When you first start running you may begin to ask where you should run. There are so many options. Does it really make a difference? This will obviously vary based on where you live. Some people will have access to more running location options than others. Overall, your running location is a matter of personal preference but there are a few important things to consider.
When decided on a location to run, safety should always be the most important factor. When you think about running at a certain location, you should ask yourself if you feel safe. Sometimes when I’m traveling and I’m unfamiliar with the area, I will try to get a sense of the safety in the area before I venture out for an outdoor run, especially alone.
If you’re running on a road with traffic, it is important to consider how pedestrian-friendly the location is. Some places have sidewalks, clearly marked pedestrian areas and stop lights. If a location does not have a sidewalk or shoulder and has very heavy traffic, it may be a good idea to look at other running locations.
Also, at night it is a good idea to wear some sort of safety gear. I recommend, at a minimum, wearing a reflective vest. You can also get some cool vests that light up, as well as head lamps that make it easy for cars to spot you.
When committing to a running training plan, one of the most important things is finding ways to have the runs fit into your schedule. So to this point, accessibility of the running location is an important factor.
If I am trying to fit a 45 minute run into my schedule before work, I will try to find an accessible location that I can get to quickly. I wouldn’t drive an hour away to a cool trail because that would result in a lot of wasted time. You can look into running locations that are close to your house or your place of work, and it will make it a lot more convenient and easy to fit the runs into your schedule.
There are so many different types of terrain to consider when thinking about where you run. Should you try to find a location that is flat or is it ok to run on hills? It’s not typically realistic to cut out hills completely, as most places have at least a few hills.
Also, hills are important and helpful for all types of runners. Hills promote an efficient running form, improve endurance with low muscle stress, and increase strength. It’s a good idea to incorporate some hill running into your workouts, and it can also help you to become a better runner and build mental strength!
When you think about the locations you can run, you have quite a few surface types to choose from. Concrete, gravel, dirt, grass, sand, blacktop, trails, treadmill, etc. But which one is the best for running?
As a general rule of thumb, healthy runners should strive to vary the surface type to help avoid injury and improve strength and balance. Try to mix it up by running on some harder surfaces and softer surfaces.
Sometimes running the same route every single time can be a bit boring. For me, a fun and interesting running route is very important. Having a change of scenery every now and then is a nice way to add variety and keep things interesting. It can also be a nice way to explore different areas of your town or city. Googling different trails or parks in the area is a great way to come up with some new location ideas.
Short on options? Try running your regular running route backwards! This way it feels like a new route and helps you to see things from a different perspective!
What is your favorite place to run?
Are there any other factors you consider when choosing where to run?
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