El Pardo, along the Manzanares
While being not able to run this week, I thought that sharing my experience of running in El Pardo. It's an area and neighborhood north-west of the city, a bit remote because there are only a few ways to get in, and it is surrounded by the king's forest, La Zarzuela.
When going there, often start at the marked parking lot, which has plenty of space, even on busy days. Pretty much the only way to get there to the Pardo is from the M-30, take highway M-605. The other alternative is to come in via M-612, which brings you to the Pardo village. Which then means you could park your car there, and make the circular run with a starting point in the village.
The run itself is incredibly self-explaining - starting at the parking lot, the well maintained trail crosses a picnic area, always along the river. Every few hundred meters, there is the option to go down to the river itself, and up a while later.
After about 2.5km, you reach the village. On my way in, I normally just stay on the river side, simply continue north while passing some of the bars and cafes (with the clear intention to frequent them on my way back!!!). Through the village, about 1km further, the river makes a loop to the west, and the area in this loop opens up for a larger park, with several trails to chose from. On this run, I stayed mostly close to the river, heading to the only bridge that allows me to get to the other side. It is marked on the map above as Pasarela de Mingorrubio. Once on the other side, I decided to head a bit further north, until I arrived at the dam (Presa). I don't think there are great other ways to explore from there, so I turned around, back to the bridge but stayed on the west bank of the river, heading further south. After about 2km, the trail ends back at the village. From there, I decided to go to main square to take the promised break. Other options are heading further WEST, up the hill for some further exercise. The road is a dead end with a church and a restaurant. I skipped this part on this run.
After my break, I was heading back the same way to the parking lot, simply along the river.
A few comments: if you live in one of the adjacent neighborhoods, such as Valdemarin, Aravaca or Fuentelareyna, you might be tempted to run from there. The only feasible path I found (that avoids running big detours or on the highway...), was to go through the Real Club Puerta de Hierro . This sports club is open to the public (I think...), and if you stay on the trail next to the river, west of the golf course, it eventually brings you to a gate that was open at the time of writing. I marked the rough location on the map.
Another area to explore is east of the river and village, the mountain and forrest up to the Mirador del Pardo (marked on the map). Very few people seem to be there, a bit hilly, but another nice extension.