Healthy in 2013: The Park Slope Runner’s Guide

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brooklyn marathon via facebook

Ah, running. Such a versatile means of exercise. All you really need is a good pair of sneakers and some land, and you’re good to go. Luckily for Park Slopers, we’ve got some beautiful land practically at our doorsteps at Prospect Park and some excellent resources through local running clubs. Whether you’re training for a race, switching up your route, or just looking to turn your solo jog into a more social event, these three organizations have something for you.

(Previously: Park Slope Yoga Studios)

Prospect Park Track Club

Founded over 30 years ago, the PPTC is Brooklyn’s largest and most active running club. The group hosts local races throughout the year, most notably the Cherry Tree 10M and the Thanksgiving 5M Turkey Trot. They also organize weekly group runs, which meet at Grand Army Plaza three times a week: Saturdays at 8am, Sundays at 9am, and Wednesdays at 7:15pm. The pace and distance of the runs are determined by the runners. Membership isn’t necessary to join in on the weekly runs, but it does buy you access to monthly meetings with guest speakers, the club newsletter, speed workouts, post-race brunches, and “social events to appeal to the hooligan in all of us.” Membership costs $25 annually for individuals and $35 annually for families.

Brooklyn Road Runners

This Park Slope-based “group of running buddies” focuses on group runs and marathon training. The group doesn’t host races but takes part as a team in events throughout the year, specifically the New York Road Runners club championship. They organize four weekly training runs through Prospect Park (Tuesday & Thursday at 6:45pm and Saturday & Sunday at 9:00am) which are open to everyone. And if you aren’t looking to join just yet, you can also check out their helpful list of running routes in the surrounding areas, including not only Prospect Park loops but also a Red Hook track and routes through McCarren Park and Cadman Plaza. The group also hosts an active wiki, where runners can share training tips, gear information, and ideas for events. If you’d like to support the group by becoming a member, dues are $20 annually per member or $25 per family.

JackRabbit Sports

The athletic gear shop on 7th Avenue hosts an assortment of training programs for runners: two levels of Beginner programs ($145) which meet Wednesdays at 7pm and Sundays at 9am until March 24, and the Half Marathon training program ($195) which meets Tuesdays at 7pm and Saturdays at 9am from March 12 to May 9. The beginner meetings start with very gentle workouts combining walking and running, and build upon existing fitness and running skills with an greater emphasis on pace and endurance.  The environment is pressure-free, with no stopwatches and plenty of support. Also, each participant will receive personalized email coaching throughout the ten weeks. The store also hosts free group runs which start at the store on Wednesday nights at 7pm. You can sign up for alerts on more free runs throughout the city here.

Photo via Grant Armessen

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