Dear (New to) Baltimore Runner
Since I find myself writing this email or having some version of this conversation over the phone at least a few times each month, I figured it’s (years) overdue that I put all of this information into one spot. This is in response to the many versions of “Hi! I’m looking for some places and/or some groups to run with in the area…” that I hear regularly.
I think sometimes I don’t want to write this is because I’m worried I’m supposed to know everything about running in Baltimore and I definitely don’t. But the beauty of modern technology is that I can update this when someone inevitably points out that I’m overlooking a group or location.
Where to run
Anywhere really, but here is a list to get you started:
Inner Harbor Promenade - paved, flat, scenic, easily accessible if you park near our McHenry Row store, Federal Hill, live here, or are at an Inner Harbor hotel. Bathrooms available in the Inner Harbor buildings or friendly local businesses. The link is to a MapMyRun route that goes from the store in Locust Point, to Fort McHenry, and then to the Promenade- not because you need to run all 8 miles, but to show how close either destination is or to make a longer run.
Fort McHenry National Park - free parking, one mile loop, has bathrooms and water fountains open 9am to 5pm.
Patterson Park - paved, hilly, has plenty of scenery to distract you, you can run the perimeter, or add miles taking the paths inside the park. There are port-a-potties on site sometimes but don’t count on a bathroom.
Patterson Park, The Promenade and Fort McHenry can all be linked for a nice loooooong long run if you are training for a marathon or just like the long miles- not to mention there are TWO Charm City Runs to visit along the way now that we’ve opened in Fell’s Point. Remember that Fort McHenry is not open until 9am, and closes at 5pm.
Lake Montebello - Easy parking, paved loop around the Lake with places to stop for cross training. No bathrooms. Connects to the Herring Run trail for a longer route if desired.
Druid Hill Park - paved, hilly if you venture away from the lake, or flat if you stick the the Lake Loop (currently under renovation).
When to run with other runners
Here at Charm City Run Locust Point, we have a few group run options for you:
Weekly Pub Runs, Thursdays at 6:30pm - we meet at the store at 6:30pm for 3-6 miles along the Inner Harbor. It’s out and back along the water so you pick your distance. It’s free and all levels of runners attend, beginners very welcomed, and if you are looking for a challenge we have some regulars who are fast, and the majority fall somewhere in between. We meet in all conditions barring lightening, heat/air quality advisories, ice, and major holidays (re: Thanksgiving). World of Beer offers a free drink to runners of legal age afterward, so break the ice with some people at your pace by asking them if they’re going out for a drink afterward. This community run started 6 years ago before we opened the store in McHenry Row and is still going strong.
Shake Shack Track and Field, second Tuesday of the month at 7pm - meet at either Charm City Run Locust Point or Fells Point at 7pm for 3 or 5 mile run options that end at Shake Shack on Pratt St, and then Shake Shack buys your first beer or shake. I repeat- Shake Shack buys your first beer or shake. This is one of our most popular runs (for obvious reasons). You carry your keys and ID/credit card since everyone wraps up on their own time and finds their own way home. Most people stay for food and another round.
Training groups - Times and days vary but usually Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings, with running homework in between. I highly recommend this if you are a new person in town or anyone training for a race. You'll see the same people routinely (easier to get to know people than the awkward group intro) and you'll have focused runs in terms of any goals you may have coming up (we have coached groups for 5K, 10/11K, 12 miles, and half and full marathons.) Three weeks ago I went to the wedding of someone I met through our training groups 4 years ago. Everyone at our table knew each other through CCR training (I've actually been in this situation at least 5 times over the last 3 years, that just happens to be the most recent). I could tell you at least 10 people off the top of my head who would have a story that goes something like: I moved to town, joined a training group, met a ton of new friends and we are all still friends even if we aren’t training anymore. PRs, friendships, and learning to be a lifelong runner are some of the benefits of these groups.
Other group runs in the area:
Back on My Feet, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30am at varying locations around the city - You’ll be running with many fun loving and hugging folks, some of whom are working to put their lives back together after a tough go. It’s a very welcoming group focused on community and running. You can find out more at backonmyfeet.org and we host their orientation monthly at our store in Locust Point. I ran with and then eventually coached a BOMF team a *few* years ago (cue internal monologue about how time flies, glory days etc...) and many of those people remain some of my dearest friends.
November Project, Wednesdays at 5:30am and 6:30am at Rash Field and Fridays at 6:30am at Patterson Park - Younger crowd although all are welcome (I feel old there at 36- but I’m certainly never the oldest nor only person not in their 20s). You're going to have lots of opportunties for sweaty hugs, do some running and a lot of burpees. Follow their instagram @novemberprojectbmore for updates on workouts and locations. Overwhelmingly welcoming and positive.
Baltimore Pacemakers, Saturday early morning long runs - Free group that meets at varying locations along the 83 corridor of the city. Follow the facebook page for updates on meeting locations, times, and distances. Usually these folks are training for at least half marathon (mostly marathon) distances, and are generally on the older side (as in no longer in their 20s-- if you can call that old, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go if you are!)
Federal Hill Runners, Monday nights at 6:30pm from Federal Hill Fitness - Everyone is welcome and they’ll review the route and help split you into paces before you go. Definitely a more challenging pace as many of these runners competed in high school and/or college. Shirts discouraged. (I’m kidding. Kind of.)
Faster Bastards, Saturday mornings at 8am in Canton and Wednesdays at 6:30pm at Druid Hill - Follow the facebook page for updates on the free group. Challenging paces as indicated by the name. Ladies are welcome too.
where to cross train
If you are anything like me, even though you run a lot, you may not think of yourself as a “real runner”-- I definitely don’t. I like to do a lot of different things, even though running is like my home base.
Here are a few suggestions of other fitness avenues to check out that might not involve running. I’ve limited these to ones I’ve actually tried, even though there are more and more options popping up all over the city:
Rev Cycle Studio - Indoor cycling at its finest. The nicest indoor bikes around, cycling shoes you can borrow to clip in if you don’t have your own, motivating instructors, lockers and showers, and a great Barre lineup if that is something you will try (don’t ask me to do it). Now with locations on either side of the water.
YogaWorks (I still think of it as Charm City Yoga) - this place will always have a special place in my heart as the studio where I really leaned into yoga. Locations all around the city with instructors who can bring their own personal energy and background to their classes. I suggest getting a monthly pass and trying lots of different teachers since they all have their own unique strengths. This is my go-to yoga spot-- I’ll gladly discuss classes and instructors I recommend anytime-- just drop me a line.
South Baltimore Strength and Conditioning - A functional fitness gym, these coaches have dropped the group fitness routine and stepped up their coaching game to accommodate each individual’s personal goals with customized workouts. These guys kept me in shape during the exhausting first year the Locust Point store was open and ironically, I couldn’t find much time to run.
B’MoreSUP - the water was my first love (I was a dolphin trainer for 10+ years)- so any excuse to get my feet wet- I take. Take FloYo (yoga on a paddleboard), barre, or core fitness on a paddleboard, or just rent one and try out SUP-- all on Bear Creek just a few exits North on 95 and yes the water is safe if you fall in.
Fit4Mom - Now that I have a 2 year old I understand the appeal of having a group of just other moms to be with during a workout. They have kid-friendly classes like StrollerStrides, or groups like BodyBack and RunwayMamas that are kid-free but mom-centric.
M. Power Yoga - Can you tell I like yoga a lot? Go for the rooftop Bohga, stay for the gorgeous studio space and great instructors.
BeachFit Baltimore - take the concept of B’MoreSUP and put it in a studio-- fun fitness classes on land based surf boards to challenge your core and balance.
Sanctuary BodyWorks - Personal Training as well as group fitness options for stuff like zumba and yoga (and probably more). Gorgeous space and a great staff- love the chance to do some strength work without the bro vibe.
On my list to check out though I have not made it yet: Mission Fit, The Movement Lab, Reflex Functional Fitness, OrangeTheory Fitness, and CorCycle. Maybe when I win the lottery.
Anyhow-- I’m sure this was more than enough information to get you rolling-- but please stop by the store or email me firstname.lastname@example.org anytime with questions and I’ll happily point you in the best direction to my knowledge.
Welcome to Charm City!
Meet the Author: Deirdre Weadock
A Baltimore native and graduate of NDP and University of Maryland in College Park, Deirdre bought her first pair of shoes from Charm City Run while home visiting Baltimore from her job training dolphins in the Florida Keys. She became a part-time employee and full-time member of the Charm City Run family soon after when she stopped in to replace her shoes. Deirdre was thrilled to help Charm City Run expand to the downtown location as the store manager and coach of Charm City Run full and middle distance training groups. Over the years of involvement she has been committed to the Charm City Run energy and passion for the running community and she is a well-known face at local events. She loves the downtown fitness community and you can often find her checking out any new local studio or gym, but her favorite spot will always be a run along the Inner Harbor Promenade.