Nice one other me! However the contract has already been signed and I will be living in Tianjin and working in downtown Beijing for for the next two years starting in January. I appreciate all the advice and please if you have any other advice keep it coming!
You'll be commuting 90 minutes to and from work every day?
Good luck with that.
I live in Seoul, but I've run in many Chinese cities, including Beijing. As long as you can get out the door early, even the heart of Beijing can be a good place to run. I had some good runs right after sunrise last July, going from Wangfujing to Tiananmen Square, running around the square to Qianmen before going back north along the road just to the west of the Forbidden City up to Beihai Park and then back to Wangfujing.
Others have mentioned good places to run in Beijing. I've also run in Shanghai, Chengdu, Harbin, Urumqi and other small towns in western China. Harbin is the best city I've run in, but Beijing is my second-favourite. You can make a go of it anywhere, but you do have either avoid the streets entirely or run very early.
There was a day in Beijing when I got out for a run at 10 am and barely staggered through two miles since I felt like vomiting.
I was thinking the same thing, but maybe he can take this train:
It says it is only 30 minutes, plus however long getting to and from the stations takes (i guess that could be a while still).
But even if you forget a crappy commute, it still seems a bit weird to go all the way over there, spend the bulk of your time working in one of the world's major cities, but then hassle with commuting out to some place half the size. I say go whole hog, save yourself some commuting time, and both live and work in Beijing.
I am a 26 year old american living in HK, one of the most crowded and polluted places in the world. Yes, I find myself running on treadmills for 75% of my miles - but if you really care about staying in shape, its not hard at all.
But as others mentioned, a move to Asia is more about the opportunity/experience. You will not regret all the amazing places you will see, different cultures you will encouter, and diverse/interesting people you will meet.
Only advice would be to live right in Beijing (perhaps find an expat friendly neighborhood), commuting sucks - especially in Asia. The travel hours saved will directly translate into more time for working out and exploring the city.
Go all Johnny Appleseed and impregnate as many Chinese women as possible. You'll be leaving anyway so you wont have to worry about the responsibility. USA USA USA USA USA USA
Totally do it! Think of all the sightseeing you can do! And I love the suggestion to learn the language. And culture.
I ran a 10K in Beijing and it was one of the most interesting races I\'ve even done. The number was silk-screened on a piece of cloth (probably like a big sheet) and they just cut out the squares with the edges fraying. They handed out straight pins to hold the number on! The results were hand-written on carbon paper (top ten only!) and no age groups, only men and women. I was not in great shape but would have loved one of the trophies the top ten got!
There were policemen and women lining the entire course, hundreds of them. I actually counted 14 steps between a few of them as I ran, so there were many. The crowd along the course was probably 10-deep the entire race, and (this was in 2002) constant cell phone ringing. McDonald\'s sponsored the race, so they were listed on the t-shirt and hosted the water stop. Luckily they had waters bottles, I was scared to drink most other water. Oh, and noodles and tea works well as a pre-race breakfast!
I think I ran about 45 minutes, and the last half I slowed a bit, and invariably, people who passed me were 20-something women. Not sure where the guys were, but maybe they were all slowing down too (or were already done!).
Running other times outside was not possible. Pollution was bad, plus the traffic was impossible. The companies don\'t even want you driving there: you hit someone and the next thing you know you are supporting their entire family for life, so they had a driver on call 24/7.
80 miles away might not be as bad, but I think you\'ll be downwind from Beijing, so plan on the treadmill for most of it. The hotel ones are in kilometers, so plan your workouts accordingly.
I would run with a gas mask on and a bullet proof vest if I had to. You can run in China. If you are asking such a question it means you lack the mental and possibly testicular strength to run in adverse conditions. Yes kiss running goodbye you have severe case of vaginitis
I worked there for 3 weeks. Yeah it was definitely polluted but you could still run outside. I was doing 4-5 miles per day there. And the bike lanes are excellent for running as cars are unable to enter.
Someone I know spent a couple of years there working for the British diplomatic service. He wanted to run, and arrived well-trained in the lingo, so got in touch with one of their sports universities/academies and asked if he could train with them. They were very polite, said yes, and he trained with them a couple of times a week for a couple of years. Quite a few sub-30 10k runners, apparently.
The strange part was that, although he thought his Chinese was pretty good, he'd always get the wrong end of the stick and wonder why they were suddenly throwing in hard 400s instead of the next of the 6x1000 he thought was coming. Near the end of his stay some of them confessed that they had been told to mess him around so he'd drop out; they were convinced he was there to spy on them and just weren't sure what intel he was trying to gather. It really confused them that someone would actually voluntarily run hard for pleasure when they already had a good career; for them it was basically a meal ticket and free education and they couldn't wait to stop training.
Suggestion: get in touch with the Tianjin Hash House Harriers. Some of them will know about where to live for running, and you'll make a bunch of friends fast.
Sheesh guys, I am having second thoughts now! I am going to go to my company and see if they will invalidate my contract. I do not want to go to such a dangerous place which is so horrible for my running. I'd be throwing my youth away to go to such a bad place. Better to stay here in the States and find a better job that isn't going to send me to the ass end of the world. Thanks for talking sense into me!
'Ass end of the world?' 'Bad place?' You don't get out much do you?
You're going to change your mind on a huge life/work decision based on what anonymous people on the internet tell you?
My dad worked in Tianjin for several years and I visited my parents a couple years ago when they were still living there. Yes, the air quality sucks but it isn't as bad as Beijing. There's a river that runs through the city (I can't remember the name of it...) I noticed a path along both sides of the river that would probably be good for running.
If you've never been to that part of the world, traffic in China and other third world countries in Asia are worse than you could possibly imagine. Driving in NYC, Atlanta, San Francisco Bay Area, or Boston is nothing compared to over there. While running, if you're trying to cross an intersection without a stop light, good luck. Drivers will NOT yield. In addition to all the cars, there's a seemingly endless stream of bicyclists going in all sorts of random directions. Bicyclists are even less likely to yield than drivers.
Don't go to China. You will never come back to running.
I spent 6 weeks in Beijing this summer. Was able to run 40-50 miles/week. The running is fine. The idea of tucking in with the bicycle traffic works very well. You will learn the Chinese rules of the road quick enough. My only issue was I needed better peripheral vision as people seem to appear out of nowhere (from driveways, side streets, parking lots, off the sidewalk).
The people are very gracious and friendly. You will enjoy yourself.
Don't go now. Japan is going to vaporize China with particle beam weapons since China attacked the Senkaku Islands today.
You'd be insane to skip out on an opportunity like this. Asia is awesome. You'll learn to like it.
I don't think the previous posts really captured what the air is like. Basically, during the daytime you can't see the sun most of the time - it looks really dreary / dark / overcast. The only exception is after a good rain storm - that would be the best time to run.
I have been living in China for 12 years. (albeit not in Beijing).
Moving here gave a huge boost to my career (from mid-pack white collar to executive in the space of few years) and now my salary is several times higher than any comparable position back home...
I do not even mention the mental openness given by living overseas, etc, etc
About running ? honestly speaking, I totally gave up for my first year, because I was overwhelmed by the work and I thought it was crazy to even think to run in such a mess...
Eventually I realized that:
- early in the morning streets are empty and there are many quiet places to run
- running was anyway my lifestyle, rather than hanging out in pubs and bars like many other expat
I resumed running and then almost never missed a day. Some days it might be blistering hot and I basically crawl around, but I keep going.
Some days is very polluted, so I run indoor (eventually I bought my own treadmill), even a 20 Miler.
Bottom line: I run a marathon in 2h30' despite my limited talent.
Warning: races are not that frequent like in US or Europe, but now there are quite a good number. Also it gives the opportunity to run in Japan which is the nirvana for runners.
Have to ask....how are the women ? ....hows dating ?
The wimin will be fighting over you.
Run early, early (like 5AM) in the morning and you can run anywhere in Beijing. Later than about 7AM Beijing running will probably kill you.