5 Reasons to Get Off the Treadmill & Run Outside in Boston

I’m not a runner. I’m not even an amateur runner. My greatest running achievements are an 8-minute mile I completed in 8th grade, a 5K I ran last fall with my sisters, and cheering on masses of runners at Boston Marathons over the years (that’s correct, I was a spectator).

I played on several sports teams growing up, and never really thought twice about how much running was involved. I suppose all the annoying parts of running were drowned out by everything else that was going on – dribbling, passing, looking to make a play – getting caught up in the game itself. Running was just a vehicle for making something else happen.

As my participation on sports teams dwindled and real life [i.e. post college] started, I joined a gym like so many do and made my way to the treadmill.

Wasn’t feeling it. Not my thing.

I don’t like working so hard and getting nowhere. I don’t like hearing the sound of the treadmill belt whizzing beneath my feet and feeling like if I make one false move, I’ll face plant into a living, breathing, merciless machine. And so, I relocated to the great outdoors. And while this may not apply to the congested streets and sidewalks of New York City, losing the treadmill and taking on the great city of Boston was a game changer for me. Here are 5 reasons to try your hand at outdoor running in our fine city:

  1. Real Landmarks: You have natural landmarks built into your run. You can coach yourself with, “Okay sprint until that ancient-looking bridge that goes across the river to Cambridge,” rather than, “Okay, sprint until the little red dots on the screen reorganize from the shape of 1 to the shape of a…2. Not a whole lot to celebrate there. The concept of running towards that next curve in Charles River running path/where the street turns into cobblestone/the Salt-and-Pepper Bridge is motivating and concrete.
  2. Join the Club: You automatically join the club of people who say they have/always/like to run along the Charles River. And from my online dating experience, that’s approximately 98% of all Jewish men ages 25-32. So ladies (and gents), that’s where they’re at.
  3. Happy Memories: It’s a tough reality to face, but the unfortunate truth is that Boston becomes a frozen tundra in the winter. You start wondering why you insist on torturing yourself instead of making the suspiciously popular move to San Francisco. Running outside in the fall in Boston gives you a tangible memory to grasp onto in those cold, dead days of winter. Because aside from the season-that-must-not-be-named, Boston is hard to beat.
  4. Old Fashion Travel: You get from point A to point B. And in Boston, that could mean from your home to a farmers market, an outdoor concert, Darwin’s in Cambridge (the ideal destination), or a baseball game where people are sweaty and dehydrated just like you. The point is, you get somewhere. And there are so many awesome “somewheres” to visit.
  5. Seeking Sunlight: I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with a friend on her company’s website. Sunsprite sells wearable tracking devices to measure sunlight intake. This got me thinking about how I take advantage of the hours in a day when I don’t have to be limited by 4 walls and a fluorescent ceiling light. If you’re like me and spend the vast majority of your time indoors – sitting at work in a cube, or catching up on West Wing 10 years after it was a thing, or traveling on the T, etc. – chances are you’re somewhere on the spectrum from slightly sunlight-deprived to so sunlight-deprived that your circadian rhythm is thrown off. It only seems logical that if you’re planning on doing an activity that can occur outside, perhaps it’s worth doing for nothing else than to catch a few sun rays.

I still don’t consider myself a runner. I’d rather play a game of basketball or kick around a soccer ball almost any day. But I’ve come to realize that there is something to look forward to when I prepare for a run. And it’s something a little more enticing than watching little red dots change shape.


Laurel Marcus

...is a design and technology enthusiast. In real life, she is a Senior Manager of Data Insights and Analytics at Tank Design in Cambridge, MA. In her spare time, Laurel likes to cook, play volleyball, bike, listen to This American Life, StartUp and How I Built This podcasts, and look for coffee shops that serve café con leche.