January), and only in Austin can you run through the Trail of Lights (December), a light-hearted and surprisingly temperate 10K. And where else can you meet with founders of start-ups for a downtown run before checking out SXSW events (March)? Only right in the the heart of Texas.
@kristinmleigh wants to know:
What is your favorite thing about running in Austin?