The Joy of Running - Part Two Exploration
Often times we gravitate to familiar places to run because of logistics,and lack of time. When pressed for time, it is easier to run the same course that you always run, because you are familiar with the course, and know how long it takes to complete. While this is very predicable, it may also become boring in a short time.
I like to add variety in my running selection. If I have a course that I run a lot, I might reverse the direction on occasion. When the direction is reversed on a familiar course, it actually becomes a new course. Up hills, are now down hills. The sun, or wind in your face is now at your back. If you have a course that you run a lot, try running the same course, starting and finishing from a different point on the course.
Exploration of new areas to run can improve your overall experience and enhance the joy of running. If you are a road runner, you might enjoy taking your run to the trails. Off road running has a potential for abundant visual stimulation. In addition to being interesting, running in the woods offers protection from the sun and the wind.
When I run off road, I'm less interested in how fast I am running and more interested in the surroundings. Generally when running off road, I seem to be more focused on the beauty of nature,
the variation in topography, and where I am about to put each foot down.
Parks are great places to run. With a quick google search, you'll find lots of options for City, County, State, and National Parks. Most parks have walking and running trails that are marked, turn by turn. Often times there are also good maps near the park entrance.
When running in an unfamiliar place, I suggest always using a map. If there is no map available, it might be more safe to run an "out and back" course. Run out a few miles, then make a u-turn and retrace your path, running back to your starting area. Also before starting your trail run, it is a good idea to let a friend or family member know where you are running,
and when you will return. Upon completing your run, call your friend or family member to let them know that you have arrived safely.
Next week we will talk about different kinds of trails to run, and the running gear that will be helpful for trail running.