Thursday, September 14, 2017

Where are you running?


Some runners can be SO predictable.

Are you one of them? Do you find yourself running the same routes all the time? Or do you try to mix it up once in awhile?


Back in the early days, I was one of those predictable runners. I had a favorite route that I ran all the time...always the same distance... and (probably) always at the same easy pace. No hills, no speed intervals, no change of terrain.  Boring. Blah. Blech.

It definitely was a comfort zone thing. We all know what happens in comfort zones, right? N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Not only is it hard to make much progress, it's not good for your body to do the same thing all the time. We grow (in strength, endurance and spirit) by switching things up a bit. Running a variety of distances, training at different speeds, and changing the terrain underfoot all benefit a runner's fitness.

Thankfully, my eagerness to grow as a runner (and my boredom with the same old route) got the best of me. I now have several routes that I utilize in my training. All serve different purposes, and all have their own individual nuances. Care to hear more?

I give you Kim's Top Five Favorite Running Routes

The #5at5 route
I have mentioned this route a time or two (or several). As the name implies, it's a 5-mile route that I usually run at 5:00 a.m. with my friend (and main training partner), Barb. It's a looped route that goes out to our middle school and back to my driveway. There are a few rolling hills (which aren't as noticeable in the fall/winter/early spring due to the darkness), but most of the route is pretty flat. Barb and I run this route a lot, even when we're not in training, because it's a perfect distance and has very limited traffic (especially in the early hours of the morning).
One of the many #5at5 runs with Barb
My old standby-2.25-miler
This is the route that started it all....the route that I ran all the time when I was a new runner and didn't know to do things differently. It's a flat route, and the 2.25-mile distance is a convenient quick workout if I don't have a lot of time. It goes around part of the nearby college campus, so it is well-lit in the early morning or evening hours. And a bonus? All of those lampposts are great markers for intervals or Fartleks. Sometimes I run an extra block out and back, which ups the total distance to 2.5 miles (if I'm wanting a more "rounded" number).

Along the 2.25-mile route
The 1.5-miler around campus
There is a loop around the college campus I run (and walk) frequently which is exactly one mile in distance. The caveat is that it's a couple of blocks from my house, so adding those extra blocks (to and from) makes it a 1.5 mile adventure. I can also do as many loops around that 1-mile perimeter as I want and not have to worry about looking like a lost idiot because with the constant motion of students coming and going, no one is going to notice me coming around for a second (or third) lap. I know, pure genius...right?
Plenty of light on the college campus
The 2-mile quick & easy (hilly) route
I live in a somewhat hilly neighborhood. Every run from my driveway either starts or ends on an incline. The block I live on is exactly a half mile in distance around the perimeter, and that will net me two good hills (one on the "front" side, and another on the "back"). Across the street from my house is another block, but it's a little bit smaller...it takes three complete laps to get a mile in distance. But, that little block also has a hill on its front and back sides, and they are on a steeper  incline. Thus, I can run alternating loops around these two blocks...starting with the small block, then doing a loop around the big block, then the small one (again), and the big one (again), and ending with a final lap around the small one. This little excursion takes me approximately 20 minutes, is two miles in cumulative distance, and there are 10 hills conquered in that short amount of time. This little route gives me a lot of bang for my (running) buck!  It's perfect in the dark or in inclement weather, or any time I don't feel like venturing too far from my house.
At the base of my driveway...with the little block (and one of its hills) behind me
The lake
And, finally, the lake! We have a beautiful lake on the southwest area of town. It has a partial wooded path, some fine gravel, and some paved concrete...all culminating in an approximate mile loop around its perimeter. Often times, I'll drive over and just run a few laps around the lake. Other times, I'll run the two miles from my house, do a couple laps around the lake, and run back home. It's a perfect setting if I'm not feeling like committing to a long run or don't know how far I want to run...I can start out with a lap or two around the lake, and stop whenever I want. It's also a perfect location for a group run because runners of all abilities and paces can run "together" and not have to worry about being left behind.
on part of the wooded path at the lake
Bottom line, I like  variety. I have learned that my body benefits when I'm constantly changing my routes, distances, and terrain. There's no time for plateauing or getting stagnant, right?

What's your running routine like? Do you vary your routes? Got any favorites that you run more often than others?

I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. Please join us!! 



34 comments:

  1. It sounds like we have pretty similar options, and like you I don't like the run the same exact route every day but I have a set of places where i like to run. Its nice to know the distance for those routes so you don't really have to think too much about it!

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    1. Exactly! I seldom take my watch along for these runs because I know the distances and where all the mile marks are. I'm a huge advocate for running just for running's sake ;-)

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  2. I've got a few different options as well! I was just mulling over which route to run for my long run this weekend. I bet you can't wait to get back at it!

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  3. I'mm very unpredictable. All it took was a man calling me and coming after me to realize I needed to be. I've got 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 20 and 22 mile routes. A hilly route (lame cuz we lack hills) and a hill for repeats (also lame). I've also got a 3 mile trail loop right out my door and if I wanna drive 10 minutes I've got trails for days. You need to come run with me one day!

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    1. I agree...being unpredictable is a pretty important thing to consider. There are too many wierdos out there...

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  4. I like how you mix up your routes. I bet you can't wait to get back out there this weekend. Which one are you going to do first??

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    1. I'm still deciding where I"ll run tomorrow...it won't be fast and it certainly won't be far.

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  5. I like changing up my route. When I lived in Charlotte, I ran different routes all the time - some hilly, some not as hilly (but definitely not flat - no such thing there). Here in Charleston, I don't have quite as many options right out of my doorstep like I did in Charlotte, and I don't want to drive somewhere every time I want to run, so I run more of the same routes than I would like. But there are still some nice options (all flat - no hills here!). I miss hills.

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    1. I think it's great to have options...doing the same old routine all the time is not good for my mind or body

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  6. Maybe that is why I am not seeing any results. I run the same boring route all the time. I never incorporate interval training or hill running. But I don't think I would ever enjoy doing 5 at 5. More power to ya!

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    1. ha ha...the #5at5 kind of blossomed all on its own. It's a great option when a short run seems to be too short, and I don't have the mindset for a long run. DO you ever run your route in reverse? Sometimes just running a route in a counter-clockwise pattern (if you usually run it clockwise, for example), will give you some variance because the slope of the road may differ slightly on each side.

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  7. I vary my routes but I have a select few where I know the distance. As a result, I don't have to worry about wearing a watch.

    Where will you take your first run???

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    1. I seldom take my watch with me for any of these routes because they're not long enough for me to worry about my pace or speed.

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  8. I'm so excited for you! Have you decided which route you'll complete your first comeback run on?

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    1. Still debating on tomorrow's route. I'm gonna start out going maybe two miles (?), and do some run/walk intervals to see how my knee feels (it's been kind of dormant for the past couple months) ;-)

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  9. It is nice you have an area and a way that has some street lights. ANd I so love love the less traffic in the morning. That quiet is nice.
    I have so many different routes around my neighborhood, I run a little different each time it seems. I do have my flatter areas I frequent in the summer because hills and heat do not work for me lol

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    1. I have a lot of other routes that I didn't mention, but these are the ones I use the most. I sometimes vary the turns on these, but know if I turn left and run a few blocks, I'll need to remember to turn right (eventually) to keep my distance in check.

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  10. I've got a couple normal routes I run around my neighborhood, a 3 mile loop, a 2 mile loop and and out and back. They're all kind of hilly but some are hillier. I try to mix it up with different trails on the weekend at least :)

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    1. Great strategy! I forgot to mention my out and back routes (probably because they're kinda boring LOL), but they are great for "mindless" running.

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  11. Right now I am running a 1.5 mile loop FOUR TIMES in the morning. Just plodding along! I know it sounds really boring but for some reason I need boring right now. There's lots of other routes I can do, and as soon as I feel like it, I'll change it up.

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    1. I agree, sometimes "boring" is legit. If nothing else, it helps build mental strength ;-)

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  12. I use my neighborhood because it's what's available. It's hard to get out of my neighborhood at rush hour, and I like being able to head out from home. I will, sometimes, drive to Boulder and use the creek path when I'm bored with my daily routes.

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    1. Fortunately, my town is not too grandiose (population 10K), so we don't have crazy, rush hour traffic like a bigger city would have. What we do have,however, are the locals who never use their turn signals (because they assume everyone knows where everyone else is going), so that's a FUN reality LOL

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  13. I absolutely like to change things up, but I also spend a LOT of time running in my neighborhood . . . YAWN! Usually it's just a time thing.

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    1. I agree, time is a definite factor. I've been doing the "hilly 2-miler" a lot recently when I only have time for about 30ish minutes (for walking). It's a good burn, and really gets the cardio going.

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  14. You've got some great loops near you! I would definitely run the 1-mile at the school on repeat!!

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    1. The 1-miler on the college campus is fun...every time I come around for another loop, I see a different crowd.

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  15. I definately vary my routes... I've heard it is safer that way (if you have a stalker), plus variety is the spice of life :-)

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    1. Good point, none of us want stalkers...but running/walking the same route at the same time everyday can be a recipe for trouble (regarding safety).

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  16. I try to mix it up, but lately I have been running the same route for convenience! However, I'm going to start mixing it up again :-)

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  17. I have 3 running paths that I use depending on what type of run I am doing. I run by my house, on the trail, and along the lakefront.

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  18. I try to vary routes but it's usually the same ones over and over. I sometimes do like to travel/drive somewhere new to explore. Wish I was a morning person to do 5at5!

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  19. Since we moved I have been varying my running routes a ton. My new love with running is to explore explore explore! I am sure I will find my favorites though!

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