Posted by: David Stewart | November 21, 2012

Running Options in Barcelona

For a runner on a business trip or vacation, the question is always something like, “To run, or not to run.” For me, it’s usually not a question. I try to run wherever I go, unless it’s just totally impractical. As a result, I have had the privilege of running in many amazing places, getting to know the places and people much better as a result.

I’m not training for some particular race at the moment. I went over my travel schedule with my coach and I think she pretty much gave up on me for a little while until I settle down again.

Barcelona has a really nice mix of running opportunities:

  • Montjuic Hill was right behind the hotel we were in at the beginning of our trip. This hill is not too drastic, and offers smashing views of the city. I think the total height is maybe only a few hundred feet. I ran up through the old Olympic center with its stadium and pool. I also ran up to the very top of the hill where there is an old castle. From the top, you can access both the city as well as the docks where cruise ships dock.
  • There is also plenty of super flat beach running. The beach area runs for about 5K or so and has a very nice boardwalk so you don’t need to slog through the sand.
  • One of the main streets is called “Diagonal” and has a nice bike path/pedestrian path down the middle with its own separate street crossings and signals. This means you can cruise pretty much uninterrupted through major parts of the city, only diverting when you come up to a roundabout.
  • Another great hill option just off of Diagonal is the Pedralbes area. This has an ancient monastery and some smashing mansions scattered around. When I was running up there, a high school gym class was also running. Feels good to keep up with the young ones!
  • We moved into an apartment in the Gracia neighborhood, which was formerly a village outside of the city, but which is now part of Barcelona proper. From here there were some good city running options. One morning in the pre-dawn darkness, I ran past La Sagrada Familia, which was completely dark and not a bit spooky. There are several other options as well from here, like up the hill to Guell Park.
  • I also ran down the Ramblas one morning, which isn’t a bad option before dawn. But later on you will be dodging pedestrians.

I didn’t encounter any technical running stores, but there were plenty of name brand running stores in town and there is a Barcelona Marathon, so I’m sure they are someplace.

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