Running the Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon – or at least a bit of it

DSC03999We all have those new year’s resolutions, we don’t really stick to. Mine was to run more, because I love to run but normally I get stopped by the weather, or my health, or by eating right before I wanted to run, or… We all know that. To get myself out of this vicious cycle I decided to participate in the Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon. The Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon is a yearly event in Budapest. You can run or walk several distances up, to 21 km on your own or in a team. The tracks go across the city and normally are nearby the Danube, which offers runners a great view. I decided to try the 7 km distance, not the whole half marathon. I Didn’t want to push too hard. I thought this would be a nice memory of my Erasmus here in Budapest. After registering online and being super motivated in the first week here, the weather got too cold to run and I got ill. And now it is already the beginning of April and I am out of practice and have to run a distance I have actually never run before, in two weeks. As you can see, I am normally not a real runner. For myself and for you guys, I checked and rated the best running spots in Budapest to train for such an event and have some tips about running for you. From newbie to newbie. And maybe I can motivate one of you to participate at one of the runs, too.

First of all, if you are a total newbie, try not to push too hard. Get yourself focused on the time you run not on the distance you can get in that time. You will get a little bit faster each time and after a few weeks of training regularly, you will be able to reach distances, you never thought you could. If you are already training a lot and need a specific goal to focus, track your pace with an app like runtastic or nike+running. You can easily see your progress through your pace and the distance you run.

But even if you are fast and trained in running, the most important thing about running is motivation. As the weather is slowly getting nicer, the motivation will easily come to you on its own. But to enjoy the nice weather, you need to find the best spots to run in such a huge city like Budapest is. That’s why I checked out a few:

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Let’s begin with the 2 to 4 km run near the Heroes Square in the Budapest City Park, the Varosliget. Last Year the Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon started and ended here. Starting at the Heroes Square, following the Water, you have the opportunity to do a small round of about 2 km. This is very nice for untrained or total newbie runners, who just want to get (back) in touch with running, without the demotivation of totally sore muscles the next day. If you would like to have a larger round, you can run through the park and pick your favourite path however you like. One large round here would be 4 km, but you can mix it up with many different tracks so you won’t get bored easily even if you run more rounds. The ways are asphalted, which is not so good for your joints, but you can just run next to the roads. There you have normal soft forest floor. Plus you will have a really nice view of the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Szehenyi Thermal Bath, where you can finish your run with a nice relaxing bath.

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If you are training for the whole half marathon, I can only recommend you the Norfama route. This route has a little height difference, which will be important at the half marathon too, as you will be running up to Buda Castle (check out the exact routes of the half marathon here). Starting at the station Norfama, you will run up to Janos Hill and the Elizabeth Lookout Tower. You can enjoy a wonderful view over the city there, which will definitely reward you for your run. One way here is about 2.5 km, both ways 5 km. This seems not much but believe me, the incline will make it difficult enough!

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Last but not least my favourite track. The route at Margaret Island. This 5.5 km track (whole round) will not just provide you with a wonderful view of the Danube. No. They have special tracks for runners, which are softer than usual and won’t cause any problems to your joints. They mark every 500 m on the path, so you can easily keep track on how far you have gotten and how far you still have to go. And if you are interested in some workout during, after or before running, there are some freeletics areas, providing you all you need to give your body that little extra burn. Running here, especially during the sunset is just amazing! I can only recommend it to everyone!

So I really hope I have motivated you with this article to finally get out and run as fast and as far as you can. And I hope I will see you finishing the Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon mid of April. See you there.

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