With the good comes the bad and when you move that often means saying goodbye to your favorite running routes. In June when Michael and I moved in together I had to say goodbye to running on the Esplanade and find new places to run. While I was beyond excited to move in with Michael, I wasn’t so excited about finding new places to run but I embraced the process. Now, two months later I have running routes that I can rely on and really enjoy. With September being the major moving date in Boston and students getting back to school and I thought I’d share some tips to make the process as easy as possible!
1. Check out Map My Run.
When we moved to Stoneham I had no idea where the closets coffee shop was let alone a safe running route. I went on to Map My Run and searched the public maps for the Stoneham area. The idea wasn’t to pick a route to run but to get a sense of what roads runner’s were running on and what ones everyone seemed to avoid. The other upside of this is that you can quickly determine any “fun” running areas like a lake or pond close by that lots of runners take advantage of.
2. Drive the roads.
I took the time to drive some of the routes I was considering. I looked for areas that weren’t well-lit at night-time, areas without sidewalks and intersections that look hairy to cross so I knew to avoid those areas. It’s also good to look for dogs that aren’t on leashes or other obstacles. It doesn’t take too long to do this and it can be really smart, there is nothing worse than being mid-run on a busy road and to see the sidewalk disappears!
3. Run without an agenda.
Yep, you read that right. The first few times you head out for a run in a new area don’t plan to do speedwork or a tempo run, just focus on getting out and running. You’ll be more relaxed and if you need to alter the route on the fly you won’t feel like it ruined your workout. Plus it gives you an opportunity to check out the businesses and sites in the area!
4. Be Creative.
We live in a cluster of roads that all loop together in one way or another. I’m often creative with the last mile of my run and choose a different way home every time! It adds variety to my runs and gives me the option to finish my run on a flat or to challenge myself the last .1 mile on an uphill. Don’t be afraid to try a new road or explore a little bit, you might just find a loop that you absolutely love this way!
5. Tweak it ’til it works!
Sometimes I’ll head out on a run and think it will be close to 5 miles but I get home and I’m a half mile short, I’ve learned to tweak my routes until they work. That may mean running an extra half mile in one direction and cutting off a part of the run later on. To make this a little easier I often look at the map after I upload my run from my Garmin. I’m able to easily see where I ran and can identify places to extend or shorten my miles.
6. It never hurts to drive.
If there is a great runner friendly park or lake close by don’t hesitate to hop in the car and drive there to get your run in! My favorite places to run tend to be parks or at lakes with paved paths. They are usually safe for runners and void of crazy intersections and cars. If running from your house doesn’t feel safe or makes you nervous, drive to an area where you can park and run. It’s always best to practice safety first when it comes to running!
7. Have fun!
Discovering new running routes should always be fun and feel like an adventure! Embrace the change and live outside the ordinary, before you know it you’ll be bored of your new running loops!