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Apartment Tips for NYC Runners

Running is a good way to keep in shape, lower stress, and according to some studies, extend your lifespan. The ease and accessibility of running as an exercise method also makes it one of the most popular choices for keeping oneself in peak health. Optimizing one’s living space for running is more important than ever, and finding enough space in a New York City apartment to properly stretch, warm up, and exercise can be difficult. Runners isolated during quarantine found many creative ways to utilize their space to keep active, although dish soap and a bathtub were both required. CitySignal is here to provide you with all of our tips on where to look for apartments, how to optimize your space as a runner, and advice on how to create a motivating environment so you can chase down your ultimate running dreams: Even if it’s qualifying for the 2023 TCS NYC Marathon.

Where’s the best place for a New York City Runner to live?

First things first, if you’re searching for apartments or homes and you’re an avid runner, you may want to find listings in Chelsea with locations close to running routes such as Hudson River Park, near your favorite gym, or in the vicinity of public parks such as Prospect Park’s famous Loop.

Central Park is the most popular spot in New York City to go running, with loops starting at 1.58 miles. Check out our favorite Central Park running map here. However, each of the five boroughs boasts a large variety of locales to run, from the Bronx River Runway to the Staten Island Boardwalk and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge Park; no matter where you like to run, there’s a place for you to do it in NYC. 

For those street-runners of you, consider finding a location near Slow-Zones, with reduced speeds and low traffic, as you will have to run against it for safety. It’s also ideal to look for an area with fewer intersections; this way, you can avoid waiting at stoplights and risk cooling down.

If track running is more your speed, check out McCarren Track in Williamsburg, the East River Track, or The Armory (indoor track) in Washington Heights.

Space To Run With Friends

Another good metric to examine when choosing a place to live as a runner in NYC is your access to running groups such as Achilles International, the Badass Lady Gang (BLAG), or the Atlético Hispano Correcaminos in Staten Island. There are many in every borough, but you may want to make sure the commute is convenient for you if you’ve joined one already. 

The Reservoir in Central Park is a favorite place to run! Unsplash

Studies show that following self-isolation, many renters seek a sense of community due to common lived experiences from the past several years. Additionally running with a partner is believed to hold several key benefits, from safety to motivation to accountability.

Communal and shared spaces in apartment buildings can also be useful spaces for warm-ups and other exercises, so long as you have a plan in advance and don’t fear potentially receiving a few odd looks. Any outside space such as a stoop or a porch is great for warming up if there’s space lacking indoors. Plus, how New York is warming up on your stoop?

How do I optimize my living space for running at home?

Beyond choosing a locale close to running tracks, there are several ways for runners to optimize space at home for treadmill runs, stretching, warm-ups and cool-downs. However, as the majority of single-unit apartments in New York City are under 700 Square feet in size, finding the space to fit a treadmill may be a challenge. 

It can be pretty cold in NYC in the winter time. Treadmill running can be a must! Unsplash.

If you’re concerned about space but still want the ease and convenience of an in-home treadmill, you can look at a folding model or even potentially a flat model which can fit beneath one’s bed. Adding in a mirror can make your space feel larger, and brighter and help aid with your warm-ups and cool-downs. As a last resort, running in place is another good option for runners with little space and insufficient money for a treadmill, although it works different muscles than running with forward momentum. 

How do I declutter a space for running and warming up?

Beyond making a space feel larger, there are ways to organize and declutter to actually allow you the space to prepare for any run, no matter how long. Studies show that a clean living space can boost mental health and bolster motivation, even for those early mornings and long runs.

 There are several decluttering strategies that can help you find space in otherwise cramped apartments for running-based activities. 

  • Start by decluttering little by little each day, and keep a clear goal in mind: optimizing your space to reach your running goals!
  • Get help from a friend to keep you motivated to donate old clothes, especially gym wear and shoes. Soles4Souls has many shoe collection places in the city!
  • Try the 12-12-12 challenge if you’re having trouble finding places to declutter:
    • Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to return to their “proper place.” 
  • Lastly, keeping yourself motivated is often just as important as the exercise itself! It’s imperative to have a well-adhered to stretching or running plan somewhere accessible and clearly visible. Keep your goals in sight and in mind at all times. 

What are the benefits of a built-in gym?

Another good option for runners looking for convenient spaces is looking for rentals with a built-in gym. This is a good option for those who are unable to find space in their own units for exercise equipment but also don’t want to make the trek to a separate park or gym. The ease of access as well as the typical lack of monthly membership fees makes this a good option, although there’s no guarantee that your in-apartment gym will feature all of the equipment you need, such as a treadmill. Additionally, the social benefits of working out in an apartment gym can parallel the benefits of working out at a public gym, often with far less competition for equipment

Whether you’re just beginning your running journey or you’re an old pro, there’s no living space that you can’t use to boost your exercise experience. As one of the oldest and most accessible ways to exercise, running is not going anywhere soon. The exercise helps to reduce stress, lose weight and extend life expectancy, and all you need is your legs beneath you, a good pair of shoes, and a good place to do it. Following these tips you can be sure your space is optimized toward your favorite exercise hobby, all while freeing yourself up to beat your old records and push yourself further than ever before.

Josiah Turner

Josiah Thomas Turner is writer and musician based out of Washington Heights, New York. Turner received his undergraduate degree in Drama from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point before earning an M.F.A. in Playwriting from The University of Texas at Austin. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Turner trained as a multi-instrumentalist from a young age and spent much of his early years creating and performing music. Josiah’s current interest include animation, video-games and French-Canadian prog-rock.