Whether you've just started running or you're looking to freshen up your current routine, finding a new run route can be both exciting and daunting. Follow our top tips to plan the best route for you to stay safe and enjoy every stride.
Check the terrain
Running on varying terrains can have a huge impact on your run. If you're used to running on road and pavement, finding a new route that incorporates fields and trails could really liven things up and make your run more interesting. However, make sure to take care as trail running features more hazards than road running and you may need to concentrate harder.
If your usual run is very flat, try adding in a few hills. Not only will this make your route more interesting, doing hill training is very good for improving performance and overall fitness!
Choose a route that suits you, whether that's all on road, all on trails, or a mixture of both. Keeping things fresh can do wonders for motivation and can help you feel like you really want to get out there and run rather than it being a chore.
Recce the route in the car or by bike
If you've planned your new route by mapping it out on a Google maps, make sure you take a drive round it first to make sure the entire route is runnable. Check that there is a safe place to run the entire way or if pavements suddenly end and turn into hazardous roads with fast traffic.
Another thing to check for on your recce is to make sure you're not running onto private land or that the map is incorrect. You wouldn't want to go running into rivers or dead ends that aren't on the map!
Make sure it's safe
One of the most important parts of planning a new run route is making sure it's safe the whole way. Bear in mind how much traffic there might be and if you're able to run on pavement the whole way or if you need to run in the road.
Additionally, if you are running in a rural area, make sure you have a fully charged phone on you as well as food and water in case you become stranded. There are some areas that become very remote and you need to be sure you'll be able to make your way back safely, especially if the weather changes unexpectedly.
Don't be afraid to drive to the start
One of the possible reasons your old run routes became stale is because you only ever start and finish at home. An easy way to expand your horizons is to drive (or cycle) to a different start point so that you can experience new areas. Driving to a new area can open up a whole new world of possibilities and can make your run so much more interesting.
If you're going to drive to the start, remember to take plenty of water and a snack in the car with you as you will be tired and sweaty when you finish! And remember that however long it took you to drive there, you'll have to drive back after a potentially tough run.
Check other people's routes locally
If you check websites like Map My Run, Strava, or Garmin, you can see routes that other people in your local area have saved and shared. This could be a great way to try a new route that you may have never thought of doing or finding hidden or secret passages, footpaths, and roads that you never knew existed. Lots of places have hidden gems that are off the beaten track and it can be very exciting discovering them for the first time, especially if they're right on your doorstep!
Join a running club
One of the easiest and most effortless ways of discovering a new run route is by joining or running with a run club. There are lots of benefits to joining a running club, and finding new routes is certainly one of them. By running with fellow enthusiasts, you know you'll be getting the most of your run and will be following a tried and tested safe route.