Where to run

Running by the lake; photo by David Knight

Running by the lake

If you are new to running, one of the first challenges is to figure out where you can run.

Look at a map of your local area, and see what there is in the way of green spaces, such as parks.  There are often footpaths alongside rivers and canals.  If you know a nearby cycling shop, you may be able to buy a map that shows cycling routes, which are often also suitable for running.

There may be running routes for your area on the.  Best of all, members of your local running club will know running routes in your area.

How to measure the distances of your routes

There are several ways to measure the distances of your running routes:

  • there are running websites such as MapMyRun and RunningAhead on which you can mark out your route, and it will tell you how far you have gone;
  • you can buy GPS watches which track how far and how fast you have run; (I love my Garmin Forerunner 310);
  • you can download software to a smartphone (such as iPhone, Android phones and Nokia) which tracks your route; this software is often free;
  • if the route is on roads, you may be able to drive a car round them and use the car’s distance meter;
  • if you have a bike with a cycling computer, you can use this to measure the distance;

Running to and from work

One way to introduce running into a busy life is to run to or from work, or even both.  Whether this works for you depends on the distance, and whether you have facilities at work for showering and changing. Some runners keep a selection of clean clothes in the office, which they refresh once a week on their rest day, taking home the week’s dirty clothes.

“I recall a mediocre athlete many years ago … His coach told him he should go for the 10km event, but the mileage the coach asked him to do was so extensive that the athlete, a carpenter by trade, who travelled long distances to work, could not fit it in. The answer was to run to and from work. However, at the time, his work-site was 15 miles away. He was undaunted by the prospect and ran the 30 miles involved daily, five days a week. He rested Saturday and Sunday. This athlete, Roger Matthews, became the 4th fastest 10km runner in the world in 1970.

Frank Horwill (founder of the British Milers’ Club)

If you can figure out the logistics, you may find that running to work is the best way to fit running into your day.  Often it does not take any more time than travelling on public transport or driving. If you have a long journey, you may find that you can run to or from a railway station or bus stop which is one stop further away from your home.

There are several rucksacks available which are designed for running.  These have compression straps to reduce bounce. Visit a local specialist running shop to see what is available.  You might also want to invest in a travel towel, which is like a chamois leather and light and easy to carry, and are available from most camping shops.

3 Responses to Where to run

  • rogermatthews 10,000m comonwealth runner 1970:

    i use to run more intensively doing lots track speed sessions the result was lots of injuries and nearly called it a day,until i met Harry Wilson top middle distance coach to Steve Ovett.He advised more stamina runs.I started a regime of getting up and running 10miles to work at 6.30am,then finished a full days work as a carpenter wth Bournemouth Council at 4.30pm,and ran 12 to 15 miles to my caravan home.At first i was very fatigued but gradually my body got use to it.I did fit in a track session of timed 400m x20 and got faster as the track races were eminent.After my first winter of this training I gained my international british vest by coming 4th in the AAA championships 1969.Next year i won the commonwealth games trials at leicester running away from the field with8laps out to the finish beating Dick Taylor the british champion and the cream of middle distance runners.

  • rogermatthews 10,000m comonwealth runner 1970:

    managing injuries is the hardest thing to schedual in a top class runner.Prior to the olympics of 1972 .I ran in a big road race in Barcelona spain in january coming second to Mike Tagg.I was using the race as a build up in my intensive pre-olympic training and did not ease up for this race,so i was pleased with the result.Two weeks later i caught the flue which laid me very low.Keen to get back to fitness quickly i went training in cold wet conditions doing repitions hill work on coming down this steep hill i slipped and my back seized up and stayed like this for 10 days.After having physio treatment i found my left leg going numb.Later on it was discoverd i had trapped a nerve.This was persistant right to the olympic trials and had to drop out of the race.On reflection i would advise any athlete to be patient and wait untill fully recovered,then gently ease back into training.Hope this advise is helpfull to you out there,rogermatthews.

  • justin matthews:

    thats the best advice from my dad having suffered from injuries be patient it was always difficult to make yourself to ease up on the training and very frustrating but injuries will never go away if i didn’t rest. Currently training to compete in triathlon events hopefully become quick enough to gain a GB cap would be great and i know this would make my dad proud .
    stay focused and the goal will be in site .
    From justin matthews

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