Broad Street Run Training: Philly’s Best Places to Do Long Runs

Think beyond the Schuylkill River Trail with these fresh ideas for logging miles.

If you’re training for the Broad Street Run, or another upcoming race this spring, you’re going to have a lot of long runs in your future. Problem is, if you fall into a rhythm of running the same route each and every weekend, over and over and over again, you’re going to end up getting bored.

This is a common problem in race training. In fact, long-run boredom can seriously decrease your motivation, making it even more difficult to get out the door each weekend. Your best bet: mixing it up and trying new running routes.

Even better: Try a new running route each and every weekend between now and the Broad Street Run. Here are some of my favorite places to run near Philly, if you’re looking for ideas. The change of scenery will do you a world of good.

LONG RUNS IN PENNSYLVANIA

» Philadelphia County

Fairmount Park
Bored of the Kelly Drive Loop? Get off it! Most people don’t know that Fairmount Park has numerous trails that all can be easily connected from Lloyd Hall. Two good bets are Boxers’ Trail in East Fairmount Park and the Belmont Plateau in West Fairmount Park. You can connect them by running over the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Check out this map.

Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon
This is a must for every Philadelphia runner. Sure, it’s not much of a secret, but it’s by far the best place to run within the city limits. And with 57 miles of trails, it’s easy to forget you’re only seven miles from Center City. Stay on the wide gravel path for 5.5 miles one way or get lost in the trails on either side of the creek. Check out this map.

Pennypack Park
Another gem within city limits and easily accessible from I-95, this asphalt-and-gravel trail follows a gorgeous stream through the forest and open fields. Check out this map.

» Delaware County

Ridley Creek State Park
This 2,600-acre park offers a nice mix of dirt trails and paved multi-use paths. Park near Bishop Hollow and Barren roads to access the 4.5-mile paved loop, or get lost in one of the many trails through the woods. Note: It’s not the best for a tempo run or hard workout, as the park is quite hilly. Check out this map.

» Montgomery County

Valley Forge National Historical Park
Open space, great views and rolling hills — this is by far one of the hilliest places to run in the Philadelphia area, but don’t let that scare you away. There is an 8.7-mile paved path that loops the park, but you’ll want to venture off the path to experience the real beauty of Valley Forge by linking up the Chapel and Valley Creek trails. Check out this map.

» Chester County

Chester Valley Trail
A 13-mile asphalt trail that parallels route 202 starting in King of Prussia and ending in Exton. The trail is mostly flat and a straight shot, with quarter-mile markers the entire way. Check out this map.

» Bucks County

Delaware Canal Towpath
This out-and-back trail is soft on the legs — it’s gravel and dirt — and dead flat. It parallels the Delaware River and is the perfect spot for a long run or tempo run. Stop in New Hope after your run for brunch. Check out this map.

LONG RUNS IN NEW JERSEY

» Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Thirty miles outside of Philadelphia, you’ll find over 25 miles of trails through pine forest and past cranberry bogs. This is a great place for a long run. Check out this map.

LONG RUNS IN DELAWARE

Brandywine Creek State Park
The Brandywine offers a beautiful combination of forest and creek-side trails, making it perfect for a weekend long run. Check out this map.

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Cory Smith, a Philadelphia based running coach, shares his expert advice as an American Cancer Society DetermiNation running coach; founder of Run Your Personal Best, a private running-coaching business; and head cross country coach at Penn State Brandywine. He is a USA Track and Field-certified coach and a 4:03 miler. As a student athlete at Villanova, Cory was an NCAA Division One Regional and National Championship qualifier. Contact Cory at [email protected]. Read all of Cory’s posts for Be Well Philly here.

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