You can have all the latest gear, high-tech gadgets and protein shakes you want but if you don’t have somewhere good to run, you’ve already lost half the battle.
Luckily, Abu Dhabi has an abundance of great outdoor running routes to suit every level, from the just-got-off-the-sofa jogger to the aiming-for-the-Olympics professional.
So ditch the treadmill, forget the hefty gym memberships and make the most of what the capital’s awesome parks, tracks and roads have to offer.
Here are some of our favourite running routes in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Corniche
Abu Dhabi’s stunning beachfront will take your breath away – in more ways than one.
A long, flat surface provides a great dedicated running track while the Arabian Gulf and Abu Dhabi skyline offer views no treadmill could ever compete with.
From Lake Park along to Hilton Abu Dhabi is close to 5km, so it suits all abilities and goals.
There are also plenty of grassy verges and beachfront benches to take a well-earned water break on. It doesn’t get much more Abu Dhabi than this.
Al Hudayriat Island
One of the capital’s newest attractions, but it won’t take long for people to fall in love with it.
Cross what was previously known as the ‘bridge to nowhere’ and see the island’s range of shiny new amenities for yourself.
There are dedicated running tracks, as well as five football pitches, four basketball courts, four volleyball courts and four beach football pitches, should you be an all-rounder. And once you’ve burned off all that energy, feel free to stock up again at one of the island’s great food trucks.
Al Raha Beach
Swap the hustle and bustle of the city for a scenic run along this canal-side route.
There are a few supermarkets along the way, so you might have to fight the urge to pop in for a doughnut or two. But if your willpower holds out, you can enjoy a respectable 6km workout from Waitrose in Al Zeina to the Al Raha Beach Hotel.
Abu Dhabi’s ‘cookie building’, or Aldar’s headquarters, provides the perfect backdrop for the ultimate post-run, sweaty selfie too.
Al Wathba Cycle Track
Despite its moniker, you can create your own desert run here, too. There are circuits for 8km, 16km, 20km, 22km and 30km, so you can stretch your legs out almost the whole way up to marathon level (should you have such stamina, of course).
The great thing about this location is that you get all the beauty and sense of place of running through the dunes (either side of the track are stretching sands), plus the flat, safe and well-maintained surface of a road.
This place is surely one of Abu Dhabi’s finest treasures. It combines the peace and serenity of a nature reserve with the connectivity and amenities of a big city. And it’s a great place to limber up and explore on foot, too.
The waterside path is perfect for an early morning jog or a sunset stroll, and if you’re lucky, you might just spot a wild flamingo or two. You don’t get that in the gym, well not in any gym we’ve visited anyway.
With more than 500,000 sq m of land, this park beside the Ministries Complex is a great place to leave your troubles at the gate and run as long as you can.
The 1.5km track is spacious and flat and perfect for those of us who enjoy a sunset jog.
And there’s plenty of greenery, too, so you’ll get your fill of fresh air. Just don’t be alarmed by the train chugging past, it’s one of the park’s big attractions.
Umm Al Emarat Park
Explore this green oasis of calm in the middle of Abu Dhabi by donning your jogging shoes and making a break for it.
As one of the capital’s oldest outdoor parks, it has been welcoming runners for longer than we care to remember.
A huge amount of work has gone into making this a clean and inviting space for all the capital’s residents.
The perfect rectangle of the park’s perimeter measures about a mile and you can add as many laps as you want/can/need (delete as applicable).
Yas Marina Circuit
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are completely new to Abu Dhabi, you’ll know that the capital’s F1 track is opened up to fitness fans a few times a week.
StartYAS (Sunday nights from 6pm), TrainYAS (Tuesday nights from 6pm) and GoYAS (ladies’ nights on Wednesdays from 6pm) provides us with plenty of opportunities to tackle the awesome 5.5km track.
The best part is you get to follow in the footsteps (or should that be tyre marks?) of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and company by running around the actual track itself.
You’ll spend so much time basking in the glory of the stunning surroundings that you’ll barely notice you’re working up a sweat.
There are plenty of other runners here, too, so it’s a good place to join like-minded folks and make new friends.
Zayed Sports City
There can’t be too many capital cities in the world with a dedicated sporting district anywhere near as impressive as this one.
It’s where people of all ages and abilities gather to indulge in their favourite sports, from football to ice skating and everything in between.
Despite the lack of a dedicated running track, the streets are well lit and traffic is minimal so it’s a perfectly safe and comfortable environment to be pounding the pavement in.
And with so many huge global sporting events being held in Abu Dhabi these days, you might even spot your favourite sports star across the road. Just don’t interrupt them with selfie requests, they’re here for business...