I took up running about 10 years ago. Mostly to stay fit, since I’ve never been one to love the gym. I never enjoyed running as a teenager, so it came as surprise to me that I fell so in love with going out for a run everyday in my 20’s. Before long, I was training for my first half marathon in 2013, where I ran the Runapalooza in Asbury Park. I felt good, and I noticed how well it helped my mind at work and throughout the day. Those endorphins are amazing! In 2018, I ran my first marathon in NYC. It was an incredible experience, and I’d recommend anyone to do at least once!
Running has especially helped me as a parent over the years. It’s been a perfect outlet for me to check in and sort out all of life’s challenges, all while getting some “me time” too. During COVID over the last year, it’s certainly been a great way to stay active and not go crazy inside all day! I’ve especially enjoyed the time I have to run at some of our local parks in Monmouth County. So much so, I’ve put a list together of some of my favorite spots. Whether you’re thinking about getting into running, training for your first virtual 5k, or just want to switch up your running spot, check out some beautiful places to try out!
Part of The Monmouth County Park system, I did a lot of marathon training here. If I had shorter runs to do, it’s a great park to bring the kids in the running stroller, and enjoy the scenery! Thompson Park has 4.9 mile paved trail loop, with one larger hill, but mostly flat. It’s really scenic, with a small pond, and plenty of people on the trail. Cross Farm Park is across the street, another great park with soccer fields and paved trails for walking/running. I’ll often cut across and take advantage of both while I’m there!
Holmdel Park is great because it offers a lot of different trails, depending on the kind of run you’d like to do. If you have the running stroller, you can run the paved loop (.5 miles) to get a workout in. It’s a little hilly, which has been challenging to me. You can also head into the wooded trails to really push yourself on hills and get some good cardio in. I’ve brought my son and daughter here for hikes in the summer too!
I stumbled upon the reservoir when I was training for the NY marathon. Having grown up in Monmouth County, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been before. The trail loop around the reservoir is five miles, perfect for race training and long runs. My daughter loves looking at the reservoir and pointing out birds and other animals along the way. The best part about this spot is the scenery, it’s really beautiful! Even if you’re not a runner, I highly recommend heading down here for a walk, with or without the kids!
In the warmer months, I love running by the beach. For me, it’s closer to get down to Sandy Hook for a run. It’s beautiful and incredibly therapeutic running by the ocean, and perfect for long or short runs. Most of our beaches are great for running in Monmouth County, if Sandy Hook isn’t close enough to you.
Learn more about the Monmouth County Park system and all of the great parks near you!