How To Start A Journey Into The Joys Of Running- Martesana Canalside

I have recently moved to a new area in Milan, from concrete suburbia to an up and coming, mulitethnic area in the north of the city. Wherever I have lived in the world, I have felt the urge to beat the pavements, hills or lakeside in my runners. I find that running allows you to glide through the scenery with a pleasant rhythm and bright eyed view of the world.

This new location is no exception. Having been a totally manic few weeks with ikea trips, friends visiting, long work days and exams, I finally managed to explore a new ‘go to’ running route in the local area. 10 years ago, I would’ve pulled out a gloriously paper folded map, however it’s 2019 and google maps on a shoddy wifi connection was the best I had. Looking around I spied a park, a little further up a canal and some long main roads which would e relatively easy to follow, albeit traffic heavy. I calculated my route to be around 30-40 mins, with some main road, canal and park. Rather than using the algorithm estimations I like to feel I can still make my map loving Dad proud by estimating the distances through landmarks, like distance between metro stops on the same line, often around a 10 min walk, 5 min run.

I first tested out the route on a sunny Saturday morning, a glorious trial run. I enjoyed saluting the other runners lapping up a canal side jog. There were the Milanese going about their Saturday morning activities, reading a paper, grabbing a coffee or cycling with the family. I made more mental notes than I can remember of cosy cafes and handy shops in my area. Most importantly, I scoped out the route, deciding it was nicely varied, flat, mostly well lit. As my go to route, I need it to be easy, to avoid any negative ideas of not going.

I used to think running was like marmite- you loved it or you hated it. I’m lucky to fall in to the camp of always having loved it, however I think half of the battle is the mental game. Sometimes I hurl myself out of the door on a perfectly sunny day, only to have to force every footstep. Others I maintain what feels like a mo farah pace in the lashing rain for a solid 30 minutes. What I would say is this: if you can learn to love it, the benefits far out weigh the devil on your shoulder. Why not get out and try a new route on your doorstep? There must be a hidden corner of nature somewhere nearby and plenty of pleasant distractions from the creaks of a run.

Some top tips for channeling your inner running ninja:

  • Lay out your clothes the night before- one less decision and the accountability of seeing the clothes ready for you.
  • Get out of bed when your alarm goes off, no snoozing. Or if you’re getting back from work, don’t sit down just get changed and get out of the door.
  • Plan your route and make it familiar- this way there is less stops, less time to procrastinate and sooner home!
  • No headphones. Please. Listen to what’s around you for this 30 minutes, don’t count it down from each song.
  • Focus on the goal. Running is for fitness, mental sanity, routine, fresh air… have it in mind and repeat it like a mantra until that last footstep if needs be.

Fresh air, fitness, friends, new findings… all on your doorstep!

For those living in Milan the route winds along the Martesana Canal from Gorla and through Parco Trotter.

Love Zo xxx

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