Changing Up Your Geography Can Help Long Run Struggles
If you run the same location every time you go for a run, try to change things up by changing your geography. Running the same route at the same time does have its benefits. One reason we run the same route every time is for the familiarity and safety of knowing where we are and what might be out of place. For some runners, this is a must, and if you are that type of runner, I won’t try to pry you away from your routine.
Science has shown that changing up a routine habit can cause your neural pathways to expand and grow in different directions. For instance, if you normally run in your neighborhood, instead you could find a local park that has a trail that matches the length of run your training demands. For instances, if your routine is to run in the park, maybe you can run on a track. If you live by a beach you could run on the sand. If you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains, you can participate in trail running.
New Terrain Works New Muscles
By changing up the geography, you’re changing up your physical and mental state by adding new surroundings and stimuli. Your physical body will also experience the change in location due to the change in the terrain, such as running in sand or running more hills than your used to. By changing up the routine, you’re helping your body release from the exact routine which can cause different muscles to work that normally don’t get used in your “go to” routine run locations.
With the modern smartphone, it’s now possible to just start running in any direction with little preparation. When you are done running, you can call someone and give them a waypoint via your smartphone to come pick you up based on a GPS location. Or you can just have Lyft or Uber pick up for a fee and take you back to your starting location. The one drawback to this type of running is that at the end of running you are usually doused in sweat, and the driver might not appreciate you getting in the car after you ran 10 miles.
You can also try running in a circuit or loopback where you run half the distance from your current start point and then when you reach the halfway point you run back to your starting point. I used this technique for all my long runs which led up to my first half marathon race.
If you want to change up the location where you run, you can add an environmental factor in such as running in the rain or snow. I honestly don’t suggest running in either but some people, depending on where they reside, have no other choice. I have run both in the rain and snow, and both require more gear. This gear consists of booties to help keep your feet dry and raincoats or extra layers of clothing to keep the body warm. Sometimes a run in either of these conditions can help you appreciate running in a much more pleasant environment.
You’ve just read an excerpt from my new book, Long Run Hacks.
Book #5 in the series, Beginner to Finisher!
In the meantime, look for my next post in the series, Long Run Struggles For Beginners (Part 4 of 4) – Coming soon.
Scott Morton is the author of, Beginner’s Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3) which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. To sign up for a FREE half marathon training schedule, log sheet, and pace predictor click here.
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