This article was written by my good friend Matt, a devoted runner since decades.
Running in Rio
The surrounding scenery combined people watching along the beach make running in Rio a delightful experience. You almost forget you’re jogging. The best places are along Copacabana, Ipanema or Barra beaches or around the lake (Lagoa). Chances are big that you are staying within walking distance of one of these places. From one end of Copacabana Beach to the end in Leme Beach it’s 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). From the Arpoador end of Ipanema Beach to the end of Leblon Beach is also about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). Barra is a 12 kilometer stretch (7.5 miles) of beach so pick your start location and run. For views of the Tijuca Park, Cristo and Calabritas Hill it’s hard to beat a run around Lagoa. The path surrounding the lagoon is 7.5 kilometers (4 miles).
People say running on the sand is better on the knees and back. There is plenty of space for this on the beaches but it’s advisable, if running barefoot, to keep an eye on where you step. Sometimes those annoying and thin drinking straws (that the beach cleaning machines can’t pick up) can painfully pierce an unassuming foot.
With a fitness scene like Rio’s you’ll rarely be alone while running in Rio. There are joggers from sunrise until late at night. Early in the morning the average age tends to be in the retiree range. As the morning moves on the age level noticeably drops and unfortunately the traffic exhaust increases. Depending on the sea breeze, the air quality isn’t too bad for a big city. But if you are sensitive to exhaust it’s best to run early in morning or later in the evening. If you need to clear your head from the night before I find that an açai juice followed by a jog works wonders.
Be careful of the sun and the hot weather. It can be scorching especially from noon until about 3pm. Its okay to jog along the lit up beach paths until midnight or so. It is not safe to jog on the sand after the sun goes down. Also, leave any valuables at home. Bring a few Reais for a coconut water or an açai.