With Atlanta’s relatively temperate climate, outdoor running is an option year-round when weather permits. If you’re a regular runner, chances are your routine could use a change of scenery, and that adjustment shouldn’t be a difficult one given the city’s picturesque nature. Here are a few free routes and groups that will allow you to rejuvenate your fitness routine and keep your jogging habit interesting.
Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail
Enjoy the surrounding greenspace on this three-mile, multiuse corridor. You’ll meet bicyclists and pass families playing in Fourth Ward Park. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy plenty of public art along this route. If you need to refuel during your run, there’s walk-up access to Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market.
Location: From Piedmont Park to Reynoldstown; Website:beltline.org
These running-centered stores were the brainchild of Olympian Jeff Galloway, who brought his vision to Atlanta in the late 1970s. The city’s two locations — one in Sandy Springs and the other at Ansley Mall in Piedmont Heights — play host to group runs several evenings a week. There’s a ladies-only gathering and several co-ed options for all paces. There’s no need for reservations, and participants can enjoy a 15% discount on select merchandise on group running nights.
If pavement running in urban surroundings isn’t really your thing, try getting off the beaten path with fellow runners who feel the same way. This group bills itself as an organization in which anyone can participate, including beginners and experts. Although some runs do take place on pavement in the city, there are also excursions to comparatively rugged areas like Talking Rock Nature Preserve and Island Ford Park on the Chattahoochee.
If you enjoy distance running, invite a partner and hit the trail where it begins 13 miles to the northwest of the city. This 61-mile, non-motorized thoroughfare makes for a smooth trip with its paved surface as it cuts toward Alabama through Georgia’s Paulding, Cobb and Polk counties. Constructed over old railroad lines, the trail ends at the state line, but you can keep going on the Chief Lagada Trail, which joins it and continues to Anniston, Alabama.