Longtime readers will know that, for me, September is running time. This month we’re doing another running and walking challenge, but with a twist.
This week, the challenge is to get out there, but to pick a route that you’ve never done before. Or at least, that you haven’t done this year. I know I can’t be the only one who’s been walking the same loop in my neighbourhood near-daily all quarantine.
Yesterday I hopped in the car and went to a popular park at an unpopular time. I haven’t run the trails there in months, maybe years, and it was great to be back. (I brought a mask but did not wear it; I passed two hiking couples and one mountain biker during the 30 minutes I was on the trail.)
If you haven’t been running, that’s ok. Couch to 5K is a good program if you’re starting from scratch. If you’ve run in the past and are still reasonably fit, you can just kinda wing it. Myself, I borrowed from this plan for returning to running after an injury. I’m not injured, I just wanted a run/walk structure to ease me back in. I’ve done these so far:
- Walk 10 minutes, run 5, walk 5, run 5
- Walk 5, run 5, repeat three times
- Walk 3, run 7, repeat three times
- Walk 2, run 8, repeat three times
The walks are more of a mental break for me than a physical one. Sometimes you have to trick yourself into good habits. I’ve also taken to out-and-backs (I just turn around when my watch says 15 minutes) even though I used to prefer loops.
So your challenge for this week, if you choose to accept it: head out for a run (or a walk, or a hike) in a way that breaks from tradition for you. Go someplace new. Structure your run differently. If you’re bored of walking but don’t want to run, throw on a heavy backpack on and tell all your friends you’re rucking.
I do recommend ignoring your pace. You might not be as fast as you used to be, or your new route may have more hills. We’ll get a little bit spicier in future weeks of this challenge, but for now, ease yourself back in and try to enjoy it.