Thursday, November 3, 2011

Getting off the Beaten Path

Just as there are many life paths you can choose, there are many running routes you an take. However, I've noticed I tend to pick variations of the same two or three again and again. These routes have become so familiar, I'm pretty convinced I could run them in my sleep.

I consider it a form of "comfort running" meaning a run that I know almost exactly what to expect, every time. I like knowing where the best drinking fountains are, anticipating familiar uphills and downhills, running faster along my favorite stretches and counting down the street names toward the end of a run. Take the same route often enough and you'll even recognize the regulars.

But there's also the thrill of discovering a new place to run. A portion of last weekend's Haunted Hustle Half Marathon wound through Middleton's Conservancy Lands and it was love at first run. The path went through the woods and eventually opened up into a tall grass prairie area that was so much different from what I'm used to running. The race is over, but I'd take a trip back to Middleton just to run those areas again.

So while there's nothing wrong with comfort running, every now and then I think it's important to step off the beaten path and see what else is out there. There's a whole world filled with great running routes - and I can't wait to start finding new ones to add to my list of favorites.

I want to know: Do you consider yourself a comfort runner? Also, what are your favorite running routes?

- ST

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