Winter Night Training Runs - Stockholm, Sweden
I think Stockholm, Sweden may be the nicest city for going running on a winter night. And due to its northern location, by night, I mean anything after 4pm for much of the winter. The reason it is so nice is the Swedes have compensated for the darkness with overhead lighting throughout the city as well as lampposts on the surrounding trails. Some of the lampposts are even motion activated so you can see the lights turning on ahead of you as you run (which is eerie and cool at the same time).
The other reason it is so nice is the variety of urban, wooded and shoreline track. Being on an archipelago you get a nice mix of terrain and there is always something relaxing about running alongside water.
I have three favorite places to run in Stockholm. However, not every path is lighted so I always take a flashlight. In addition, these tracks are great in the summer, but definitely expect a few more people out on them. These runs are all good for about 9-12 miles (15-20k) or of course you could string together all of them for a long run. I use these tracks for mid-week runs when I happen to be in Stockholm. Stockholm is a very common city for European conferences so it also has great connections to other places in and out of Sweden that make great ultrarunning destinations!
Djurgården : This is the best lit of the three and the track is very easy to follow around the perimeter of the Island. It also offers up some beautiful buildings and statues that keep the run interesting. It’s my go to course in bad weather given the quality of the trail. In addition, there are many other tourist activities on this island for when you are not running. The Vasa Museum is my favorite.
Hagaparken : This run goes around a large lake that is north / northwest of central Stockholm called Brunnsviken Lake (all part of the Royal National City Park). On the west side of the lake you can plot your own course through some wooded areas but be super careful for the sharp drop offs (I’d avoid that part at night). The area is good for some moderate hill training as well. On the east side of the lake the track closely follows the shore on a nice packed dirt trail. Throughout Haga Park are some cool sites such as the unfinished remains of a castle that you can explore. If it is bright and sunny then I head to this course as there are great views of the lake from the surrounding hillsides.
Stockholm and KTH Universities: To the east of these two universities in and around Norra Djurgarden are some great trails through nature. The track even includes passing by an old Nordic ski jump that is quite cool at night. In addition to the forest trails there is also trail along the water. The trails have some mild rolling hills that can be quite icy so take it slow unless there is a good crust. If I want solitude, then I head to this course.
There are plenty of other good tracks in Stockholm but if you are in town for business, vacation or a conference be sure to take the time to try one of these trails whether day or night. Every run cannot be an ultrarun but these are great training runs with plenty of nature and other sights to see.