Running improves health with local tracks and nice weather

Rebecca Burns | September 17, 2012    

With the weather cooling down and summer coming to an end, it’s easy for Pittsburgh runners to…

Nishant Singh | Staff Photographer

Ethan Chlebowski, freshman business major, runs across the bridge by Schenley Plaza.

With the weather cooling down and summer coming to an end, it’s easy for Pittsburgh runners to lose inspiration and opt for an extra hour of sleep over a morning run.

But Pitt’s campus has many great running spots for residents, and whether you’re continuing a summer running regimen or attempting to figure out the meaning of a “runner’s high,” running around campus might become a new fall favorite of yours.

There is no doubt that running is good for the body. Not only does it help to maintain a good physique, it also makes you feel physically better. According to Runner’s World magazine, running decreases the risk of high blood pressure, aids in digestion and helps you sleep better. A nice jog can help decrease feelings of stress and depression.

For those who are new to running, consider starting small. The best way to begin a new healthy habit is to start with attainable goals that allow room for improvement. Expecting to run three full miles on your first running attempt will only cause personal discouragement. The truth is, a mile might even be difficult at first.

But to make the physical adjustment easier for new runners, there are some great beginner workouts. One of the best start-up options is’s Couch-to-5K running program.

The name Couch-to-5K doesn’t necessarily imply that complete couch potatoes qualify for this fairly intense start-up program. But for those who have done their fair share of couch sitting, this program will definitely assist you in completing a 5K. Many people, whether they are beginners or runners who have taken a break for a season, use this program to get themselves motivated.

The Couch-to-5K program helps both new and veteran runners get back on track. They even offer an app for the tech-savvy runner.

Once you’ve found a plan, when and where do you start?

Luckily, the fall is an inviting time of year for everyone to enjoy the nice, cool weather. It is probably one of the best times to run outside, and committed runners should take advantage of the weather.

There are many nice areas around Pitt’s campus and throughout the city where you can enjoy seeing new views while running. I like to keep my mind busy with new terrain and sights of the city while on my run. The communities of Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, as well as Frick and Schenley Parks, allow runners to venture throughout Pittsburgh and experience different local trails.

One website that benefits new and old runners is, a site that allows you to create your own routes, calculates the distance of those routes and keeps track of your progress.

There are also programs such as the Road Runners Club of America that have a few meet-up running groups in the area. For those still experimenting with different running routes, a group of fellow runners might help inspire more interest. These are great groups for meeting new people who are also runners, and can help to increase a general sense of motivation and encouragement.

Once you have conquered the couch-to-5K, and you have (hopefully) experienced a runner’s high, you can choose to continue with a steady running regimen or to increase your regimen and challenge yourself. There are plenty of running plans online and in magazines that are made to motivate and challenge any level of runner who is hesitant to explore new trails alone.

The feeling after a long run is unforgettable. Whether you run for competition or as a way to exercise outside, there are great running opportunities in Pittsburgh for every interested runner.

Check out the different neighborhoods of the city with friends, experiment with different websites, and ask other runners or walkers what they enjoy. You may even find your next running buddy while in the process.

Write Rebecca at

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