Where do I run?
There are as many answers to the above question as the number of you reading this post. Some people think the only place to run is on a track. As a high school track runner, I can tell you that the idea of running circles, counting circles, losing track of the number of circles, and looking at the same scenery round and round did not interest me one bit at this point of my life. In my year and a half of running consistently, I have run on a high school track zero times. Of course, some of that has to do with the fact that our local high school keeps the gate padlocked, but still…circles.
So if I don’t run on the track, where do I go to run?
- City park: I have a park that I go to on a regular basis during the week after I drop the kids off from school. There is a paved path that has marked quarter miles. The scenery may not change much, but there are always people there and I can change the route up by starting in different points.
- Neighborhoods: I don’t live in one, but I venture out from the park and run through some of the surrounding neighborhoods for my longer runs. As an added bonus, I have discovered some beautiful homes and new landscaping ideas that I would have not noticed in a car.
- My road: We live in the country, and the road can get busy at certain times of the day. The speed limit is 50 mph, but that seems to be more of a guideline for people. If I need to run some hills, then my road is the place to be. It’s seldom that I run on my road, though, for two reasons:1) The further I run away from the house, the further I have to run back. 2) We live at the top of a hill. No matter what, I have to run uphill to get home.
When considering where to run, look for safety first. If you don’t feel safe, don’t run there. Here are a few guidelines I stick to based on my experience.
Well-lit. The few times I’ve needed to start my run before the sun comes up, I make sure I run at the park where streetlights cover part of the path. There are usually some other people out there walking dogs or getting their early morning run in.
Light vehicle traffic. During marathon training, my long runs began to coincide with garage sale times. I learned to move my training away from certain streets to avoid the traffic. There are roads that become too busy to cross after a certain time of day. Also consider that you wouldn’t want to run near a school during drop off or pick up time.
Terrain. My son likes to run trails; I do not. I worry about tripping over a root or rock. I like to focus on my writing ideas or my pace, not constantly look for a landing for my feet. If you like the challenge of a trail, they’re out there. I stick to the roads or paved areas. The closest I come to running a trail is when I move off my road (into the ditch) to let a car pass.
Even with these guidelines, another precaution I follow is to carry pepper spray. I don’t always carry it with me, but for those less traveled roads when I’ve encountered loose [big] dogs, I’m prepared. I also carry my ID and phone for long runs when I don’t have a predetermined route.
I hope this gives you some new ideas on where to run. For the next post, I’ll cover the last “w” and talk about finding the time to run.