Prerequisites for a Good Running Route: Why is Your Daily Route the Best?

By: Rachel Gibson

Think about how many hours, minutes and days we spend out in the physical world around us, running. Depending on your frequency and longevity, it could add up to quite a lot! So when you lace up for a run, what makes you decide which way to go?


There are several key prerequisites for me, and I’m sure a million more that I am forgetting (and if I am, please leave them in a comment below—it may make a difference for another runner reading this, as well as me!)


-The route is easily accessible from the house. I absolutely LOVE running from my front door. I base housing choices on this very factor. ‘Cause seriously, doesn’t it sometimes defeat the purpose to get in your car and drive just to run?


-It has sidewalks or areas to run off the road. (I don’t mind running on country roads, but in town I’d rather be on a sidewalk. I don’t trust the mass of cars on the road. But that’s for another post.)


-The route mix of hills and flat ground. I love to be challenged, and running hills is an excellent way to build up your endurance! All of my best races have been run after training on hills. But in order for me to keep going, going, going it’s best to have some flat or downhill in the mix. (Otherwise I might be tempted to get overwhelmed and give up. It’s been known to happen.)


-It has great scenery. Whether it’s a waterfront view, city skyscrapers or running through the woods, it’s important for me to have something to look at. I’m pretty sure have the runner’s form of ADD (I try to keep pace and all of a sudden…hey look, is that a bird?)

I’ve relocated often in my life as a runner and found my routes have changed drastically from move to move. It’s not always easy to get adjusted, but getting to discover what potential “best route” is out there keeps it interesting. See below for photo goodness.


*2007 - Where I first started running, in the Caribbean. Beautiful, but HOT. I ran on the beach more than the road because the roads were curvy, hilly and drivers were NOT accustomed to runners!*


*2008 - The long country road I trained for my first marathon on in northern Michigan. I literally would run 10 miles along it, turn around and run 10 miles back home. Not a lot to look at, but it was peaceful and oh so flat!*


*2009 - Silver Comet Trail in Atlanta, Georgia. I learned the love-hate relationship of long runs on this trail, and welcomed it to running the hills of Paces Ferry and Cumberland!*


*2010 - Lake Michigan waterfront path in the city of Chicago. It was flat, but usually windy along the lake. They don’t call it the windy city for nothin’!*



*2011 - My newest route in the wooded hillside of West Virginia. Hilly, challenging and downright gorgeous.*


So what about you? Do you prefer city sidewalks between skyscrapers or would you rather run through a trail in the middle of the country? What are your prerequisites for a good running route?


For more random thoughts, follow me on Twitter: @nomad_runner!

And to follow my other guest blogging experience, be sure to check out !


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