Old Trails, New Routes

Much like my fellow running blogger Donna’s recent entry regarding running routes, I too often tire of running the same courses.  I think as mileage frequency is increased this becomes even more apparent.  While I like to think that I’ve been a runner since 7th grade when I joined the track team, my consistency of running has waxed and waned over the years.  Since summer 2017 I can say that I have been consistent in my running thanks to training for my second and third half marathons and completing the York Winter Series.

All this regular running has meant that sometimes my regular running routes become stale.  Finding new routes is hard, particularly if I haven’t been on a road to know if it’s highly traveled, has a decent sized shoulder, etc.  This is especially true as my long runs need more miles added onto them.  For this reason I often turn to local rail trails as there aren’t worries about traffic and I can easily increase distance by going out and back.  I’m fortunate to live within a 15 minute drive of the Heritage Rail Trail Park (or as I always call it, the York Rail Trail) and a 30 minute drive of the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.

As much as I love the rail trails my frequent use of them means that the scenery sometimes becomes boring.  This is especially true because when I’m required to be in the office I often drive to the same part of the York Rail Trail to run after work because it’s less than 10 minutes away.  I normally can’t manage to run more than 5 miles total on this section because I’ve just ran it so much it creates the same boredom that running on a treadmill does.

Last night while trying to figure out where I wanted to run my 8-10 miles today it hit me.  I could pick a new trail head along the York Rail Trail and start from there instead.  Why I hadn’t thought of this before is beyond me.  I think it helped that Jason and I recently biked 31 miles round trip on the trail.  It made me think about how much of the trail I’ve biked more than I’ve ran.

After looking up driving directions I set out this morning and came to find that the trail head I went to isn’t any farther of a drive than my usual one.  The portion of the trail I ran I hadn’t actually ran since 2011 when I ran the Rail Trail 10 mile race.  It was fun to take in the scenery of the area since it had farmland, woodland and even a small nature preserve area.  It was also advantageous because the one junction had a water fountain that I was able to use on my way out and back.  I ended up running a total of 8 miles.  At no point during the run was I bored.  I will definitely be returning to that starting point in the future.  Today’s run proved that thinking outside of the box can take a familiar path and turn it into a new adventure.

Do you ever get bored of your usual running routes?  How do you find new routes?

 

About TracyNicole

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental advocate. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights. Inspired by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elon Musk.
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9 Responses to Old Trails, New Routes

  1. AJ says:

    I get so bored of my inlet trail, but unfortunately it’s the nearest safe trail for me to run alone so I end up doing it way too often!

    • TracyNicole says:

      Safety is such a priority! I often want to just go out and start running and see where I end up but I know it wouldn’t necessarily be safe to do that. I tried it once, added onto my usual 6 mile loop and came out onto a road that had no shoulder and was curvy. I picked up pace to get off that road as quickly as I could. Fortunately I was running early on a Sunday morning so there was little to no traffic.

      • AJ says:

        Yes we don’t have a lot of areas that aren’t really busy roads. There are sidewalks, but it’s not much fun running on these!

      • TracyNicole says:

        I avoid sidewalks at all costs! It drives my husband crazy because he thinks I’m being unsafe (a main reason we stick to running trails together) when in reality I just don’t want to be pounding on concrete.

      • AJ says:

        I will take a trail over a sidewalk every time!!!

  2. It seems we’re feeling the same way! Thanks for the link to my post! I love how you found a solution by thinking outside the box. It got me thinking about some of the trails I run on as well and how I can mix things up by just changing where I start and end.

    • TracyNicole says:

      No problem, it seems that we were on the same wavelength mentally recently and I wanted to give props to your post for fueling me to write mine. I hope you find some new ways to enjoy your old routes too!

  3. Laurie says:

    I have done long runs on both of the trails you mention – the York one before the Susquehanna River trail became available. I would like to do the marathon on the York rail trail sometime. I did the half this year and really liked it. I love not having to think about traffic, especially when I do long runs.

    I do get bored with my running routes and change them up all the time.

    • TracyNicole says:

      The half you did – was that the Spartan half? I feel like as an alumni of York College I should run it sometime, but it seems like it’d be so boring for me given how often I run the rail trail especially since it’s out and back.

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