Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, and Rabbits, Oh My
My particular jogging circuit is through an open-space here in Thornton, CO. The area surrounded by green. It is a pretty good place to run. I get all four surfaces; concrete, asphalt, gravel, and dirt. I never run on grass because you never know what is in there. I like to see the surface I’m running on and with grass you could always fall into a pit, or snag your ankle on a tree root, etc.
This trail is nice to run and there is a lot of elevation change for a city open-space. I would say that I could get about 500 ft of elevation change if I ran a 10k here. When you select the location of your daily run you should probably walk it first just to see if there are any large gaps or obstructions you don’t want to hit if you are running around a corner.
You want to find a place that is not too crowded. If you find the perfect spot and there are a good number of people. Try and hit it at different times of day for a few weeks and pick a time with the least amount of traffic. I always laugh at “vanity joggers”.
Here in Downtown Denver we have the 16th Street Mall. It is quite possibly the worst place in the world to run. There are these shuttle buses that run up and down the street very close to the sidewalk. There are literally thousands of people at any time of the day. The worst part is that there is a busy cross street about every 100 feet where you will spend 90% of your time waiting for traffic. The only people that run here are shirtless male model types and female fitness models. They don’t run here because it is convenient, (there is a park just at the end of the mall), they don’t run here because it is a good place to run, they run here because the want to be seen.
If you are as big as me when you started running or bigger then the last thing you want is people watching you attempt to catch your breath and fail.
If you are a heavy runner, it is a good idea to run on varied surfaces for a few reasons:
- Running on concrete all the time is the worst. I used to get this sharp shooting pain in my forefoot from my toes slapping down on hard concrete. Any surface is better than concrete, however, it is ok to run on in short spurts. My running path is about 25% concrete so it is fine.
- If you are heavy, you are putting a tremendous strain on your legs. If you run on a more forgiving surface your legs and feet will thank you for it.
- There are tiny stabilizer muscles in your legs that control the 3 axis of movement in your foot. Those muscles need to be strengthened as well. The best way to do this is by running on uneven surfaces.
- Probably the most important reason that kind of goes along with number 3 is that studies have shown that most injuries are repetition injuries. If you run the same path, the same time, with the same shoes, in the same direction, every single day, you will probably get an injury. This is easy to avoid. Change up your route, you don’t want to get bored anyway. Run different directions, take a new path to see where it goes, hop, skip, jump, bound over obstructions, run uphill, run downhill.
I have to spend most of my run looking out for wildlife. I see tons of rabbits, prairie dogs and the occasional coyote if I am out early enough. When the going gets tough try and focus on your surroundings. You don’t want to be staring at your feet just counting the seconds until the run is over.
Today I warmed up for 3 minutes, did 20 minutes of 1MW/1MR (1 minute walk, 1 minute run), and cooled down with another 3 minutes of slow walking. I have one more day this week and then I will be going to 2MW/2MR.
Thanks for reading and have fun. Drop me an email or contact me via the contact page if you need help, advice, encouragement, or motivation.