Running is a difficult activity for almost everyone. However, when planning your next fitness run or when training for a race, you might want to try something to make things a event harder. Challenge yourself by picking the worse of two routes.
Consider this. You get up early in the morning, lace on your sneakers andneed to pick your route. You have the choice of running the same, comfortable course you've done a hundred times before. This is the flat loop that conveniently is right by your house and brings you past your usual landmarks, or as an alternative, you could pick that scary hill by the arterial road that you've driven past, but never attempted. What should you do?
My suggestion is, choose terribly and go with the hill.
This is what I recently did on a run in North Seattle. You see, I have this favorite 6.5 mile loop I do down around Greenlake on side streets and park trails. The course winds past beautiful craftsman homes and fragrant lilac bushes. There is little traffic, gorgeous sights, and while I have to tackle a few small hills, everything is gradual and easy to ascend.
Something caught my eye recently while driving around town on random errands. I've taken this arterial road in North Seattle that quickly dips down a few hundred feet, then climbs upward as the road wraps south towards Ballard. I was always intrigued by the sight of this road--climbing into the sky. However I never thought of running next to it because of the heavy car traffic, and well, the difficulty of the course. Frankly, nothing about this stretch of road is appealing for a runner.
And yet, last week I chose to run it.
The reason I chose to try this route is solely because it WAS unappealing. By charging up the hill and by enduring the honks and traffic, I'm becoming a more flexible runner. I'm learning how to deal with a tough pickle.
So, why should you choose terrible?
By challenging yourself today, you're becoming a better runner for tomorrow. So, when the weather turns and it starts pouring on your first 5k race, or your 20thmarathon, you'll be able to get past the discomfort, traffic or environment and complete your running goal.
Have you recently run a strenuous or mentally challenging route? Add a comment below and tell others how it has impacted you.
Just remember to always be safe. And when you've tackled that tricky route successful, be sure to treat yourself to ice cream or something else special.