If there's one thing we love it's being able to bring you fresh and inspiring blogs every single week. Lately we've been spoiling you with a variety of guest bloggers who have written articles based around club apps, child protection & even music copyrights in performance sports!
This week, we have something different again. Cathal Logue is an Athletics Coach based in Madrid. With a 5k PB of 15.36, who better to give us some insight into some of the best runs in Spain's capital city? Over to you, Cathal...
Did you know that Madrid apparently has more green spaces than any other European city? Despite better known for the success of their galacticos football team, Madrid is a superb city for visiting runners of all abilities. Situated at above 800m of altitude, with hills in abundance and home to various centrally based parks, the Spanish capital offers both challenging and enjoyable routes.
1. Parque Retiro
Parque Retiro is based in the centre of the city, near the Atocha railway station and close to the shopping district of Goya. There's a 4.2km loop around the perimeter of the park and one can pass the various street performers, outdoor gym enthusiasts, and admire the lake dotted with rowing boats.
Due to it´s location, a run can be extended by running along the Paseo de Castellena and passing the famous Prado art museum. However, a word of warning – the Spanish take their paseos very seriously. It is not uncommon to find a family of 5 strong, strolling at a leisurely pace across the whole pavement, with not a care in the world, unaware of a runner coming towards them!
2. Casa de Campo
For those looking for a little more open space, Casa de Campo has it in abundance. Formally the hunting grounds of the Spanish Royal family, it has a spectacular lake and impressive views of the Royal Palace. Another advantage is that it is largely traffic-free and at the weekends you´ll find large families exploring on bikes and having picnics.
The trails are easy on the legs, with bark underfoot, and there are a number of challenging hills. In the centre of the park, lies a famous El bosque loop of 4km of undulating climbs. Many of the best Spanish distance runners over the past 30 years have a personal best time on the loop and at one stage was the training staple of the famous Eritrean, Zersenay Tadese. Its expansive nature lends itself to longer runs and one could quite easily cover 20km plus loops!
3. Madrid Rio
A more recent addition to the excellent running infrastructure is known locally as Madrid Rio. The path is situated near the old Atlético Madrid football stadium and goes from the entrance of the new Parque Manzanares in the south up to the entrance of Casa de Campo. The path is marked every 100m and is relatively flat, so for those wishing to do some intervals or tempo runs, it is ideal.
If fitting in some speedwork is your aim, there´s a recently upgraded athletics track in the Chamberi area of the city. The Vallehermoso was opened in August 2019 and in addition to the mondo-surfaced track, there is an artificial grass loop around the track where one can warmup or indeed use it for 1k reps.
With all these options on offer it is safe to say that in addition to the tapas, renowned museums, Bernabeu and shopping districts, the visiting runner will have no problem fitting in their training during their city break.
Cathal Logue is an Investment Analyst & Athletics Coach based in Copernicus, Madrid. In 1998, Cathal attended the British & Irish Schools International where he competed against Sir Mo Farah in Durham. He's also been an British & Irish Age-Group Duathlete and competed in the World Duathlon Championship Aviles in Spain in 2016.
A lifetime of training has secured Cathal highly respectable personal bests of 15.36 for a 5k run and 33.36 for a 10k run. Cathal is also an ASA Swimming & UK Athletics certified coach.
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