Having noticed a distinct drop in temperature this week (it’s still hot though). Team Out & About, decided that after an indulgent summer in London, drastic measures were needed. It would appear that being a food blogger has it’s perils and excessive weight gain is one of them!
So it was, that we found ourselves, alongside hundreds of others, at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. All in an attempt to try and embrace a healthier and more active lifestyle. Now it must be said that we are not fitness fanatics and would much rather eat a piece of cake than go the gym! Those soulless places where you spend the best part of an hour staring at the same four walls, in a frustrating attempt to become ‘healthy.’
Yet drastic times call for drastic measures, so here we were at 9pm, on the tarmac of the world famous Formula 1 circuit.
TrainYas is a weekly event, held each Tuesday at Yas Central, where families are encouraged to come down and participate in some fitness activities. You have the choice to walk / run. Or for those looking for a bit more speed, bicycles are also available for hire.
So how does it work we here you ask? Well, starting out in what would be the pit lane (if were an actual F1 race), those of foot must navigate the circuit in a clockwise direction, while those on bikes must cycle counter clockwise. A system put in place to ensure safety and prevent collisions.
Now there is nothing like a good run to blow away the cobwebs, especially in such an iconic location as this. The Yas Marina circuit was purpose built for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and is said to be the most expensive in the world (with an estimated construction cost of US $1 billion). Circumnavigating the 5.5km track is a daunting task and it’s not until you are on the track itself, that you begin to appreciate, not only the size of it, but the intricacies of the manoeuvres that the F1 drivers have to navigate each November.
Stepping onto the turquoise rimmed circuit feels somewhat special (and this is coming from someone who is not even a motor racing fan). We don’t know if it is the fact that it’s an image we have witnessed on television countless times, or our new-found respect for the sport following a trip to the 2015 Abu Dhabi GP, that instills such a feeling within us. Thankfully the ground is cushioned which makes it easy on the joints and perfect for a spot of running.
As we have mentioned before, fitness training at Yas is far more exciting than a trip to the gym. In fact, a lap around the circuit is like a sightseeing trip around Yas Island – a place of more than just theme parks and hotels. As you rush beneath Pirelli branding, you soon reach the famous starting grid, with its all important traffic lights.
A mixture of Arabic and chart music motivates you on, as you pass through the grandstands, around the VIP tower (only in AD) and under the pulsating lights of the Yas Viceroy with its glittering canopy of LEDs. The five star Viceroy hotel is the world’s only hotel to span a Formula 1 race course and as a participant at TrainYas, you get to experience this architectural marvel from the point of view of Vettel, Button or Rosberg (though they are travelling at a slightly speedier 200 kilometres per hour).
Leaving the Viceroy in the dust, runners and cyclists will pass Yas Marina with its super yachts, followed by the manicured lawns of Abu Dhabi Hill, before settling into the home stretch.
Users of the track are welcome to stop at any time and there are plenty of water stations along the route, providing free bottled water courtesy of the Al Ain water company. With numerous staff on hand to assist and golf buggies to collect the stragglers, it’s impressive to see just how popular an event this is. Each time we have trained, the circuit has been exceptionally busy, with all members of the family getting involved. From parents with push chairs, to more elderly residents going for a power-walk. This is an inclusive experience in which everyone is encouraged and welcomed.
No matter where you are on your own personal fitness journey, there is something for you and after a complete circuit, you may not feel like Lewis Hamilton (in fact you may feel as though your body has been well and truly punished). It’s worth it! As they say, exercise is good for you and it recommended that adults exercise five times a week for a minimum of thirty minutes. For us this may not happen BUT this is certainly a good motivator, especially if you’re are racing against friends – a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone.
The team at Yas Marina Circuit must be commended for the way in which they have utilised the F1 track. It is more than just an annual event but a part of the daily fabric of Abu Dhabi’s premier tourism and leisure destination. With the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car on the track or participate in a spot of drag racing. There are a number of experiences that visitors to the track can participate in.
The Yas Marina Circuit is open for TrainYas every Tuesday and StartYas every Sunday. The two events are basically the same thing, with timings running from 6pm – 10pm (last entry onto the track is at 9:45pm). For those looking to cycle, we recommend to get there early as the bikes are popular and disappear fast. Access to the track is free but users must pre-register online first, which can be done here:
Out & About UAE’s Sporting Essentials:
- Running shoes: What shoe you purchase depends on the user (we are preferential towards the Nike brand ourselves) and buying an actual running shoe will ensure support, traction on the running surfaces, flexibly, cushioning and reflectivity. Basically they will look after your feet and breathability will ensure they don’t stink! There is no correct shoe, so try a few brands and pick the one that works best for you, in terms of comfort and functionality. Remember these bad boys are taking the impact of three times your body weight, so don’t buy the cheapest, invest in a pair that are likely to last.
- Water: Despite Yas Marina Circuit offering free water, there may not be a water station close by when you need it the most. Yes, it is uncomfortable to run with a bottle of water (though a running backpack may help) but it’s essential to keep your body hydrated. Especially in the summer months, when temperates at night will still hover around the mid-thirties.
- Headphones: For us this is the most important aspect of the run. Music provides comfort and motivation and there is nothing like working out to some of your favourite artists in a bid to push yourself further. We are big fans of the Beats By Dre, but these are completely impractical for running and far too bulky. For our workout needs, we much prefer the awesome Sennheiser MX 680G sports headphones. Not only because their fluorescent green colour complements our running outfit, but because the clarity they provide is exceptional. These high performance ear buds fit comfortably into your ears and are noise cancelling. They come with an anti-tangle wire (which is great for running) and best of all, are waterproof and fully washable – meaning that even if you get sweaty, they can be hygienically cleaned before re-use.
Sponsored by Daman ActiveLife, your Sunday and Tuesday night’s will never be the same again! If it’s all too much, then why not head upstairs to Ed’s Diner or to one of the licensed food and beverage outlets in Yas Marina following your training. You’ve worked hard after all – you deserve it!
Location: Yas Central, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
Hours: 6pm – 10pm. Sunday’s and Tuesday’s
Phone: 800 YAS (927)
All views within this blog are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.