When running with a group, or on your own, a good route is always a plus. But it’s not as easy as just mapping out some streets until you get to your distance. You need to pay attention to a few things to ensure that you have a successful and enjoyable long run.
Here’s some dos and don’ts to help you make good routes for yourself or your crew.
Keep it simple! It’s tempting to put a lot of twists and turns into a route to explore new streets and areas. But unless you want to turn your run into an orienteering session, it’s far better to make your routes simpler with fewer turns. That translates into fewer mistakes and more time spent running.
Make it memorable: If you can make your turns obvious, that’s ideal. Putting turns at t-intersections, picking memorable street names or even building your route around places of interest all helps in being able to more easily navigate a complicated route.
Be straight forward. Some things to avoid include zigging and zagging through a neighbourhood as you’ll quickly lose your way trying to remember if you go left or right at the next street.
Move over a bit. Sticking to main roads makes a run easier, but that can get boring. Instead, you can go one or two streets over. Just be sure to pick one that goes all the way through as opposed to having to combine multiple streets (and turns) to get to the same place.
Watch the incline. Pay attention to elevation when you plan your routes. It’s always preferable to try to earn your elevation early, and then pay it back later. If you can, go up hill during the first half of the run, and downhill for the second. Also avoid sections with lots of undulation. There’s nothing worse than having to run up and down and up and down (unless you are doing hill training).
Making routes can be fun, but there’s nothing worse than getting out there with your crew only to realize you’ve put together a stinker and ended up getting lost (or, you know, running down some railway tracks).