Fitness Articles

Choosing a Walking or Running Route

On the Road to Fitness

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By Rebecca Pratt, Staff Writer         
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Water Stops and Resting Places
When possible plan a route that has water stops: park fountains, spigots outside buildings, neighbor’s hoses, or your own. Consider an "out and back" circuit in your neighborhood that allows you to stop at home for a quick drink, or carry water with you. On hot, humid days, look for ways to get wet: pass through a sprinkler or splash yourself from a water fountain or tap.

Even experienced walkers and runners can sometimes use a rest; novice walkers even more so. Routes with seats, shelters, or café stops may be welcome respites that allow you to re-hydrate before you push on. If you’re working out in hot weather, you may also want to pick a shady route that’s cooler and provides protection from a broiling sun.

Safety
Last but not least, always consider safety. Avoid high-crime or deserted areas, but also look for areas that are not overly congested, either with cars or other types of traffic such as roller-bladers or cyclists. Wear light-colored clothes or reflectors so that drivers can see you, walk or run facing traffic, and use sidewalks whenever possible. Employ the buddy system—especially during the early morning and late evening hours.

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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • I live in hilly Frankston a beach side area of Melbourne. I run down to the beach via a reserve filled with trails, bridges and stairs. I meet my wife often for a coffee at the end of my run at the beach. When I am feeling like a challenge I make a circuit of it by running back home. It is a challenging 50 minute + run. I love the run for its variety of road, bush and sea. - 4/16/2016 7:07:43 AM
  • i live on a lake in a rural area. i have pretty much two route choices when I go out my door - north or south! The road is asphalt with no sidewalks or shoulders, but at least there is little traffic (except for summer weekends). There are a number of hills, so that puts some challenge into it. The best part is the lake view, the birds, and the occasional deer or fox. - 4/4/2016 3:07:03 PM
  • For some reason I enjoy walking on rocky, uneven trails. I think it's the concentration needed to pick routes through the rock. I do use a walking stick on rocky and steep trails. - 2/2/2016 11:00:49 AM
  • I enjoy walking period, but choosing a bridge to walk is awesome as you know the length you will be walking, the steep hill on both sides along with not having much traffic to cause you to stop in your tracks for lights to change. I will start hitting the bridge along with different terrains other than in the home. - 1/16/2016 10:57:35 PM
  • MANISHVSHAH
    Yeh You are Right - 4/14/2015 11:17:17 PM
  • The community where I live is remote without much traffic. My best part of my walking route is through the park where the walkways are rubbery. Wonderfully bouncy. My main concern is always animals that could present danger. No bathrooms though and if I need to I can go in the bush but prefer not to. - 7/6/2014 4:08:10 PM
  • KZINRRET
    One thing missing in this article is bathrooms! I can carry plenty of water with me and seats are pretty easy to come by (even the ground works in a pinch), but I make sure all my routes have plenty of bathroom stops available. Nothing kills the enjoyment of a walk faster than a full bladder with no relief in sight! - 6/27/2014 6:07:03 PM
  • Few runners run on the sidewalks because concrete is harder on the joints than asphalt. I alternate between each side of the road because the surface isn't flat; the road crowns in the center, which means whichever leg is closer to the center of the road is a little "shorter." Switching between the two sides of the roads evens out the stress on the knees.

    BUT - I never run wearing headphones, I keep my ears "open" listening for cars, in low light I wear light colored clothing and something retroreflective, and I recognize it's my responsibility to be as visible as possible. I know how much it upsets me to get "spooked" by someone who's wearing dark clothing and who doesn't appear to take their own safety seriously. - 6/11/2014 8:05:24 PM
  • "use sidewalks whenever possible" ...my husband (DH) says that on his very early AM trips to work (dark out), he frequently comes close to joggers on the roads where there ARE sidewalks. They are running WITH traffic, and he feels like they are setting themselves up to get hit. What's the deal???!

    Out here on the rural roads, there are no shoulders, just ditches. It really isn't possible to get off the road every time a car goes by. Cars don't much give a care if there is a car going both ways. -- I find that walking with nordic poles seems to cause the cars to move over and give me space. - 4/5/2014 10:42:26 PM
  • Portland Oregon has the Waterfront, has lot of Parks. some with Walking Trails and other places to walk. Get our and Enjoy the Nice Weather this Summer. God Blessings to Everyone. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!


    - 6/13/2013 6:10:41 AM
  • I have a lovely park with all the things mentioned...chang
    ing seasons, a lake, a river (with a walking bridge across it), lots of people to chat with, and it is just a 2 mile bike ride away. - 10/21/2012 11:20:11 PM
  • The article had many interesting tips. I live out in the country so to pick scenic routes to walk would mean me driving. I live on a street that is several miles long, flat & hilly that I can walk on when I don't have time to go somewhere. - 10/21/2012 6:41:55 PM
  • I used to try walking 'every day' but found that I kept postponing throughout the day 'til it was too late!!! Then I joined a MEETUP group and now have walking buddies - sure makes the walk enjoyable. We walk daily at 8:30 am for an hour - home by 9:45. Also found a Meetup Nordic group and walk on Saturday morning with them.

    There are many meetup groups out there - or maybe start you own!

    - 10/21/2012 2:02:08 PM
  • DAWNLEO
    I have been trying to find when you first start walking how long do I wakling for??? - 9/11/2012 10:42:47 PM
  • A couple of times I have had to google abbreviations. I know it is part of the texting world...but cannot find DH. What does that mean? As for walking, I just bought a pedometer to try and GET me on track (haha). I do have a great neighborhood to walk in, small town with great shops and cafes and a park with walking trails. I just need to do it! I am so frustrated with the scale going up and down the same four pounds every other week. Ugh. - 8/17/2012 7:40:17 AM

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