For many of us, one of the greatest joys of running is being able to explore unfamiliar places and immerse ourselves in new surroundings. From leafy hidden pathways to undiscovered shortcuts, the sense of adventure is a big part of what keeps running exciting.
With the UK government advising that we should be keeping our outdoor exercise local (no heading off to those far-flung beauty spots), our route options have now shrunk - especially if you don’t have the advantage of endless sprawling countryside right on your back door.
Mixing up your running routine under the current circumstances requires some innovative thinking and a pinch of creativity. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you keep the same route interesting, while making sure you’re still running responsibly and safely.
Run every street in your village/town/local area
That’s right, every single street - within reason. We're not suggesting that if you live in London that you should be doggedly pounding every single pavement within it's 1,572 km2 radius - keep it local and responsible!
With around 80% of the population now classified as living in urban areas, the chances are that most of us will have local running routes that include roads, streets and pathways. Running in your local area could give you a new perspective on where you live, opening up routes you may never have considered before. You may even discover some hidden gems along the way that you never knew existed.
Include some interval training
The combination of social distancing and single-track trails means that meeting other runners can be a bit of a logistical challenge. If you need to step off the pathway to allow someone to pass safely, there's no reason that your exercise needs to come to a standstill.
Use the opportunity to do some on the spot interval training - whether it's sprinting on the spot, some quick star jumps or even just a few lunges, keeping moving will keep your heart rate up and make it easier to get back into your stride.
Maintaining social distancing isn't the only time interval training can be useful. Include it wherever you run to shake up your route, improve your stamina and challenge different muscle groups.
Run your usual route backwards
Sounds simple, but you’ll be surprised by how different your usual route looks when you’re running it the other way. Changes in the terrain - that monster of a hill suddenly becomes a breezy downhill section - also means you target different muscle groups, making you stronger and less prone to injury.
Take it online
Apps like Strava means it’s easier than ever to discover and share new routes in your local area. Take the opportunity to see what other runners are up to - you may find a new section of an old favourite, or discover something completely new.
Mix up your playlist
Sometimes just changing what you're listening to is enough to refresh your running route. Swapping your usual trance tracks for something more mellow could change the entire feel of your run - and you might even find a new 'must-have' for your running playlist.
Stay Safe, Keep Active and Run Responsibly.