It’s hard to believe that only a year ago was the first time I ever ran a half marathon. And it’s even harder to believe that my first race was horrible to say the least: I got sick during the race, I barely made it to the finish line in a whopping 2hrs and 22mins – a terrible time for a half marathon. I never really dreamed about being one of those runners who goes to a new city and decides the first thing to do in the morning was to go for a long run.
Flying into São Paulo this past weekend, I really had no idea how my running will turn out for the week. I knew my hotel was relatively close to a park, but what I didn’t know was how easy it would actually be to go on a run every morning. I started by doing things right with a Premium Business class flight from LATAM Airlines. Considering the total flight time from US to São Paulo is around 13-15 hours depending on your departure city, I didn’t want to take any chances in getting to São Paulo super tired. And with almost no jet lag present since Brazil almost matches time zones with US, I was already starting my trip on a great note.
Most flights from US arrive in the morning so it was an easy breeze through security and I was off to my hotel. I picked the Renaissance Hotel because it was in the heart of the city, walking distance to amazing neighborhoods, restaurants and cafes, which is a huge thing considering how big this whole city is. The hotel gave me the option of checking in the day before so I could go to my room right as I got there, but I picked the version where I would drop off my bags and then spend some time in the Spa and the Lounge before it was time to check in. I made sure I got my workout in at the gym, spent some time in the sauna and the jacuzzi before heading up to the lounge for a snack and some relaxation.
The next morning I was ready to go. I had talked to the hotel concierge, checked Google Maps and they all agreed that I had two fantastic running routes around the hotel. One was to head over to Avenida Paulista and run on the bike/running path they have going through the middle of the street or if I wanted a longer run, Ibirapuera Park was my best bet. It was a quick two-mile run from the hotel to the park and once I got there, I joined the hundreds or other runners and bikers making their way through the park. It seems like the entire park was made for active people, from clearly marked bike/running paths to places made for stretching and a power workout, Ibirapuera Park had it all. By the time breakfast came around, I had run 17 miles and knew every inch of this park.
As I walked back into the Renaissance Hotel, I realized how much this hotel caters to all kinds of visitors. Whether you’re in for business or pleasure or a little bit of both, the hotel offers accommodations for everything. And for a tired runner like me, the best option was a little time in the sauna followed by a Sports Massage at The Spa that took out every single knot in my body and made sure that my muscles were completely recovered and pampered. Once that was done, it was time to also nourish my body and the best thing I could think of was the breakfast buffet at Terraço Jardins Restaurant. As a long time fan of pão de queijo, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had one of the bests pão de queijo I’ve ever tried, in addition to the more American/European style breakfast with pancakes, eggs and bacon. To keep up with my hydration, I went for the watermelon and detox juice and loaded up on fresh fruit.
All in all, there are a few things that are key to being a good runner in São Paulo:
- Upgrade your flight to Premium Business to make sure that no longer how long your flight will be, you will get some rest. LATAM Airlines definitely has your back on that with Premium Business offered on more and more flights coming to Latin America from US
- Stay at a hotel that recognizes the importance of making sure their every guest is comfortable and taken care of. The Renaissance Hotel has a massage that has been designed especially for the sore muscles of athletes, a massage made to not only soothe your body, but also prepare it for the upcoming race.
- Hydrate and nourish your body. Brazil has some of the best fruit in the world. Make sure to take full advantage of it during the breakfast buffet in the Lounge and head over to Mercado Municipal to try out fruit you never even knew existed.
- Ask the locals. As it happens São Paulo is a very active city so from the concierge to the waiter we had for dinner or the massage therapist in The Spa, everyone can recommend a good running route that will keep you away from the traffic and allow you to enjoy the beauty of the city.
My running experience in São Paulo was so pleasant, that I made a commitment to go for a run in every city I visit from now on. Where has your running taken you so far?