Help make your running endeavors successful by planning a route that will be safe, enjoyable, and effective. There are many questions you should ask yourself when planning a running route, and the answers to these questions will lead to the best path to achieve your goals.
How can I make sure I am safe?
Safety should come first and foremost when planning a running route. The only way to truly determine if a route is safe is to scope it out in your car. It is important to check the potential route out around the same time you plan on running it. Early Sunday mornings are a huge difference from weekday rush hours. When previewing the route, look first for a running space. Sidewalks are great, but a large shoulder will do as well. Assess the amount of traffic. Will the volume and speed of cars make your heart race more than your run? Determine if there are intersections you will need to cross. Are there traffic lights and safe places to cross? And of course, take note of the area in general. Do you feel safe? Are there homes and businesses, or is the area completely isolated?
How long should my route be?
The answer to this question depends on your goals and preferences. If your goal is to just run for one mile at a time, one block, or a park, may be all you need. If you are training for a marathon, you may want to find a longer route so fewer laps are necessary to attain your goal. A common way to find the distance of your route is to track it on your car’s odometer. Another tool is mapmyrun.com. This website allows you to plan your route online, therefore knowing the exact distance. If you already know the area is safe, this is a great tool to determine distance. Additionally, if you own a GPS watch, you may wait until your first run to determine the exact distance.
Do I need to challenge myself?
Runners often resent hills when they are thrown into races, but if your training route encompasses hills you can be ahead
of the game. Working a hill into at least part of your run can do wonders for your fitness.
How can I avoid getting bored?
Not only can your mind get bored, but your body can become bored as well. Try to incorporate planned variations into your route (such as hills). Running your route the opposite direction will also give your mind and body something new to process. Even on your regular route, try to incorporate sprint intervals to keep yourself alert.
Planning a running route is an important process when beginning outdoor run training, and many aspects are unique to the individual. Ask yourself these questions to find the best running route for you.