Part of the dream of living in Madrid was being able to run in the Retiro each morning, and today I did my first run there since I moved here on Sunday.
The Retiro Park is a big beautiful park in the heart of the city, at its centre is a boating lake. I remember going boating there with my little cousins when we stopped in Madrid as part of our backpacking trip for our honeymoon. We met up with one of my cousin’s from Antigua who was living in the city for a year with her family.
I’ve visited this park many times since and from when I started running I would always make a point of running here in this park. Road running is all very well but there is something wonderful about running in nature.
At the weekends there is usually a market in the park and a succession of book stalls touting their wares on the walk in.
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One thing I wasn’t sure of was if you’d need to wear a mask to run. I didn’t have to wear a mask running in Antigua thankfully, as it was so bloody hot but it is now the custom in places like NYC.
There is no dictate to wear a mask when running here in the Retiro, which makes sense as this spacious park with its wide pathways allow for social distancing – 95% of the runners were sin masks but maybe 50% of the walkers wore one. At this time in the morning, circa 8am, the park is mostly runners and we can run free.
Morning runs are pretty essential here in Madrid as the temperature right now soars to 38C/100F degrees during the day, it was a comfortable 26C/78F degrees this morning and there was plenty of shade so I can hopefully avoid the horrendous tan line issues I had in Antigua. Also, I now have my regular running gear to hand so I could wear a running vest not a T shirt or running jumper (that was brutal but necessary to protect my skin from the insane Caribbean sun on my long runs in Antigua).
As mentioned before, Spain had locked down hard and locals were not permitted outside even for exercise for months. The El Retiro Park was shut and only opened on May 25 as Madrid finally entered phase 1 of the deescalation of the State of Emergency.
For some reason I’ve always found myself living on a hill and therefore every run required climbs at some point. It was so very nice, therefore, to take the mostly flat mile long stroll to the park and run a few miles on the flat without too much effort and then stroll back again.
I’m hoping this will become a part of my morning routine here in Madrid – which given I live so central and my office is just metres from home will allow me to clock in around 5 miles of exercise each day – 2 walking and 3 running, when otherwise I’d barely need to walk half a mile. I should easily be able to make my weekly run target of 14 miles without breaking too much of a sweat.
I haven’t quite figured out where to go for my long weekend runs, that will be the next mission…