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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fitness Tip: Visually stimulating routes

My favorite route

I knew that to start training for the marathon I had to run outside. However, the thought of doing lap, after endless lap, around a track was not appealling in the least. My options in Córdoba are limited. Principally because: 

  1. It is a small town 
  2. Does not have a culture of exercise ingrained into it like the US. 

It took some trial and error, and getting to know Córdoba, before I found the perfect spot!
How I Found It

When I get into a run I don't like a lot of starts and stops. It is not a realistic picture of my running capability and it throws off my concentration. Running "off the beaten path" gives me continuity in my running. 

On the street there is a lot of contamination from vehicles as well as a lot of traffic lights. Lots and lots of traffic lights. I had to wait to cross streets and share the sidewalk with pedestrians. They don't like to share the sidewalk with runners, believe me! 

Two summers ago I found this place by accident. I wanted to go somewhere private and serene after coming back from my dad's funeral. I was living with the inlaws at this point and had no privacy. So I went walking. I am a city girl at heart but this place spoke to me.

Why I Chose It

It gets me away from the hussle and bussle of cars and exhaust fumes and traffic lights and people. I run in clean air, surrounded by nature and I just let go. 

It is visually stimulating. 

Many people ask me how I can run 18 miles, for example, and not stop or get bored. When you run around a track, or park, you are just running with no goal in site. I run to reach the next bridge, or hill, or tree, or river. I am constantly looking at new things, smelling smells, and this motivates me to continue.

Likes and Dislikes

For all the reasons above I like it but it's not always the most convenient place to go. In the summer I can't run whenever I want becasue it's too hot. I have to go in the morning, at 7am, or at night once the sun sets. This cuts down my schedule drastically. 

I tend to run at night simply because it's more convenient for me but I can't go there to run. I doubt anything will happen to me but there are no street lights. I don't carry my cellphone when I run and there are no phones around. I am in the wilderness. There are all kinds of animals around and I don't want to take any chances. 

When exercising outdoors, or anywhere, safety is always first. So I have to go to a park instead and run lap, after endless lap around the track. It's not that bad when I run a shorter run, but imagine running 2 hours around a track! Not fun. So usually my long run days (Sundays) are reserved for my visually stimulating route during the summer months.

How I Stay Safe
  • I always let someone know when I go and when I'm expected to be back
  • My music is never louder than my surroundings
  • I don't run there at night
  • I pay attention to animals and other bikers and runners in front or behind me
  • I bring water on really hot days
  • I dress for the weather (hats, shorts, moisture-wicking fabrics, sunblock etc.)
  • I make sure to warm up and cool down, including stretching 

Here's another peek at my route:

 Do whatever motivates you, but do it and be consistent! With summer now here, exercising outdoors is the place to be! Save gloomy gym rooms for the winter!

If this helped you leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

I hope you enjoyed your Fitness Tip and will add it to your Recipe for Health

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