Today’s blog is from Kate Carter, who is currently training for the Valencia Marathon in December.
photo credit: Rich Maciver / Nike
Here’s the thing about running: it can, just sometimes, get boring. It’s not something I will often admit, and I’ll certainly never admit it if asked for advice by a beginner or someone aiming at a big goal, so don’t go telling everyone I said so. But even the most committed runner, constrained by where they live or the hours they must run in, will find themselves occasionally just unable to face the same old pavement slog or treadmill sufferfest.
Fortunately, there is a simple antidote to this: find a new route. Sometimes that might involve something as seemingly silly or small scale as reversing the route of your normal run. But by far the best antidote is running in completely new territory. Try taking a train to a new park or stretch of canal. And best of all, arriving in an exciting new destination, getting a good night’s sleep, then waking up and pulling on your trainers to explore the streets around you.
Running in terra incognita certainly requires you to be more alert, and to be more aware of your surroundings. For safety, of course, but also for navigation. Of course, nowadays you can simply take your smartphone with its handy map features and download one of Holiday Inn’s routes directly to it.
What I certainly have found is the unexpected. If it’s a busy part of town or time of day, you’ll probably deliberately head to quieter streets or parks that might not have been on your daily itinerary, allowing you to see a side of that city or town you would never have come across if you’d stuck to the guidebook.
And it also helps to build a mental map of where you are. On family holidays to new cities, I’ll often announce “The cathedral / museum / park is that way.” My kids will always ask “How on Earth do you know that?” and it’s because I’ve already explored the area on a run.
There’s no better way to orientate yourself than by running – it’s sightseeing and route reccing at speed. And, of course, you look up. Not down at the guide book or the smartphone (or at least I hope not, you’ll only run smack into a lamppost and hurt yourself that way) but up at your new surroundings. You’ll see more of them, get the endorphins flowing for the day, and arrive back in time for a buffet breakfast and the smug glow of someone who has not only had their daily exercise dose, but knows exactly where they are going next …