Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Running Routes that produce Results

The other day my sister was telling me about her 13 mile training run and the route she normally runs. As I listened to her explain where all she ran, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped.  She runs on some of most unsafe roads and her normal route includes the steepest hill in town.

Our running routes certainly could not be more different.  I choose my route based on safety and for that reason I only have about 3 or 4 "regular" routes that I run when I'm at home.  I've noticed that the pace (and quality) of my run is based largely on the route I run it on.


For instance, my island is the closest route to my home so it's the one I visit more often but I rarely have what I would call a "fast" run there.  It is a very safe route because there are no cars but because it is an island, the route is circular with lots of twists and turns and I find it hard to pick up speed when I 'm running in a circle.  A majority of  the route is not paved so it is a bit harder to run on the earth's surfaces (I think). Also, this island is not flat. There are no hills but just enough inclines in some places that make you exude a bit more energy.  If I need a long run, I don't go to the island.

My long runs are always at the rail trail. This trail is a little further from my house but it is so worth the drive. The trail is completely flat and is a straight shot. It's a combination of surfaces and I've had many "fast runs" here.  This is probably my favorite route and where I have my "best" runs! A plus for running on this trail is that there is a Starbuck at the end of it (or beginning depending on which way you go).

When I don't have time to drive to the rail trail, I drive into town (or sometimes I run there from the island).  This is a pretty safe route because I am running on the side walk that is on the river side, which means I don't have to stop for any cars.  I've also noticed that I can pick up speed when I run on the sidewalks. Sidewalks feel so good to run on after running many miles on the trails.  I remember doing a 10K PR on this route!  It can certainly be a pretty fast route, but there are certain things about it that can slow me down. For one, I have to watch my footing in certain areas because the sidewalk is not always even. Also, if I do more than 6.2 miles, I more than likely have to cross the street. If I'm on the other side of the street I now have to watch for cars and potentially stop at red lights. In turn, all things that add time to my run.  
Do you have routes that produce different result in your running? -M



37 comments:

  1. Some routes that I run on are hillier than others, so because of that, I'd definitely say that they produce different results. I try to focus on using the flatter routes for my shorter weekday runs and use the hillier trail for my longer runs to help build my endurance.

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    1. Ha, I am just the opposite, I make sure if I do a hill it's on a short run!!!

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  2. absolutely! I have a regular 3 and 4 mile loop in my neighborhood that I use for regular runs. Then there's a 6.5 mile "hill loop" that is challenging. My long runs are done with a running group on Saturdays and our coach picks different routes around the city. We all hate him when he picks a hilly route but we thank him during the races!

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    1. Do you like not knowing what the route is until you run it with your group?

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  3. I absolutely have different routes--I have my neighborhood loops, which I usually run when I need to be close to home--for a variety of reasons. For long runs, I have a few places that I can run. Some are flat, some are hilly, and one is limestone. I've got a hill for hill training. And the retention pond with the 2 mile loop that works great for speed work!

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  4. For the most part, I try to avoid routes where I have to worry about cars. There are a lot of paved trails around here so that helps. And the traffic in my neighborhood isn't too bad. I ran on an unpaved crushed gravel trail this past weekend and I could definitely feel the difference in my legs.

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    1. You are lucky that you have lots of paved trails to choose from!

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  5. I have a bunch of different go-to routes, but it's been harder since I moved out of the city. I said I would do more trail running out here so I wouldn't have to worry about cars but I have gotten kind of lazy about driving there. I feel like there is no avoiding hills where I live!

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  6. I do have a couple of different routes that I run on and it just depends on the day, how much time I have, and the distance. I have to admit...none of my routes involve hills or inclines though!

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  7. The sidewalks are just too hard on me to run on a regular basis. I usually run on a paved trail with my group I like the mix of hills and flat.

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    1. I don't get to run on sidewalks very often so when I do I think it is a nice change!

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  8. I have a couple routes in my neighborhood that I can do anywhere from 2.5 to 5 miles (maybe more since they just installed a sidewalk on a busier street). My neighborhood has a couple decent hills. My long runs on the weekend are usually in the city (where you ran with us). We have so many routes but all of them deal with traffic and lights which can be a pain. My favorite 10 miler has this huge hill to go down and then up. Even though I walk it, I love that hill. I enjoy having hills on my training runs (well sort of). I just know if I can do hills in training then I can defiantly do a flat Disney race. :) I'll be doing that route for the first time since Dopey training on Saturday and I'm so looking forward to it. It's my favorite route.
    @heatherlas

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    1. I think even the route I ran with you was challenging..lol

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  9. This is such a discussion for me & Ricky when I go run outside - my road is hilly & curvy - great for training - but SOOO unsafe for running. I go to a local school that is flat & safer, but it is out of the way & feels creepy sometimes. I even get a little creeped out parks when they are empty. Sometimes I just prefer my treadmill. I've turned into a scare-dy cat

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  10. I do. I have hilly. I have long route. I have short routes. I have flat ones to do intervals on. I don't like running the same routes all the time; however, I have friends that run the same multiple times a week. I run in the early morning. Thankfully I live in a "safe" town; however, at night if I'm driving through town for some reason, I ask myself what I'm thinking when I'm running in some areas alone in the dark! haha!

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    1. Haha, when I drive I often see people running at night and I ask myself "why"?? That is so unsafe. Apparently they think they are safe though.

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  11. I do have my standard routes, which are now around the high school. We don't have many running trails and if we do, they cross traffic. I loved running trails in Boulder because they all went under the streets and I didn't have to stop and wait for traffic.

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  12. Did your sister say why she runs on the unsafe roads? it sounds scary!

    We have 3 routes, and we classify them as Hilly, super hilly and Hell Hilly. In Central PA there is tons of hills, and when training for races here, we always want to be ready to handle any hill that is thrown our way.

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  13. Apparently she thinks she is safe. Her route would scare me..lol
    Fortunately I really have to go out of my way to fin hills to run as they aren't that plentiful here.

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  14. Apparently she thinks she is safe. Her route would scare me..lol
    Fortunately I really have to go out of my way to fin hills to run as they aren't that plentiful here.

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  15. Super interesting topic! Absolutely I choose different routes based on what I feel like that day. My favorite is the Chicago lakefront path, but getting there involves first navigating through areas with a TON of traffic, stoplights, etc. On many days I don't feel like dealing with that, so I'll pick a route closer to home just because it's more convenient. Trail running is no joke, either. I ran my first semi-technical trail race a few years back and couldn't believe how good it felt to run on a sidewalk afterwards. Trails feel like quicksand!

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  16. Definitely! I have certain routes for longer runs vs. shorter runs. Also have "hilly" routes too!

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  17. I have set routes depending on what I am looking for in a run (usually I'm looking for no hills, LOL). Over the years, I've changed some of my routes because the traffic has gotten heavier and the road unsafe; mostly I'm on a sidewalk if I'm near a busier road.

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  18. I have a few different routes to keep me interested, and some are better for different kinds of runs. There's one bridge I drive to that I try to incorporate into most of my runs because I know it helps me build strength and get faster. I always choose routes with streetlights if I'm running after dark or before sunrise. Some of my routes are so by rote that I run them faster than any others, because I don't even have to think about them. So yes, depending on what my run needs, I switch it up!

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  19. my typical route is pretty flat with an incline but I have upped my game on my normal long run route throwing in some hills and long inclines and it really has helped with my running. I am too chicken to try out trail running!

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  20. I definitely think it is important to mix up your routes and time of day for safety issues. You never know if someone might be stalking you. I also try to avoid traffic, but it is pretty hard where I live.

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  21. I have been running mostly in my neighborhood, but that only works if the race I am training for is flat! Otherwise, I must venture onto some back roads so I can get in some hills!

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  22. I do! I can run 4 or 5 miles in my neighborhood then I am bored- if I go out of the neighborhood then I have lights and traffic to deal with. I do love driving to Lakeland and it is 3 miles around the lake- so you decide on the laps- great speed times there!

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  23. Yes! My neighborhood routes are varying degrees of hilly. The routes near work are mostly flat. The routes on the bike path are hilly in one direction and flat in the other. I try to mix them up so I can get a variety of runs in!

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  24. I typically run at night, so a lot of times I just stick to the treadmill to be safe. When I lived in Miami I would run around the UM campus since it was always well lit and populated. Although, I had to cross a major road to get there and it always reminded me of a game of frogger! It's so nice you have a few different routes you can run!

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  25. Oh ya, I have several routes that I use. Because I run alone, I mix it up and never become predictable for safety reasons. So each week is different. But I have roughly 6-8 different courses that range between 5-12 miles that I can always add several more miles to them easily if I am feeling good. But quite often I get bored an like new routes, so quite often I will just go run wherever I want and see new things. The only draw back of that is not knowing ahead of time which dogs are going to try and chase me down and try to kill me, LOL LOL

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  26. I usually run in heavy populated locations (safety reasons). I do find myself with alot of "flat" routes, would like to rotate a few more hillier routes. I know it will help me improve.

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