Never Run the Same Trail Twice: a Mental Hack for Easier Running

The other day I hiked around Tennessee’s Lake Radnor, and I started jogging when I hit the broader part of the trail. Despite not having run for several days, I found myself taking a run in stride across sometimes-tricky terrain (uneven and cracked asphalt).

I’ve been running a bit more lately as part of my regimen for getting in shape, so I’ve been taking mental notes. Running is usually difficult, and if I had run this distance at home, it would have been a chore. But instead, running around this beautiful lake, running was a pleasure.

The novelty seems to be the thing for me in running. If I know how much distance I’ll be covering (and over what ground), I’m a lot more likely to experience running as drudgery. I’m simply pushing my body to its limit and not giving it anything new. I expect the suffering and anticipate it, instead of waiting with anticipation to be surprised by new sights and new challenges.

When I run on new ground and discover new routes (like I did on Lake Radnor), I’m getting the feedback of new experience and adventure, which makes my running seem justified. There’s nothing like running in a new place – it’s one of the most joyful and energetic ways to explore.

If you want to make running a regular part of your life, there’s something to be said for mixing up your routes. Run on unfamiliar terrain. Run on beaches. Run across grassy fields. Run on mountain trails. Run around lakes. Run through different paths in your neighborhood. Pair exercise with exploration. You are training after all, and a properly-trained person knows how to get things done in any place and time.

 

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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