By Navdeep Khatri
Summer workouts in Austin can be brutal without a fan and maybe even air conditioning. But what’s the point of living in such a green city with mellow winters if we’re not training in the great outdoors? No matter what your jam, there’s an outdoor training area that’s right for you. We’ve compiled a list of the top outdoor training spots in Austin, to help guide you in your quest for fitness al fresco.
Photo Credit Flixr
Austin’s little-known military base is hiding in plain sight. Sitting on more than 150 acres overlooking the Colorado River, this is a cool place to visit. It's even better for a morning or afternoon workout. Just ask the thousands who sign up for the 5K races there. Take advantage of the 1-mile loop track with a rubberized, all-weather surface that's easy on the knees. A covered, concrete grandstand is a perfect place for stretching, doing stair-step drills, and using tie bands. The best part? An outdoor fitness area equipped with machines and static bars. Just bring your ID to the entrance from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and enjoy!
If you're looking for some trail-running action in North Austin, look no further than Great Hills Park. The 85-acre wooded park features enough hilly hiking and jogging trails to kick your rear into gear. There's also a workout station to help you get in some dips and pullups to warm up or cool down. If you don’t live within walking distance, park on Rain Creek Parkway.
One of the crown jewels in Austin’s park system is Mueller Park. On 140 acres, you'll find 5 miles of hike and bike trails with stimulating sights throughout. Plenty of water fountains, playscapes, and waterfront access gives you the best of all workout worlds. There’s even an educational garden where you can check out Texas red yucca and other ruggedly beautiful local plants as you explore.
You don't have to be a student to enjoy a workout at the UT campus. Running through campus will expose you to public art, and stimulating green spaces throughout the academic colleges. There are also a handful of small parks where you can find water fountains and jungle gyms to repurpose into exercise machines. If you want to get those legs working, check out the 12-story parking garage at 5th and Brazos.
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This path around Lady Bird Lake is one of the city's most popular routes. Choose a 3-mile, 7-mile or 10-mile loop. Make way for the cyclists as you run along the Colorado River. Warm up or cool down on the jungle gym equipment and stop near the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue to fill your water bottle.
Zilker Park is a staple of the Austin fitness set, and if you can’t find something to love about it, you aren’t looking hard enough. From trail running on the greenbelt to jogging along Lady Bird Lake, this is a runner’s paradise. Stretch, pullup, and dip to your heart’s content on the playscapes. My personal favorite summertime routine is to hit the greenbelt with a buddy for a vigorous trail run at dawn, followed by a dip in Barton Springs. The pool is open and free before 8 a.m.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outdoor training spots in Austin. The city is a fitness mecca and the opportunities for outdoor training rank high on the list.
Guest Post: Navdeep Khatri is an avid cyclist and runner. He began his love of cycling and jogging as a college student when a bike was his only means of transportation.