I always said I thought it was ridiculous to drive somewhere to work out. I have streets and sidewalks all around me, right outside my front door. Why on earth would I get in the car and travel to find OTHER streets and sidewalks? Absurd.
Absurd until I started a weekly pilgrimage to a local bridge to work on some hill training. It was a good change from all the flat streets and the new scenery was refreshing.
So traveling a little ways for elevation became an acceptable thing to do, but that was it.
I really should learn to never say never.
I was baby-sitting overnight for a friend, who lives in a neighborhood that is well-laid out for running. While I was packing for the night, on a whim I decided to include my running gear. And after I dropped the kids off at school that morning, I took advantage of the new streets to run a pretty incredible route. Not only was it a nice seven-ish mile distance, but I was treated to beautiful shaded paths, towering pine trees, and even little ponds full of lily pads. I loved every second of it, and even though it’s a bit of a drive from my house, I am considering going back on the regular.
The thought of going back to my normal routes kind of filled me with a little bit of dread, so for my next training run, I drove to a neighborhood on a golf course. Beautiful landscaping, small rolling hills, great shade and even wide paths for stretching afterwards. Phenomenal. The miles flew by, too, which is always a plus in my book.
And then my friend invited me to run with her in our historic downtown.
I agreed mostly because it would be good practice for the St. Augustine 10K I was running, but when I got out there, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it sooner. So much to see, so many cool streets to explore, so easy to lose yourself in the moment and forget about the actual run. Another keeper route.
I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to go back to the surrounding neighborhoods. Fortunately, there are some great locations nearby through which I can rotate, and I think it’s been doing wonders for my running, both mentally and physically. I also like how it’s making me feel more flexible in my training, which is probably a healthier approach for me.
Of course, another benefit is all the great pictures I get to take. I still haven’t gotten over my love of photographing all the cool things I see during my training (and in my upcoming race report, I’m going to share with you the restraint it took to not stop when I saw one of the most awesome sights ever).
Running has gone from being something of a duty or chore to something I look forward to doing again. Hopefully, the trend continues.
Do you stick to the same routes or do you travel to more scenic destinations for your training runs?
Where is your favorite place to run?