Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Ideal running route

Snowdon offers a challenging running environment

I have been out running for the last 3 mornings and two of those have been over the same route of about 7 miles (takes about 50-55 minutes).  You might think that's boring, especially for someone who likes to try out new trails and footpaths.  Well, I've run this route so many times and I'm still not bored because it's so mixed.  Here's how:

Warming up
My initial warm-up is a little under a mile, through the streets to the edge of town.  This is a reminder to keep the pace down and avoid going too fast.  In reality I often feel stiff and think "I'm never gonna make it round feeling like this".  Loosening and getting the blood circulating well is essential in my view.

There are some hills to tackle.  Each one takes a few minutes.  I've blogged before about the benefits of running up hills (click here) as it really gets me out of breath.

Running downhill is fun.  Best of all is a down hill swoop so I can enjoy the speed.  If it's steep (and one of "my" hills really is) I'm leaning back to slow myself.  I don't really enjoy running down steep hills although I know it is strengthening some part of me!

Interval training
A road with speed bumps has a good purpose for me.  Each bump is about 100m apart and ideal for interval training.  In other words as I pass one, I start sprinting as fast as I can until I reach the next bump.  Then I slow right down to a gentle jog for the next 100m and then sprint again.

There's a minor road which takes me through some woods.  I like this as it's really feeling like I'm out in the countryside.  There is grass growing in the middle of the road as it's hardly ever used.  I love the moist damp smell from the trees after it has rained, so refreshing.

Off road
Next is an off-road trail for a mile or so.  This is a "technical" bit of running with rocks, gullies, puddles where I need to look where I'm going and concentrate.  Also the uneven nature of the path means the muscles around my ankles are having to work harder in keeping me balanced.  I appreciate the softer ground often.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the run comes next, opening out on to the top of am escarpment with stunning views in to the far distance.  Although it is then a mostly flat path, it is suitable for easing back and being inspired by the wonderful views; different every time.

Never a disciplined "cool down" for me!
Following that is a gentle decline back into a built up area and about a mile or so to home.  When I get close to our home, I often sprint as fast as I can so I burst through the door panting.  That's just to make sure I get that rush of endorphins to set me up for the day!

So why is this route important for me?
It combines so many different kinds of running for me.  These add to the variety and gives me a better training session.  If you're new to running, I can recommend doing something like this if you can.  Naturally some areas are flatter than others, or perhaps more urban or rural.  In spite of that, it is worth the effort to design a varied course for yourself - if you ever get bored with it, try running the opposite way around and work out a few variations to add on some other distances

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