Excellent, we have a plan and a goal and the next step is to get making some routes. I may be a geek but I actually really enjoy this part about running. Running is freedom…..you can go absolutely anywhere you want and you can make it as easy or as hard as you want depending what you want to get out of it. You can go exploring places you’ve never been before and discover some stunning places….for me out the fells I find some awesome places and scenery that I otherwise would never have seen. You can even go crazy and change direction en route if you suddenly come across something interesting.
This was up in the Lake District over the summer…..absolutely breath taking scenery. The Lake District is one of my favourite places to go!
Anyway, how to find some routes and measure the distance. Back in the day I have memories of getting in the car with my mum and driving round a route measuring the mileage that way. These days there are loads of different ways to do this. There are lots of websites such as mapmyrun and apps with pre made routes in your local area so do a bit of research and see what might work for you. If you have a sports watch, some of these will map out routes for you too depending on how fancy they are! However, I like to get a map out and plan my route myself, I like to plan a route that maybe no one else has done in a place I’ve not been before. One thing I’ve learnt doing this though living where I do is to make sure I take in to account the hills. I have planned some epic training runs in the past and nearly finished myself off having not considered the hills…..stupid mistake when I think about it now but sometimes I end up learning the hard way!! This is particularly the case in fell running but be warned, if you live in the country you can be caught out there too on country roads. Perhaps it would be worth driving the route you have planned before you go out running and commit to it. This brings me to an important point, for beginners I’d always have some sort of ‘escape plan’. What I mean by this is if you set off out running and suddenly feel like you can’t make the whole distance for whatever reason what will you do? Have your phone on you to call someone to come get you? Carry some money to get a taxi? or what I think is the best advice is find a route which loops so you can make that loop as big or as short as you need. Personally I always carry my phone on me but you do need to remember….you have a goal that you are aiming for……how desperate are you on a scale of 0 – 10 for someone to come and rescue you?? Do not use this as an easy way out of training, you would only be cheating yourself in the end.
My final point I would like to make about route planning is don’t always do the same route time and time again. There are a few reasons for this: 1. You’ll get bored 2. Your motivation will start to be affected as you learn all the nooks and crannies in a route and know exactly how far it is from home all the time and 3. In my opinion the most important reason is it will put all the same stresses and strains through your legs time and time again. Have you ever noticed athletes on a running track warming up in the opposite direction? Sometimes they do this to change the strain on their legs and the principle is the same off the track. So go mix it up, go exploring and make it exciting…..there’s a world out there…go discover what it has to offer!!!