We all have our favorites, don't we?
There are favorite foods to eat. Most of us have a favorite pair of shoes. Some have a favorite color (and some of us have several).
Many of us are runners, and we have our favorite running routes.
Back in the early days, though, 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?
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 (or several!) out and back, which can up the total distance to 2.5-3 miles (if I'm wanting a more "rounded" number).
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 one of the hills across from my driveway|
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 (that is, when classes are in session), no one is going to notice me coming around for a second (or third) lap. I know, pure genius...right?
The 5K route
There's a 5K route that gets utilized for almost every 5K race that happens in my town...and it goes right by my house. There's a segment (about a full mile) that is on a county road, which has two fantastic hills! Depending on the direction I'm going, the hills either have a graduation incline (with a steep decline) or vice-versa. The remaining two miles are on fairly flat roads in town (except for the segment that goes by my house).
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).
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 the gravel part of the trail|
It's anyone's guess which route I'll run most days (except for the #5at5 mornings). Since I'm not training for anything specific at the moment (thank you COVID-19), often times I do a combination of these routes to vary the distance and terrain. I usually don't need my Garmin, either, because I know these routes well enough that I won't have to track my distance.
What's your running routine like? Do you have a slew of favorite routes that you run frequently? Or, do you find yourself running a few favorites more often than others?
Some of the text and images in this post appeared in a previous post.
Nice to get to know your running routes, Kim! I think my favourite would be the one with the lake.ReplyDelete
I have always wondered what your 5k track looks like. So you had to deal with an incline as well on your Monday trials! Awesome!
Do you have to deal with a lot of traffic lights on your routes?
Actually, the 1.5-miler around campus was the route I used for all those 5K trials. I ran three laps of the 1-mile portion, so it was flat (just a bit boring after three continuous laps LOL). I have traffic lights (and much more traffic) when I head downtown, but I don't run there much unless I'm passing through.Delete
I love that you can get to your routes without driving. I can do a "hilly" route close to home, but it's not my favorite. All my favorite routes I have to drive too and that makes it inconvenient at times. -MReplyDelete
I'm really thankful I don't "have" to drive anywhere if I don't want to. I have driven to other towns for group runs, and obviously for races, but it's nice being able to keep it local ;-)Delete
Ah the good old standby route. When I was single there was really only one good running route in my neighborhood and it was flat, flat, flat. I ran that route so many times that I got completely burned out on it. Where I live now there are so many routes that I can get to from my front door, so I'm always mixing things up. I feel like there are so many things that I know about my town through running.ReplyDelete
It's easy to get burned out. With no races in the past (almost) four months, these local streets are getting pretty mundane, even when I do my best to mix 'em up for variety.Delete
I love that you have a few different routes that you use nearby depending on what type of run you're doing - I'm the same way, lolReplyDelete
But of course...that's what #KimTwins do LOLDelete
It's nice to have familiar routes that we know really well! I have been running pretty close to home these days because when I run with the stroller I don't want to cross any busy streets. It gets kind of boring but there are still a few different "route" I take.ReplyDelete
I agree, busy streets are a nuisance! I don't have that issue (much) since I run so early, but on occasion the traffic does get a little annoying.Delete
I also stuck to the same route when I started but I quickly grew bored of that and started venturing out a bit more! Although I appreciate my flat terrain, I also would have liked a few more hilly areas like you have! That adds such a nice dynamic, not to mention how much stronger you get with a few inclines thrown in!ReplyDelete
I appreciate my hills, though that darn one (that I live on) can be a nemesis at times.Delete
I definitely like variety! I don't have standards routes. Seriously, ever! Even running in my own neighborhood, I just decide on the run where I want to be (and sometimes adjust, like today), when someone is going to interfere with where I thought I might run.ReplyDelete
Of course one of my favorites is to run by the lake. :)
I haven't been out to the lake much this year. It's so calm and peaceful, and there are numerous squirrels for entertainment ;-)Delete
During the lockdown, I was forced to run from home and discover new routes for my walks and runs. Most are super hilly. I prefer to run our our trail with the mile markers. It's always nice to get a glimpse into where others run! thanks for linkingReplyDelete
I know your neighborhood is hilly! I would love to have a trail for running. We have the bike trail, but it's really hilly and kind of boring for running (unless you like corn fields).Delete
I also have a set of regular routes. I try to mix it up in my neighborhood and surrounding areas, depending on time and what I want to accomplish.ReplyDelete
It's great to have numerous options!Delete
I also have my favorite routes. My son turned me onto a 5 mile loop (that I now call "Michael's loop") and also showed me how I can add miles in increments of 1 mile. At this point, I have getting specific distances in to a science!ReplyDelete
Ha ha, that's great! Often times, I add an extra loop around the college campus (since it's so close to my house), which adds on a bonus mile ;-)Delete
I love that you have different routes that are still close to your house. Those are the ones I like because of convenience.ReplyDelete
Thank you for linking up with us!
I'm just not in the routine of having to drive anywhere to run (unless it's for a race). My time is limited, so I'm glad I don't have to burn any of that in my car LOLDelete
Very cool to learn about your go-to routes! I get VERY bored easily with running routes so I love to have a few options. My favorites were when I was marathon or half marathon training, I had some reliable routes that I'd take straight from my house, but one of the roads is closed due to construction and it's really thrown me off because I have to detour. I tend to do a lot of out and backs but I have a few loops that I "created" that have been clutch for longer runs. And my neighborhood is pretty hilly so that helps mix things up too!ReplyDelete
Although I have a lot of routes, of different distances, I do get bored with them. I'm glad to have hills at my disposal, as well. They definitely keep my boredom in check ;-)Delete
Your lake run (and the others) sounds awesome! I have a few favorite routes too. I often string them together when I want to do a longer run. I have a favorite 6.2-miler that starts from the rec center in town and goes out in the countryside, past farms and fields that I love. I must admit, I am looking forward to running it on Sunday while Bill goes golfing! :)ReplyDelete
I love running on wood trails, it's so peaceful!ReplyDelete