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Coach Karen's Top MKE Running Trails

When you’re getting RunFit for a race, you can get hyper-focused on the exact mileage you need to stay on track. I get it. But there’s no reason you can’t get your running in all while enjoying great Milwaukee views. If your long runs have become something you dread - keep reading. I promise you’ll be inspired for the weekend!

#1: Henry Maier Festival Park

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This park isn't just home to Summerfest and concerts. Behind the Summerfest grounds, there is a beautiful pathway and park offering some of the most amazing lake and city views. Get ready to see some gorgeous plant life and maybe spot one of the sweet little red foxes that call Henry Maier Festival Park "home".

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Pick up the path to Henry Maier Festival Park at the entrance to Discovery World, then head south towards the lighthouse and loop back. This will get you a nice 2-mile run.

#2: Oakleaf Trail from Downtown to Urban Ecology Center

This is roughly a 4-mile route when running out and back. The Urban Ecology Center is beautiful this time of year and the route has several break-off points like LaFayette Hill, Prospect Avenue, Oakland Avenue. They're perfect spots to work on hills or if you need to take a break. Pick this route up at Mason and Prospect Avenue. Urban Ecology center also has a water fountain and indoor bathrooms which is ideal for runners!

#3: Lincoln Memorial Path

Start at the newly renovated War Memorial and head north on Lincoln Memorial to take in some breathtaking lake views. Also, soak in the excitement at Bradford Beach, and work those quads at the top of the Lincoln Memorial Hill. Out and back gets you 6 miles.

#4: Oakleaf Trail from Downtown to Shorewood

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You will absolutely forget you are running in the city on this route. Out to Hampton Avenue and back gets you a 10-mile continuous run. There's zero stop lights, cross streets or car traffic. The foliage this time of year is amazing! Envision a path lined with golden trees and dotted by Black-eyed Susans!

#5: Oakleaf Trail from Downtown to Brown Deer

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You will forget you are in the city because you won’t be in the city! If you need to get a very long run in, and don't want to worry about pausing your watch at intersections, this is the way to go. Out to the edge of Brown Deer and back gets you 16+ miles. Make sure to keep a water pack on you as water stations become limited after you cross into Glendale.

I hope sharing my personal favorite running trails gives you a push to keep going. I know first-hand what it’s like to feel exhausted, be sore head-to-toe, and just want to skip a training run. However, the skills you learn to push yourself through on your training runs are what will get you across the finish line!

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