Even I get tired of running the same route sometimes. This coming from a girl who ran the 10k in college, which, for those who haven’t had the privilege, is 25 laps on a track. Girl in blue uniform waaaaay out in front of you? No problem, fixate on her, reel her in, and pass her 30 minutes later. Yet sometimes the same old thing, usually comfortable, becomes nauseatingly tedious. No matter how scenic the view, you can’t possibly bear to tread the well-worn path one more time. Sometimes it isn’t even the place, per se, but your runs have been feeling stale and uninspired, and are starting to blur into one another.
Before throwing in the towel, or continuing to beat your head against the wall of [yet another] awfully redundant run, try something different. Anything. If you’ve been running in town, go find some country roads. From flats, look for hills. If manicured lawns are your usual vista, seek out the scrubby and rugged. Simply changing the terrain, whether from pavement to dirt/gravel or the reverse, can refresh your feet and legs.
Of course, in an ideal world we could jet off someplace different and stunning, as often as required. In reality, it really helps to have a running ‘happy place’ — somewhere that never fails to ignite and inspire — yet is reasonably accessible, and which you can keep tucked away in the wings until you really need it. It could be anything, anywhere, from a favorite mountain trail to a treadmill at the swanky gym with a big screen TV. Even flat country roads can be charming, if you don’t run them too often! The key is to keep it underused.
I found a happy running place last weekend, in Steamboat Springs. It’s a 3-hour haul from Denver, so there’s certainly no risk of overuse. Instead, it was nothing more than a short, surreal reminder that even 18 milers can fly by in the right place, with good company. Thank you to the friend (you know who you are!) who so graciously opened her home for us to stay. Thanks to you friends for running with me. Thank you to you, my other friends and readers, many with whom I’ve shared runs in the past. Lots of warm fuzzies and renewed optimism. It’s good to have a happy place!
If you are ever in Steamboat (or even 3 hrs away), check out Strawberry Park. Lovely rustic hot springs, clean and spacious, with pools ranging from lobster-boiler to ice-cube maker. All are excellent.
Proof that it really was winter, despite the picture above. This is literally what I saw when I turned around: