Did you know that running burns around 700 calories an hour? It’s no wonder our favourite T’Towners pound the pavement at the first opportunity. Renée Zellweger claims, “Running’s my outlet, the one thing I do during the day that’s mine.” Madonna and the Middleton sisters are also known for their early morning jogs. One stunned civilian nearly ploughed straight into K-Middy when she was out for a morning run in London’s Kensington Park with her puppy, Lupo. Wish we’d seen that! But you don’t have to be famous to get fit; running’s free and the UAE’s full of cool places to stretch your legs. Why not try one of these routes?
Jumeirah Open Beach
Get the best of both worlds and run with a view of the sea, but without the extra agony of wading through sand. Park nearby or get a taxi to Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa and you’re there. The track’s popular with roller bladers, but is great for running too and the markings every 100m make it easy to monitor your progress.
The running track around Safa Park is one of the emirate’s biggest and best spots to jog. It’s clearly marked, so you know how far you’ve run or have left to complete, and the handy changing rooms at each gate mean you can swing by after work, replace your office finery with your best running duds and pound the pavement.
If you’re confident enough to be admired in your workout gear it’s now possible to jog around the south side of Dubai Marina. Time to invest in cool togs! Expect to cross a bridge or two and to dodge the odd pedestrian, depending on the time of day you work-out, but at least there are plenty of places to grab a post-run drink.
Al Barsha Pond Park
This super-clean gated park has a lovely bouncy running track and a pretty pond to admire as you jog. Lovely. Just give yourself plenty of time if you’re meeting someone there, it’s tricky to find as it’s hidden near Emirates Bank on 316 Street, the main road running from TECOM to Al Quoz through Barsha. It’s well worth the mission though!
Forget shopping, there’s a fab running track right near The Dubai Mall if you’re game. From the mall, turn right onto the boulevard and run past The Pavilion and Qamardeen Hotel on your right. Next, cross the bridge in the left-hand corner into Burj Park and follow the path to the right.
Zayed Sports City
Join the Abu Dhabi Striders for a few laps around Zayed Sports City, if you fancy getting fit in the capital. They call it a fun run, but it sounds like more than enough to us! Check out their website for more inspiration: www.abudhabistriders.com.
Better get training, folks. Friday 25 January marks the 2013 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and first prize is $250,000 (Dhs918,000) if you’re game! www.dubaimarathon.org
42km sound a touch long? Er, yes! Then sign up for We Run Dubai, a 10km trot where 395,500 runners in 32 cities will run the same race. It takes place in Dubai on 23 November on The Palm, with music zones and entertainment, and is the first night run that will start at sunset! www.werundubai.com
Celebrity Marathon Times
Running the Dubai Marathon? See if you can beat these celeb times!
Ryan Reynolds did the LA Marathon in a speedy 3:50
Will Ferrell finished the Boston Marathon in an impressive 3:56
P-Diddy ran the New York Marathon with a very decent time of 4:1
Katie Holmes conquered the LA Marathon in 5:29
Get Your sprint on With Nike+ Run Club
Ahlan!’s Dep Ed Karin, who has eight marathons under her belt but took a running break courtesy of the Dubai summer heat, hit the pavement with the Nike+ Run Club and head coach Tom Wolf to get back in shape for LBD season. After a few sprints and a 5km run in Safa Park as part of a training program for the We Run Dubai race, Karin and Tom talked about how to get a bod like P-Middy’s!
How can you go from the couch to a 5km run?
Absolutely anyone can go from zero to 5km in around four weeks. You need to focus on interval-based training, strength work and total body conditioning. You don’t need to be out hammering the pavements, trudging along on your own endlessly.
Any Hollywood celebrity runners you know about that could inspire us?
Matthew McConaughey, Gordon Ramsay, Katie Holmes, Holly Branson, Natalie Imbruglia are all people I have seen at running and endurance events.
Tips for running in the heat?
Hydration, comfortable lightweight clothing, suitable running shoes, train early or late and avoid the peak heat hours between 9am and 5pm. Also, recover well with a natural electrolyte drink, such as pure coconut water.
How should runners from different levels prepare for a 10km like We Run Dubai?
There are a couple of key areas that a lot of runners ignore regardless of level, and we would suggest three important things all runners can do to enhance their running. Do at least one speed interval session per week pairing 100m sprints with 100m jog recovery, drink 500ml of water when you wake up, 500ml pre-breakfast, lunch, dinner and 500ml pre-bed; utilise an ice bath or cold plunge pool post-training. Alternate between the cold water and a warm shower with one minute in each and do three rounds of each for the most benefit.
INFO: Nike+ Run Club sessions are every Tuesday 6:45pm at Safa Park and every Saturday 7:45am at Make/JBR. www.facebook.com/NikeRunningMiddleEast