Monday, June 8, 2015

Horner Park Hill Workout + Farmers Market.

Good morning and happy Monday! I have a new running workout to share today, incorporating hills. Anyone who is familiar with Chicago knows it is flat as a pancake. There is nary a hill in sight and you can get in a great, flat running workout anywhere in the city. However, there are in fact a few hills to be found if you look hard enough. The best hill that I know of is located in Horner Park on the northwest side of the city.

Horner Park is in the Irving Park neighborhood, a few blocks south of Albany Park/Ravenswood Manor. The main corner of the park is the intersection of Montrose and California Avenues, which is also where the fieldhouse can be found. You can easily get to Horner Park on the brown line (CTA L train), by getting off at the Francisco stop and running south. That's where my run started on Saturday morning - just outside of the Francisco brown line stop.

Horner Park is huge, totaling almost 55 acres. The park was built in the late 1940's, after the Chicago Park District acquired it from a former industrial site. This was part of a city-wide plan to create more recreational opportunities. Today the park includes tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, a fieldhouse, playground, and a running/walking path. The park is named after a former Illinois governor, Henry Horner {source}. Running the large loop around Horner Park equals one mile.

Here is the workout:
*Start at Francisco Avenue and Manor Avenue, just outside of the Francisco brown line station.
*Run south on Manor Avenue {it's a diagonal street} until you get to California Avenue.
*Run south on California Avenue. The Horner Park fieldhouse is located on the corner of Montrose Ave. and California Ave. The run from the brown line station is just under 0.4 miles.
*There are two loops inside Horner Park - one large loop and one smaller loop around the hill. As a warmup, run the large loop around the park. This will add 1 mile to your run.
*After finishing the large loop, start your hill repeats. Sprint up the hill and walk {or jog} down. After each hill sprint, run the small loop around the hill {apx. 0.3 miles per loop}. Repeat five times.
*As a cool down, run the large loop around the park. This workout totals just over 4 miles.

Horner Park also has a wonderful farmers market, which started this past weekend on Saturday morning. The Horner Park Farmers Market made its debut in 2014, and expanded by several booths this year. The market will offer greens + vegetables of all kinds, flowers, eggs, coffee, sweets, and hot sandwiches. Buying flowers and fresh eggs was the perfect way for K and I to end our run.

The Horner Park Farmers Market continues every Saturday morning through October, from 9am to 1pm. For more information, visit the Horner Park Advisory Council website and follow the Horner Park Farmers Market on Twitter. Check it out if you're in the area!

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