A Prague, Czech Republic Runaround

The past two days I’ve been here in the city of Prague, which is located in the Czech Republic.  While I’ve been largely inside in a windowless conference room, I did briefly get to go outside during daylight hours and go for a short run around the city as part of a relatively quick workout that was on my schedule.  Quick in terms of both pace, as well as duration.  It’s been a number of years since I was in Prague last, about a decade actually.  The last time was when my Dad and I took a trip on the Concorde shortly before it retired.

As is usual, I quickly sketched out the running route the night before, just to get a rough idea of the distances involved.  In the end I’d run more than this of course, but this made it easy to zoom in and pick out the areas I wanted to check out.

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While I was running with both a Garmin Forerunner and a Suunto Ambit2, I didn’t use the course functionality in either.  Looking at the map it was really pretty straight forward: Stay along the river.  Failing that, I had stuck my phone in my armband in case I got really lost.

Finally, the goal of this run was a bit of a tempo run, albeit relatively short.  So I kept that in mind from a route standpoint, trying to keep things as straight as possible – and generally as flat as possible.  I placed my final splits at the end.

So with that, I set out for my journey from Wenceslas Square, which sits right next to my hotel.  At the end of which sits the National Museum (or start, I suppose, depending on your point of view).

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After a few hundred meters I ran past a shark. It’s unclear why there was someone dressed up as a shark in front of a Thai Massage place, but nonetheless, there was.

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I’ll give him credit though, I kinda almost prefer his shark costume over mine – though, mine does have a person sticking up out of its jaws.

From there I worked my way down the end of the long boulevard through a bit of an outdoor market of sorts (mostly food and trinkets), before heading a few blocks away to the river where I’d meet it at the National Theatre.

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Upon hitting the river I was aligned with a small island that separated me from the main waterway.  Here you could rent all assortment of different paddle-boats, including some that were more paddle-car than paddle-boat.

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I stayed along this side of the river until I got in front of Frank Gehry’s “The Dancing House” building.

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At this point I crossed a bridge that took me over the Vitava River.  There were locks here, which enabled the boats to get around this short section of man-made rapids.

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Off in the distance I’d see much of the area surrounding Prague Castle, where I’d be headed to in a bit.  The tall church that towers over everything is St. Vitus Cathedral.

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Upon getting back onto land, I made my way down to and along the locks.  Boats were going in and out, some tourism-related, some transport related.  No paddle-boats appeared to be utilizing the locks (I suspect that’s not permitted).

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I soon entered a quiet park that was set on the edge of the river.  The grounds appeared to all be part of, or at least peppered with, works of art from the Kampa Museum that focuses on modern art.

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The first bit of art in the park was this chalkboard.  It wrapped around the corner as well, though some rather large chalk drawings there had significant similarities to the Washington Monument and two attached coconuts, so I figured I’d just show this side.

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Moving past the chalkboard, there was a gallery of photos from the recent floods.  This gallery extended perhaps 100m or so.

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I exited the park and dipped under the Charles Bridge.  This bridge built in 1357 crosses the river and acts as a bit of a tourist avenue between the major sights of the city.  I’d see it on the other side a bit later.

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Speaking of tourist sites, the Segway’s were frequently seen!

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Next up I found myself passing in front of a WWII memorial related to the ‘Second Resistance Movement’ against Nazi occupation.

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I’d continue along to the right and past the Straka Academy, which is the seat of the government of the Czech Republic.  Ultimately I’d make a large loop around this complex of (well guarded) buildings.

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After making the loop around the buildings I aimed to cross the river.  You can see in the photo below the flag monument towards the end of the grassy area.

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Immediately upon crossing the river I stumbled into a large square with imposing buildings on all sides.  The most impressive, to my left, was the Rudolfinum, home to the Czech Philharmonic orchestra.

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I zig-zagged a little bit to avoid traffic on streets where the lights hadn’t changed (since I was trying to keep a pretty quick pace).  A few minutes later that’d take me to the busy Old Town Square.

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After playing dodge-person, I was back out on the streets, this time dodging horses.   There were numerous horse-drawn carriages on my run, likely due to the scenic nature of the route.

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After zipping back down to the river I found the other end of Charles Bridge, also packed with folks taking photos.  The Navy-sailor looking men were actually trying to get takers for one of the various river boat tours, as I’d soon see their home base a few minutes later.

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After passing the above area, things got largely nice and quiet again.  Up ahead in the photo below about 75 meters you can see the white pants of the same company’s sailors – their boat down below out of view.

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Looking back as I ran upstream, you can see much of the most popular areas between the two sides of the river.

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As I made the turn back ‘inland’ towards my hotel, I noticed the torpedo hanging from what I believed to be the National Theatre.  Obviously since I was mid-run I wasn’t quite able to stop and try and find the full story there.

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I also noticed the oddly precise signage to the Subway.  I had seen a similar marker on the way out, that one advertising “62m” away.  Less anyone overshoot the eatery by going 50m instead.

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Woot! There be running events here!  If you’re around on October 5th (remember, it’s backwards here), you too can join the purple people running tour.

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One of the last things I’d do before hitting the home stretch was run through a building.  Though, first I’ll note the water fountain slightly out of focus at the front (I didn’t stop), as well as women’s lingerie store to the right (also didn’t stop).  On the backside was a BBQ sausage stand (should have stopped).

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From there I turned up the street for the final push to the hotel.  I’d suspect this street would make for an awesome finish to a running or triathlon event (and I further suspect you locals will tell me it already does). :)

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With that, my finish line below.  Yup, the same exact spot I tweeted out last night in Instagram.

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Pace-wise things were quite nice, especially considering the occasional dodge and weave of people in the more poular places.  The first 10-minutes were at a nice easy Z2 pace, then each chunk I kicked up the pace a bit.  The final 40 seconds was just due to my lack of remembering to hit the timer button at the 2-minute marker for the previous lap, so I went with 40 seconds and figured that was close enough to 1-minute when you count the overage.  The final 10 minutes and 31 seconds is simply my meandering cool-down as I worked my way back to the hotel.  It’s a bit longer than normal, as the time-limited portions were the faster pieces.

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Here’s the final route as seen below:

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With that, it’s back on the plane to Paris for a short bit before heading back out again for more meetings in another country later this week.  This stretch from September through November is always notoriously busy travel-wise.

Thanks for reading!

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26 Comments

  1. Simon B

    Thanks for the post, it was an interesting read, as always.

    Of course, what you really mean is that the date is; “forwards here, backwards in the US” :).

    Reply
    • Nathan replied

      Yes, the Yanks really confuse me with their date format.

      Reply
  2. Thinking of going to Prague next year, lets hope it all works out.

    Reply
  3. John

    Haha, nice ‘city review’ .. reading your blog for a long time, but didn’t expected you will actually visit my city :-) .. next time you will be around, will be cool to say hello.

    Reply
  4. Great to see you in “my” country after many years of reading your blog :) I do not know about triathlons, but there are a few more Old Town Prague runs from 10k to marathon including night runs.

    Reply
  5. Samuel

    are you at the webexpo in Prargue? I was there this week-end.

    Reply
  6. Ahhh, wonderful. I studied abroad in Prague for 6 months in the fall of 2010 and absolutely loved running there. Though, I definitely stayed away from the castle and old town due to the crowds =). Next time you’re there, head up towards the beer gardens and even further north of those, it’s beautiful trails without all the people!

    Reply
  7. Rodrigo Valle

    Hi,
    How do you carry your camera? Do you use a spi-belt or something?
    How do you keep it from sloshing around?

    Thanks!
    Rodrigo Valle

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      For most runs I just hand-hold it. For really long runs I’ll either stick it in my Spibelt or in my Camelbak. For the Spitbelt, if you put it on your hip on your side, it stays put without any bouncing. On the front or back however, and it’ll drive you nuts bouncing.

      Reply
  8. morey000

    beautiful city

    Reply
  9. 6co

    You will be ready for the Paris Versailles race this week end with all the travelling your doing?

    Reply
  10. Maarten

    Hi Ray,

    No Selfie. I think all the runaround post should have at least one Selfie in them!

    Kind regards,
    Maarten

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I know! I had one selfie, but it turned out non-good, so no inclusion. I clearly need to take more selfies for fault redundancy.

      Reply
    • Maarten replied

      You are in IT, you should know about redundancy! :)

      Reply
  11. Mike Engberg

    I was in Prauge in early July. Beautiful city. It was a fun read and nice to look at pictures of some of the places I remember while I was there for a short while. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Kelly

    My family and I were in Prague in late June. Loved the city! I made a video of our trip: link to vimeo.com Password: Europe

    Love the pictures!

    Reply
  13. Nathan

    Done. Finally caught up with all the posts.

    Reply
  14. Aldo

    Still impressive how you take pictures while running and the pictures are still sharp. Let us know what magic camera is able to do this ;-)

    Seriously, considering you stop to take the pictures, how does it affect your workout? Do you usually take pictures only on slow pace or it doesn´t matter as long you see something interesting.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, really, I don’t stop.

      In fact, the only photo taken while stopping (I had to re-tighten my running shorts) was a single photo taken on a bridge (link to dcrainmaker.com) – otherwise, everything else is mid-run.

      In fact, I can’t even remember the last time before today I’ve stopped on a run to take a photo. Eventually you get to know you’re camera and where it does things well and not.

      Here’s what I use: link to amazon.com

      Reply
    • Aldo replied

      One word. WOW! :-o

      Reply
  15. Ian

    Great City Review… I was just in Prague in August. If you have a spare day, try and grab a “free walking tour” by the square. Callum is a good guide. Hands down most beautiful city in Europe. My cousin who lives there rides alot and there is a huge riding community. Love reading your blog and this was nice addition. I miss it already.

    Reply
  16. Jan

    Ray, should have contact me!!! I am from the Czech..we met at Eurobike.

    next time send me email you coming…wil get you to places, where people dont go, cause they dont know where is hidden the real life in Prague..

    Reply
  17. Hey Ray, Ohhhh, I am sorry I missed that you were here in Prague! It’s my hometown and I work closely with telemedicine, people from Garmin etc. and I do run marathons so I have been following you for quite some time. I also love food and have been living in Paris, so basically really enjoy stalking you and The Girl. Pretty please let me know when you come back! :)

    Reply

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