In this episode of 'Running in...' Marcos takes us on a whistle-stop running tour on the island of Taiwan!
Describe the running culture in your city/country in one sentence
Running keeps growing in popularity in Taiwan, despite the extreme heat and humidity that runners have to face everyday.
Take us on a tour of your three favourite 'local' training routes
18 Peaks mountain park in Hsinchu
Right in the middle of the city, this little park has attractions for every kind of runner. The main paved road is about 3 km long and goes across the main peak, from 50 to 130m of elevation. 2 or 3 times back and forth are more than enough for an intense strength workout. There are also multiple side trails with steep climbs and descents for trail runners and hikers.
JingXin Lake in Hsinchu
Next to the Hsinchu Science Park, there is an artificial lake with abundant grass (a rarity in Taiwan) and swarms of engineers jogging during lunchtime. It takes almost 1000m to complete a lap and it is mostly flat. It is my favourite route for easy runs when I leave my watch at home and just run by feel to give my legs some rest.
New Taipei City Riverside Park
All the way from north to south of New Taipei city, the riverside park provides more than 30 km of vehicle-free flatish paths for runners and cyclists. It is perfect for long runs, although sometimes the wind can be discouraging. There's not yet a Strava route that covers the park in it's entirety, but there is a 10k section that will give you a general idea of it's location.
Marcos in race mode in Taiwan
Are you a member of a local running club? Briefly describe the clubs culture & values
Yes, I am part of 互相傷害, which translates for "hurting mutually"... to get faster. The club is mostly integrated by engineers from the Hsinchu science park. We usually do our workouts during lunchtime on weekdays and on weekends we do long runs at 4:30 am - this is the norm in order to balance sport, family and work in Taiwan!
What is the best place to buy running gear in your city?
There are several outlet shopping malls around the big cities where you can find most of the popular brands. The biggest one is right next to the airport so if you have a few hours layover, it might be a good time for getting new running shoes.
Recommend a local race to us!
The Sun Moon Lake Marathon. Scenery-wise, this is definitely the most beautiful race I've done. There are two distances, 29 km and 42 km. The 29 km is just a lap around the most popular lake of Taiwan and the full marathon includes a few kms on a back road. Even though the route is very hilly and challenging, thousands of Taiwanese participate every year to enjoy the incredible views.
What (and where?) should we eat after a big training session or a race?
The infamous Taiwanese stinky tofu. A very much needed source of protein after a race.
Many thanks to Marcos for taking the time to give us the lowdown on running culture in Taiwan. Let us know if you try any of his tips.
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