Go to a New Location for a Run or Hike

Longtime readers know September is my time . It is no longer hot here, so it is open for jogging and walking all day, and not just hours with the onset of dusk and dawn. (Sorry, I’m a weakling in the heat). So, this month we’re doing another running and walking challenge, but with a twist.

The challenge this week is to get out there, but take a route that you’ve never taken before. Or at least you didn’t this year. I know I can’t be the only one walking the same loop in my area almost daily in quarantine.

Yesterday I jumped in my car and drove to a popular park at an unpopular time. I haven’t run there for months, maybe years, and it was great to be back here. (I brought a mask, but did not wear it; in the 30 minutes I was on the trail, I walked past two pairs of hikers and one mountain biker.)

If you haven’t run, that’s okay. Couch to 5K is a good program if you are starting from scratch. If you’ve run in the past and are still in good shape, you can just try it out. Personally, I borrowed from this a plan to return to running after injury . I was not injured, I just needed a running / walking structure that would make it easier for me to get back to normal. I’ve already done this:

  • Walk 10 minutes, run 5, walk 5, run 5
  • Walk 5, run 5, repeat three times
  • Step 3, run 7, repeat three times
  • Step 2, run 8, repeat three times

Walking is more of a psychological respite for me than a physical one. Sometimes you have to impose good habits on yourself. I’m also used to reversing (I just turn around when my watch shows 15 minutes), although I used to prefer hinges.

So your challenge for this week, if you choose to accept it, is to go for a run (or walk or hike) in a way that is a departure from tradition for you. Go to a new location. Structure your mileage differently. If you are tired of walking, but you don’t want to run, put on a heavy backpack and tell all your friends that you are torn .

I recommend ignoring your pace. You may not be as fast as you used to be, or there may be more hills on your new route. In the coming weeks, we will become a little sharper than this challenge, but for now, relax and try to enjoy it.

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