A great place to run is along Barceloneta beach.
Traveling. Working out. Usually two mutually exclusive activities. When traveling to a new place, there’s so much to do in so little time, that you can usually reassure yourself that the couple of days without hitting the gym will even be a nice break for your body. But when you start traveling for 7 or 8 months, your body begins to disagree with that justification. For me, I need some sort of physical exercise to feel energized and put myself in a good mood. When I arrived to Barcelona, I looked into a gym membership a few blocks from my residence. I found a few with relatively good deals: 150-200 euros for 3 months. But, on a student budget, I still couldn’t justify spending the same amount of money that would fund two trips to another country, on something I could do on my own.
I love being outside and wanted to take advantage of the beautiful Barcelona weather while I could. I decided to mix my love for the outdoors, my need for physical activity, and my desire to sightsee all into one, a concept I like to call: running tours. I began to find new areas, parks, neighborhoods, that I wanted to explore. But instead of spending hours walking through them, I would take a run through the area. This way, you can waste time going down all the hidden side streets, running your way through all of the nooks and crannies these gems have to offer.
One of my favorite areas of Barcelona is Montjuic. It’s the oldest part of Barcelona, home to the ancient castle, The National Art Museum of Catalunya, the Magic Fountain, the Olympic Stadium, the Joan Miro museum, and dozens of gardens and parks. Although it’s lots of ups and downs with stairs and changing elevations, the views and gardens are incredible. I would go study at the Joan Miro museum library, leave my things in the free lockers there, take a run around the area, and return to grab my belongings. I had always wanted to explore Montjuic and, through running, discovered a newfound love for what is now what of my favorite areas of the city.
Another great place to run is along Barceloneta beach. You’ll pass lots of other joggers as they have mile markers along the running path and even “mini outdoor gyms” along the water. Parks also offer beautiful running paths as you surround yourself with trees, fountains, and statues. Parc de la Ciutadella is my favorite as there are so many hidden fountains and cul-de-sacs to explore around the bushes.
If you need a little more than cardio for your workout routine, try downloading the free Nike Training Club app on iPhones. It gives you hundreds of interval training options for all levels, focusing on “Getting Lean,” “Getting Toned,” “Getting Strong,” and “Getting Focused.” The workouts range from 15-45 minutes, which offers a great alternative or enhancement to your run. While in Croatia this summer, I would run to the local village of Pakostane, stop and do one of the interval trainings along the water (my favorite is the “Fast + Fierce”), and then run back to the campsite.
Running tours are the best way to break a sweat, without having to break your bank account as well. You explore while feeling good about yourself. Bonus: there will be plenty of views you can’t resist taking photos of, which offers a great excuse to take a breather and a water break in the midst of your work out.