I've gotten in a really bad habit of running the same runs day after day. I have about 3 four miles runs (I think of as easy, hilly and I feel like beating myself up today) I'm down to one five mile and one three mile runs.
Any other distances I have to map out - but during the week 3,4 and 5 have covered it. Its funny how quickly we slip into the habit of a tried and true course. There are a few pitfalls to not varying, and some real benifets of coming up with new routes.
- Bob Glover claims that your body learns the route. By throwing hills in different places, you have to adapt, and through adapting comes growth and improvement.
- There are safety concerns of running the same route at the same pace, unless you want to make life easy for your stalkers.
- When I know the route so well I stop paying attention - both to my surroundings and to my body. I find I'm slowing up more often, my form breaks down quicker.
- Sometimes, if you're rotating through a few runs, you may not remember the run as well as you do. Case in point - today I ran 2.94 miles not three. Sure its a small difference, but had I mapped out a new route, I would have ran that last block to finish off the three miles. And this can also throw off mile markers as well (was it the second house after West St or the third?)
- Somerville/Cambridge/Boston is a nightmare for someone who is perpetually lost. Running has been a great way to see new neighborhoods, and get a better feel for the layouts of the streets - kind of like getting a feel for the inside of Salvador Dali's mind....
Now we have a handful of wonderful programs, and even google maps on my android has a "measure distance" feature that can be turned on. I personally use gmap-pedometer, but there is also runningmap and Map My Run. They all run off of google maps - which I appreciate. So now there is no excuse for me not to try a few new routes - and you should try some too.