Beginning Runner's Guide - Where to Run
One of running’s appeals is its simplicity. You don’t need membership in an expensive club. You don’t need a playing field. Step out your front door, and you’ve found your first running arena. Most runners begin by running around the block or down the street in their neighborhoods. Only later, do they seek varied locations for their running activities. Here are some points to consider about where to run:
· ROAD RUNNING: Most runners train and race on the roads, thus the name for the sport of road running. When possible, run in low-traffic areas. Dodging cars is not fun. Run facing traffic so you can see cars coming at you in your lane and step aside if necessary. If you have a choice, asphalt is “softer” than concrete. Flat roads are easier to run on than those with a high crown.
· PATHS: Many cities have parks with paths and sidewalks designated for endurance activities. Usually, these are pleasant places to run, because you can avoid automotive traffic, plus it’s fun (and safer) to run in areas frequented by other runners. Plan to do at least some of your running on popular paths. The best ones feature: toilets, water fountains and even mile markers.
· CROSS-COUNTRY: Once you develop an ability to run 3-4 miles non-stop, consider heading into the woods. Uneven ground may seem difficult at first, but running on soft (rather than hard) surfaces can help prevent injuries. The ideal running surface is smooth grass, such as on a golf course, but golfers often object to runners invading their turf.
In an ideal world, we should be able to run anywhere at any time without fear of being assaulted. Our world is not ideal, so be careful where you train and when you train. If you have to run in the dark, or in unpatrolled areas, it’s generally safer to do so in the morning rather than the evening--and please wear reflective clothing if on the roads. Many runners run listening to music, but be cautious: Shutting off the outside world can make you less aware of your surroundings and dangerous people within those surroundings. When possible, train with a partner. Men, as well as women, should run defensively.