Why You Should Change Up Your Running Route
If you enjoy running as an workout, you probably also have a favorite running route. Some of us like our neighborhood street because it’s safe and well-lit, while the rest of us may like to head to our local park to relax and breathe in fresh air. While there’s nothing wrong with knowing your comfort zone, there are many benefits to switching up your training itinerary from time to time. This guide especially for running enthusiasts will explain why it’s important to embrace change.
If you work out in the same place each day, you will become used to each turn, crack and crevice. Since your legs, feet and spine tend to compensate for a given surface over time, your body will begin to adjust itself naturally. This often leads to physical imbalances. You may not notice this phenomenon while you’re running at first, but you usually will if you pay closer attention.
Some athletes find that they lean forward slightly on certain parts of their track or shift weight more dramatically on different areas of their favorite trail. When the limbs or torso undergo repetitive types of strain, knee injuries, ankle sprains and back pain can happen. By varying your schedule, you will help to create a counterbalance. Every muscle group will begin to perform more evenly, which will help to reduce the chance of suffering orthopedic ailments due to overuse.
Running enthusiasts know that every competitive race is different. The technique or muscle group that helped you win your last half marathon may not be the same as the one that will put you in first place for your fall 5K. If you train every day in the same place, you will cause certain muscles to become stronger than others. If you don’t find an equilibrium across your body, you will reduce strength in certain areas.
Varying your sessions will keep critical muscles like your thighs, calves and glutes in top shape. When combined with your free weight and body weight training, you’ll have enough muscular strength to tackle steep hills and turn on the power at the end of a tight race.
If you’ve been on the same running route for an extended amount of time, you’ll find it becomes easier. This is exactly why you should switch up your routine. While doing the same workout becomes less challenging, it also decreases your endurance. You may feel like you’re the champion of your community athletic track or gym treadmill, but you could also be surprised when you perform poorly in a dirt or hill race. Heading to a few different places each week will increase the effectiveness of your workouts.
Preparing for Races
Most running enthusiasts dream of competing in a picturesque, high altitude race or a coastal half marathon. While it’s most important to have fun, part of the dream may be winning the race or running your personal best. You might be a leading competitor in your local 5Ks, but it’s helpful to remember that you may not be as experienced in hill running, trail relays and sand competitions. The best way to ensure you’re happy with your time is to vary the places you work out – which is why switching up your running route can make you a better competitor.
While humans are creatures of habit, getting into a rut can have a negative impact on our mental and emotional state. If you begin to dread running, it’s a signal that it’s time to switch things up. Heading to new sites and developing a new running route will keep you from getting bored from your routine.
Should it become difficult to get up and work out on the weekends, consider traveling to the lake or ocean. Spend an hour training by the cool, lapping water to help you clear your mind and realize new running inspiration.
If it’s a newfound challenge to get up in the morning to spurt around your neighborhood, get in the car and travel to the gym or a beautiful outdoor site. The change in scenery will help you make new running buddies, discover an improved appreciation of your surroundings and give you a new gratitude for your community.
Adjusting for the Season
It may not be possible to run in the same place in the winter as you do during the summer. Alternating your workout spots will help you feel more comfortable during each season. Try a combination of gym treadmills and indoor tracks when it’s frigid or snowing. Venture out to a shaded trail or park to better enjoy the summertime mornings. A seasonal strategy allows you to enjoy the best natural features of your town or city while protecting yourself from cold- and heat-related illnesses. This prevents health issues when the weather becomes extreme.
Having the Best Running Experience
While you’re changing things up, don’t forget your gear. Create a phone reminder or a print to-do list to remind you to take your running supplies to your new destination. No matter where you go, you need adequate hydration. A water belt or handheld water bottle will allow you to keep up with your fluid intake both indoors and outdoors.
If you’re going on an extended run, take a running hydration backpack. These lightweight, durable packs provide you with liters of water storage and also have pockets to hold your phone and nutrition. If it’s sunny outside, don’t forget a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Warm outdoor workout sites call for shirts, shorts and wicking socks, while cooler climates may require a beanie and a jacket. Check your weather forecast before you head out. Bring multiple clothing items if necessary.
Now Change up your running route
There are so many reasons to adjust your running routine from time to time. Find a strategy that works for you. Some enthusiasts enjoy spending their week in a few different places, while others save their most unique sites for the weekend. Others design plans depending on their upcoming races. The most important thing is to work out all of your muscle groups, prevent injury and enjoy each moment you spend training. The more you get to know yourself and your running style, the happier and more accomplished you’ll be as an athlete.
Want to know more?
If you’ve always wanted to experience a runner’s high, we’ve made it easy and broken down the complexities for you. Click on the link to find out how you can achieve one yourself.