Sometimes getting to a trail isn’t practical, for whatever reason. Time. Weather conditions. Geography.
Sometimes you just have to make wherever you are work if you want to get a run in. Being flexible/adaptable is generally a good approach in life. That flexibility applies to running. Trail or road. Rain or shine.
Even ‘Trail Runners’ Run Roads
Even die hard trail runners sometimes run roads or less optimal routes. I know an ultramarathoner who is a trail runner in every sense in my book, but his work schedule and travel require him to train New York city roads, paths, and bridges many days of the year. His preference to be on trails never waivers. But life often has other running routes in mind for him.
When I was in Hawaii at XTERRA Worlds in early December, I happened to see one of the top male finishers running on a main road twice in the days following the race. Proof that even elite trail racers take to the road at times.
Over the holidays when traveling to make holiday rounds, my teen and I cranked out almost 4 miles in a little suburban housing development early one morning. It may not have been our favorite run in terms of beauty, view, or terrain, but it was nevertheless a fun run and we laughed a lot.
Appreciating what you have before you and staying flexible with your runs can go a long way to keeping you running throughout the year, and preventing you from getting discouraged. It’s far too easy to complain about the terrain, location, weather and to say you’re going to run another place/day/time when conditions are optimal.
But….what often happens is the run gets put on hold. And sometimes it doesn’t even happen at all.
As the saying goes, “A bad run is better than no run.”
Though you may prefer to run anywhere but the road, if that’s what you have make it work for you! As many road runners turned trail runners can surely attest, suburban housing developments/neighborhoods, local roads, and highways are often the roads where runners first discovered their love for running. Little neighborhoods like the one where my daughter and I ran over the holidays can also make great starting places for young runners.
“Relish the bad training runs. Without them it’s difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones.”
Running roads isn’t without value. Far from it actually.
If life takes you off the trail, it doesn’t make you less of a trail runner. Even the best trail runners sometimes run roads.
Run your heart out.