How to pick a route
First, a little victory dance:
That’s right! For the first month ever, I’ve run more than 100 miles. Thank you, marathon training. There haven’t even been a lot of long runs in there, just a lot of days with a middle-amount of miles.
So, I’ve been having some real route boredom. When I was training for the LA-DU, I biked the same route over and over and over again. I think it helped me do really well for that race, but I can probably go another month before I climb that hill on Ferry Road again.
So that inspired me to write this post: “How to pick a route”
1. Think of places you’ve been in a car that have little or slow moving traffic.
This can be hard if you live in a rural area, but maybe not as hard as you think. I love running around my friend Jen’s neighborhood in Greene because the roads are a little rough so the traffic doesn’t move as fast. And country roads that aren’t byways to other places are THE BEST. You’ll often get great views you never would see from a car. The traffic is sparse, since its only the people who live on that route, so you can move out of the way when a car comes flying by.
If you’re going to go out in the country to try a long run, I recommend riding it in a bike or a car first to make sure that there is a generous shoulder. It would be a bummer to get out there on foot and realize it isn’t safe, have to turn around and cut your run short early. That’s why I often …
2. Look at routes others have used on MapMyRun.com.
I love using this site, even if their app is a little clunky, because its popular and you can find other routes people have done in your area. If someone else has tried it, then you can have a little more confidence that its a safe route than just forging on your own in Google Maps.
You can also measure a new route before you run so you can make sure that the 6 mile run you were planning isn’t accidentally a 10-mile run. (That’s happened to me before. Good thing my husband is really nice about dropping everything on a dime and picking me up.)
3. Find a beautiful destination and run to it.
My favorite routes are ones that take me places. My friends have a run in Brunswick we do every Saturday that takes us to the ocean at the mid-way point. There is something really motivating about running towards something — and then, when we’re heading back, we’re running towards our post-run lattes.
One of my favorite places to run in Lewiston is along East Avenue, by the high school, and then down the bike path behind the high school. (That’s the picture, above). You get to see the whole Lewiston skyline, with city hall and the churches and the Basillica and then the mountains in the background. I love to end on that beautiful view. :)
4. Be safe.
Even though I was facing major route boredom tonight, I have my rules. In the evening, I don’t go on routes that are far out of the public view, like the bike path, or a long solitary road, in case something happens to me and no one is going to come by and see.
In the winter, I would never run anywhere after dark that didn’t have a cleared off sidewalk. It’s just too dangerous. This resulted in a very narrow number of routes I could take if I didn’t get up in the morning to run! But contrary to what most might think, I think the major streets in the city with wide, clear sidewalks (Lisbon Street, Sabattus Street, East Avenue, for example) are much safer, even if there are more trucks and the cars move a bit faster.
So — how do you find routes when you have route boredom?o