Remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books when you were a kid? You reached a situation in the story and you could pick from 2 or 3 options of how you’d react. With each choice, you created your own destiny. Well this idea can apply to running too!
Most runners will hit a lull in their racing schedule from time to time. I purposefully scale back in the late Spring and Summer months to give myself (and my bank account) a break. I choose this time of year because I don’t enjoy running in heat as much as I do in cooler temperatures.
This break in the schedule usually makes me a bit uneasy. I always like to be working towards specific goals. This year, I decided to set a mileage goal for the entire year to keep me motivated (700+ miles). But there is something to be said for running for the sake of running too!
Last Sunday, I wanted to get in some miles to round out the week but I didn’t have a specific plan. I was determined to head out despite being sore from a TRX workout the day before. Then it dawned on me to bring back something I hadn’t done in a while: the Choose Your Own Adventure Run.
If you run with any regularity, you have several different routes that you use and you know exactly how long they are. You even know which ones to string together to get those long runs accomplished. But it’s nice to liven things up with some spontaneity! Enter the Choose Your Own Adventure Run.
Start out on a route you could run in your sleep. But instead of doing the full loop, break it up by heading into a different direction. As you come to areas where you can either head back home or continue on to another neighborhood, take stock of how you’re feeling. Still feeling good? Add another detour to your run! Energy still holding on when you hit the next “turn back” point? Keep going! Something is going on up the street? Go check it out as you run past! And so on… until you feel ready to call it quits for the day.
Because you don’t know exactly how many miles are left, these kinds of runs can change your mentality from just “getting in the miles” to enjoying a fun day of exploration. Take in the sights, wave to your fellow runners, and don’t worry about pace. After all, we run because it’s fun, right?
Do you have a way to spice up your weekly mileage? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter: @AtlRnnr!