Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Give Yourself the Gift of Strength

Getting gifts for folks is hard. Nobody really wants a talking toaster. "Rye? I love rye! Give me that rye! Nom nom nom. Just kidding. I'm not really eating your bread. Here you are. Toasted to perfection! Please love me."

Something most people do want is to be fit, to be healthy, to be attractive. Unfortunately you can't exactly put that in a box and hand it to them. "This is exactly what I wanted! I was so tired of being fat!"

I mean, you could get them a three month gym membership. But they'd likely flip the card over several times hoping it's actually a three month Netflix membership. Then they'd fake a smile and say, "thanks, I'll totally never use this. Good job throwing away money and making me feel shitty about myself."
"I can't believe we actually used that gym membership."
But, you can give yourself that gift. And you don't even have to wait for the holidays. You can give it to yourself today. You can give it to yourself right now. Sure, it won't give you the kind of instant gratification that a hamburger or a new TV would. But it's a gift you will thank yourself for - for the rest of your life.

But we're all addicted to that instant gratification. Cheap treats. Fast rewards. We want it NOW. We don't want to have to work for it. We don't want to put in all the effort to get something months later. Nobody would buy new pants if they couldn't wear them for six months. "In half a year, I'm going to look awesome!"

That last quote was supposed to be a joke referring to the pants. But it's totally true when it comes to exercise. If you start a new routine, and stick with it, you will look awesome in six months. Sitting right now, reading this, just pretend that six months ago you had started doing something new. right now you would be pretty good at that thing. You would notice a big difference in yourself. If you had started it six months ago, you'd be reaping those rewards and thanking yourself right now.

"Well six minutes ago I ate a bug and I'm still thanking myself."
But it's never too late to start. Unless you're 90 and have to have all your food pureed first, you still have plenty of time. People often have an excuse to wait. "I'll start once I have more free time." "I'll start when it gets nice out." "I'll start when I can afford fancy pink running shoes." "I'll start after I've defeated this tentacled monster from beyond the cosmos."

There's always something. I don't know if these folks actually believe that at some point in the arbitrary future, they will suddenly want to work hard on a daily basis. More likely it's because they don't actually want to spend hours every day sweating and aching, but will pretend like they do. "Yes, I absolutely would love to get up while it's still dark and work out despite my whole body feeling broken. That sounds really lovely. I'll start as soon as I've finished binge watching Orange is the New Black. Also there's all this ice cream I have to finish. But seriously, right after that."

No. It will never happen. If you're not willing to start right now, then you never will. I mean, I still don't "want" to get up at 6am every morning to do deadlifts. I don't "want" to run after work when it's dark and it's raining. I don't "want" to go to the gym on a Saturday some time in between pancakes and beer. But I also don't have any legitimate excuses not to. Any time I make an excuse, I'm always dead honest with myself:

- "I won't do it right now because I'm a lazy piece of shit."

- "I won't do it right now because I'm totally willing to settle for mediocrity."

- "I'd rather stay in bed, even though I'm not actually going to get any more sleep and really I just f@*king suck at life."

The old me was totally OK with sucking at life.
When I put it like that to myself, I just go and do it. What difference does it make? If I don't exercise, I'll just do nothing instead. There's a zero percent chance that I'll do something else meaningful. Actually, there is a difference. The difference is that if I don't get up and exercise, I'll be weaker. Physically weaker. Weaker willed. Weaker in spirit.

I gave myself the gift of being strong. It's a gift that grows better every day, and that I'm increasingly thankful for every day. This is one gift I have no plan on exchanging. And it's one that anybody who wants it can have. Kind of hard to pass up when you think of it that way, eh?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holidays = More Time to Exercise!

For a lot of folks, the holidays are a time to relax and eat a ton of food. I can be compassionate and understanding here. And usually I am. Not this time.

Most people are corpulent slackers.

No matter how much they complain about being busy and tired all the time, they spend a lot of their evenings and weekends on the couch. And they eat whatever the heck they want whenever they want. And for the vast majority of them, it shows (and I used "vast" as a double entendre there).

Don't worry, I used to be corpulent too.

Don't get me wrong. Most of us are totally burned out. Work, family, Fox News, and all the other bullshit in our lives just nukes our energy. But you know what recharges you and makes you feel awesome? Exercise!

I know, most people are thinking, "wait, I'm already exhausted. How in balls am I going to run or go to the gym?" These are the same people who are looking forward to a few days off work so they can sit on the couch, um, more, and eat more food, because it's the holidays and that's what "everyone" does so there's no guilt. Do you know what I'm going to do on the holidays? I'm going to exercise a ton, because I'll have plenty of time and sufficient sleep (for a change).

I'll also eat and rest, but there's plenty of time for that. It doesn't have to be the only thing I do. Considering that I squeeze every spare moment I have during the work week to lift and run, the holidays will feel luxurious. And because I already have a powerful routine of working out every day, it won't be hard to do it during the holiday break. If anything it'll be easier.

And even though I said that pigging out during the holidays is "guilt free", it's not really. A lot of these same sloths will then make a New Year's "resolution" to hit the gym, or the Pilates DVD, or that dusty gazelle in the corner, and to lose that holiday weight. 0% of these people will succeed.

You don't need motivation. You don't need energy. Many people believe they do, which is why they crap out after a couple of weeks into their resolution. It's why most folks don't exercise after work. They think they need motivation or energy or time or whatever. You don't need any of those things. Seriously.

You don't need motivation or energy. Just terror.

If your car breaks, it doesn't matter if you're the president's personal assistant. You will have no problem finding the "time" to go fix your car. If you get a call from the school that your kid has developed purple spots, it doesn't matter if you have a massive project deadline. That kid will be in your car in 15 minutes or less. You're not "motivated" to fix your car. You don't have the "energy" to deal with a sick kid. And you definitely don't have the "time" for either of those things.

And yet, magically, those things get done.

Exercise is like that. It's a thing that has to be done. So it gets done. The end.

The holidays aren't any different for me. There's nothing special about that time of the year. Well, actually, there is. I have more time in which to exercise. That's awesome. I have a baseline amount I exercise normally. 6 days of deadlifts per week. About 50 miles of running per week. Two upper body weight lifting sessions per week. About 20 miles of walking. And karate. Those are things I don't have a choice about doing, like going to work. But during the holidays, I'll have the time, energy, and motivation to do more than just what I "have" to do. Isn't that great?

Schedule today: Walk, lift, break bricks, run

You think I'm insane. Fine. Even fellow runners and lifters often think I'm insane. I'm not broken. I'm not filling a sad empty life with exercise (I have a lot of social engagements I have to juggle with my already full schedule). I'm not going to crack my body in half any second. I used to get injured all the time, when I exercised only sporadically. Now my body is made of steel and granite.

See? Social engagements. Ahem.

People who need a resolution or motivation to work out or eat healthy are going to fail. People who just want to do it are going to fail. People who impulse buy a special exercise program or pretty new sweat pants are going to fail. If exercise is anything less than something you have to do, you won't keep doing it.

That's just how it is. Humans are lazy. You will never want to work out. Your body will never give you extra energy. Your mind won't get suddenly motivated. This may seem defeating. But the fact is, you can start running, lifting, or doing whatever right now. You can just get up and do it. There is literally nothing stopping you except you.

And if you're a maniac like me, you're looking forward to the holiday break because it'll give you even more time in which to beat yourself up. Woo!

"Alright, you've got me psyched up. I'm just gonna go for it!"

Friday, December 11, 2015

Running with a Watch

Some people don't like to wear a watch when they run. They prefer to soar like a wild eagle, unencumbered by bulky technology. They prefer to run by feel, rather than having an obnoxious wrist robot beeping, "you're running slower than a turtle that just had tacos." Tacos make you gassy.

Not me. When I run without my watch, I feel like I'm supposed to enjoy the run for the sake of itself. Like I can just ignore the fact that my legs are about to explode and that my stomach is full of tacos with extra beans. I like having all those stats at my finger tips, telling me exactly how much I do or don't suck.

Here is a thing in big letters to get you excited so you read the rest of this article.

Plus, if I don't run with my watch, how am I supposed to share every single run with the world? I know all of my friends are secretly deeply impressed that I ran 11 miles despite staying up, like, an hour later than usual the night before. "How does that maniac do it?!"

I don't wear a watch throughout the day (see above about wild eagles). But when I hit the pavement, it suddenly becomes a necessity. I'd sooner run without shorts. Although that would be a short-lived run.

"I'm a wild eagle."

In any event, there are a bunch of stats the watch offers. And despite the fact that I didn't advertise it in the title, surprise! This is a list article. Here's some of the data fields you can usually access, and how I personally like to use them.

Time Elapsed

I rarely check the total elapsed time. Sometimes I want to figure out what time it is, and I'll add the elapsed time to my start time to figure it out. I can probably press a button to just SEE what time it is, but I'm too paranoid that I'll screw something up. Of course, I usually forget when I started, other than that it was really cold and I really didn't feel like running.

The only other time I may look at the elapsed time is if I'm running a race and trying to get under a certain time or to set a PR. I'm not going to knock a minute of my last mile, but I may be able to knock off a couple seconds. Also, if I'm running a marathon, it's nice to check the elapsed time at the halfway point to see if I'm on track with my goal time.

But on most of my training runs, I don't look at the elapsed time.


This is another thing I don't look at. Checking out the total distance I've run is usually depressing. It reminds me how little I've run and how much I still have left. I prefer to chunk up my runs into minigoals: one mile, a certain landmark, etc. Looking at my total distance makes me feel like I only have one goal: to finish. And usually that's really far away.

When I look at the time, I at least can see the seconds ticking by and feel like I'm making progress. But with the distance, you can look at your watch, look back up to avoid crashing into a street sign, and not have the distance change at all in that time. It makes you feel like you're running zero miles per hour (which is not that far off for some of my runs...). And if you obsessively look at your watch as often as I do, that distance will usually only creep up by tiny fractions, which also makes it feel like you'll be running for the rest of your life.

So no, I don't like to see my distance.

I don't want to know how far I've run.
Just give me something pretty to look at.


The regular pace data field sucks. I don't know what algorithm the watch uses to figure this out, but it's usually useless. If I actually need the information - for example if I'm doing intervals and need to go a certain speed, or I just crested a hill, or I'm sprinting the last bit of a race - the pace catches up too late to matter. I much prefer the lap pace (below).

Heart Rate

This is my favorite field. I like to see how close my heart is to exploding. Or at the very least, to gauge my level of effort. Sometimes a run will feel harder than what your heart rate indicates, and occasionally (= rarely) easier. But as a general rule this is a good indicator.

When it comes to training runs, I use my heart rate to determine if I'm on track with my training goal. If I'm doing intervals or other speed work, then I usually want it really high. If I'm doing a long run, I'll want it lower, so I don't burn out too soon. It takes some experience to figure out where your heart rate should be for different types of runs, but once you get used to it, it becomes a really useful metric. I'm not going to give you a bunch of math or charts here. Just do a few runs and figure it out intuitively.

For me, where the heart rate data really shines is on race day. I have a pretty solid idea of where my heart rate should be at for any given distance: In the 150 range for marathons, 160 range for half marathons, and around 170 for shorter races. And it's not uncommon for it to hit about 185 for my epic sprint finish. Of course, you have to first to get comfortable with the heart rate data via your training runs. Don't buy a watch and wear it the first time on a race. That will screw you up.

The heart rate is also useful on hills. I try not to slow down on hills (when I'm racing). This naturally causes my heart rate to climb. However, it's at the top that I focus in on it. It's not uncommon to slow down a bit at the top of a hill to catch your breath. I use my heart rate here to make sure that it doesn't drop TOO much at the top. I know that my heart rate will drop in any case, so I try to push through the pain at the top of the hill and maintain my pace as closely as possible. Watching my heart rate insures that I don't go too fast up the hill, or too slow once I'm at the top.

Also, if I zone out due to pretty scenery, or get distracted by a group of runners (perhaps with nice butts) or some other obstacle, I'll glance at my heart rate to make sure that I haven't lost track of my pace. It's easy to get excited and speed up too much, or to zone out and slow down to a more comfortable pace. Racing isn't about comfort! It's about kicking ass! But not too much ass. You don't want to fall on your face after the first mile.

My heart rate says 200 but I'm still alive!


Lap Time

This is another field I like. As with the overall time, I don't want to look at this too often. But this is a good indicator of how far into a given mile I am. I prefer using the lap time over the lap distance because of the reasons I mentioned above under distance. Distance is discouraging, but doing rough math using the lap time abstracts it for me.

This is also an important field if you're doing interval work where you're trying to hit very specific times per interval. You can use the button on your watch to end the lap and start the next lap. At least my watch is cool enough to have this feature.

By default, my watch laps every mile. If I'm running a race, I use the lap time to make sure I'm on track with my pace. For example in a 5K, I may want a fast first mile, a slower "recovery" mile on the second one, and then a lightning fast sprint for the third mile. And with longer races, I want to make sure I'm not running too fast early on. Burning out at the end of a marathon sucks.

And I want to make sure to finish the
marathon so I can have beer after!!

Photo Cr. Pixie

Lap Pace

I like this field too. The lap time above is useful for determining your mile pace towards the end of the mile, but early on, it's hard to tell. But the lap pace will give you a pretty accurate pace after about a tenth of a mile.

If you're
doing speed work, you want to watch this field closely to make sure you're not going too fast or too slow. Just keep in mind that it takes a few seconds for the lap pace to "catch up" to any change your make. So if you're running a little too slow, and then pick up your pace, it's possible to overcompensate and get too fast of a lap time.
It may be nice to get an extra fast lap time, but you'll suffer towards the end of your speed workout.

This is
also a nice field if you're trying to maintain even splits on your long runs. The reason to do this is to prepare you for races, where you need to keep your pace right on the razor edge of fast enough but not too fast.

And sometimes, if I'm out for a casual run, and I see that my pace is, say, 8:04, I'll speed up before the end of the mile just so I can get that sub 8 min/mile split. But that's just my big fat ego. It is very big. And very fat.

Other fields

There are plenty of other data fields to pick from as well, like cadence, calories burned, elevation, etc. I don't care about any of these during the run. I prefer to look at them after the run is done.

I've never been terribly obsessive about my cadence (steps/minute). It's only very recently that I've started paying attention to it (thanks largely to Geoffrey). But even though I want to have a decently high cadence, I don't worry about it enough to want to see it during my run. However, if you're making a big effort to work on your cadence, this may be worth displaying.

Geoffrey is full of knowledge. Knowledge and booze.

Calories burned? What the heck am I going to do with that info during a run? It's not like I'm carrying a bag of french fries and eating one every time I burn 10 calories. The only reason i would do that is for the bewildered expressions from onlookers. If seeing your calorie count go up is motivating for you, then go for it. Otherwise there's much for valuable information to display in the limited space on your watch.

Elevation? "Oh, I've only climbed 400 feet. Let me find another mountain." No. Maybe if you're following the guidance of a training coach, and they're OCD about you hitting an exact elevation on your hill workouts. But even then, just plan out your run ahead of time.

There are other fields I don't even know about. I just looked online and saw that there is a "power" field. I guess maybe if I was a robot I would care. And then of course there are many variations of the fields I mentioned above. Feel free to experiment with your watch to find your favorites.

On my Garmin, I have two screens. The one I use the most has heart rate, lap time, and lap pace. The other screen, which I almost never look at, has overall time, overall distance, and average pace. But this was just the default screen the watch came with. And I took all of 3 seconds to learn how to use my watch. So for now it stays.

Monday, December 7, 2015

You Don't Need Energy

Whatever you make your body do, it will do. It prefers to be lazy. If you let it be lazy, it will absolutely take advantage of that. And it will thank you! Feed it ice cream and your body will f^&king love you.

However, the more you do, the more you will find yourself capable of doing. You do not need energy. You only need will.

You only need will.

Your body is amazing. It is powerful. It is designed so that in a pinch, you can outrun a dinosaur. You can lift up a boulder. You can punch a sabertooth tiger in the face. But why wait for a life-threatening emergency to test your limits? You can punch through those limits every single day.

You have to convince your body every day that it needs to go to its max and beyond. You have to trick it. Because there's no way it's going to say, "oh hey, by the way, I can totally run marathons and bench press small cars." No. Your body is going to say, "oh, couch? Yes. I love the couch. Couch is the best."

"Couch is the best."

You can't wait for your body to tell you that it's OK to run. Or that it's OK to lift. Or that it's OK to destroy it with brutally hard work. It will never tell you that's OK. You have to tell your body what you want it to do. You have to decide. And then your body will say, "well, I don't see a sabertooth tiger anywhere, but I trust you."

I discover this every day when I run. I discover this every day when I do my deadlift challenge. I'm exhausted. I haven't gotten enough sleep. My body is complaining - loudly - that it just wants to chill out. But I refuse to give in. And when I start exercising, my body gives me the strength. That strength is there, it's always there. But if you never use it, you won't ever know that it's there.

All that it takes is a decision. Decide what you want to do. Don't worry about whether your body can or can't handle it. It can. It so can. But if you honestly don't believe that your body is capable of much more than you assume, you will never know. It will never feel that you can step out the door and run for hours. It will never feel that you can step up to the weights and make them airborne. It will never feel like you can conquer any and all of life's challenges.

You have to force your body to do what it's forced to do. It sucks but that's the truth. Whatever you want to accomplish, you have to dive into the deepest end and go for it. You can't dip your toe in. You can't wade into the shallow end and see how it feels. You just have to dive in head first. It's only at that point your body says, "holy shit! We're going to die if I don't do this! OK here we go!"

You're dying a little bit every day. But it takes a LOT to actually kill you. And the weird thing is, by pushing yourself where your body thinks you might die, it makes you more alive. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. It's the only way you get to experience life to the maximum. It's the only way to make yourself strong. Otherwise you will slowly and quietly die. That's a waste.

Because on that last day your body will say, "hey, why didn't you do all that stuff you wanted to do?"

"I didn't think I could," you'll reply.

"Oh, well, you totally could have. I would've been fine."

"Why didn't you tell me that?"

"Because I'm an asshole."

"Ignore this blog. Your body isn't capable of shit."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

8 Running Routes: Pros and Cons

A lot of runners will tell you that you enter a sort of meditative state when you run for a long time. This is true..... sometimes.

Sometimes, a run is just BORING.

You spend the whole time dreaming about how much food you will eat when you get home. On Saturday I ran 8 miles. The whole time I was fantasizing about the Grape Nuts I was going to eat afterwards. Grape Nuts! I kept thinking, "I'll slice up some bananas in there. Oh, and raisins! And chocolate chips! What else can I put in this cereal? Do I even need the cereal part?"

However, it is possible to make runs more fun and engaging. One way to do this is to change your route. Below are eight different types of runs that will hopefully keep you from going insane and day dreaming about dry cereal.

1. Out and Back

An Out and Back run is one where you run half the distance, and then run back the same way. Pretty simple, huh?

  • For me personally, I mentally only have to run half the distance. For example if I'm planning an 8 mile run, I tell myself that I only have to run 4 miles. Then once I hit 4 miles, I have no choice but to turn around and run back. Ha, brain! I tricked you! Seriously though, this works.
  • Mapping out the run is really simple. In fact, you can just go outside and start running in any direction, and then turn around when you hit half the distance. I'm lazy, so this appeals to me.
  • You can more easily adjust for how hilly you want the run, since you're only planning for half the distance. And if you run UP a big hill, you get to run back down on your way back. And you can even yell "wooo" the whole way down. This entertains passing drivers. Or scares them. I'm not sure which.
  • For the second half of the run, your brain knows you're running towards home. This often makes you run faster. No really. 
  • Among all the runs, this one will get you the farthest from your starting point. This is a problem if you bonk and can't run back, especially if you didn't bring your phone. I often don't carry my phone with me, because I'm stupid. Every time I hit the halfway point of my out-and-back, I always think, "ok, here comes the broken leg."
  • There's less change in scenery. You're going to pass by all the same spots twice. So this can make things staid. "Oh look, there's that grocery store again. And there's that homeless guy out front, staring at me forlornly." The way to get around this is to be totally oblivious to your surroundings, like I usually am. No, this is not safe.
  • Counter to the last pro above, for the FIRST half of this run, you're running AWAY from home, and away from tortilla chips and salsa. This makes your brain sad. Oh so sad.
Guess I better get used to this view.

2. Loop

This is a run that starts and ends at your house. It may not look like a perfect loop. More likely it'll look like a malformed eggplant, or a can opener that doesn't open cans.


  • You're not usually too far from your starting point, so if you get hurt or tired, you can cut the run short. Like a wuss.
  • Assuming you planned the run out right, you don't have to take any detours or double back. You just follow the loop, and when you get home, you're done! Being done is the best.
  • If you're running counterclockwise, you can run against traffic the whole time, and avoid having to cross as many streets. Yay safety! Do people even use clocks anymore? Do folks still know what "counterclockwise" means?


  • It may not always be possible to plan a route of a specific distance that fits into a neat loop. If you're OK with the distance being imprecise, this is fine. I planned on doing 6 or 7 miles on Monday and ended up doing 8. Oops!
  • There are only so many loops you can do around your house before you run out. So they can get repetitive, unless you mix them up with the other routes on this list.
You ran without me, so I found a way to keep myself busy.

3. Weaving

This means running back and forth on a bunch of streets. You may cross a lot of the same streets, or even run the same street more than once. This run will often look like a blocky zig-zag on your map, or perhaps like a deranged toddler took a crayon to your wall.

  • This run usually covers a small area. This means you can often stay close to home, and more easily avoid high traffic areas or hills (if you desire). Also, you get to pretend you're stalking someone's house. If that's fun for you. Ahem.
  • You can easily add some weaving to the beginning or end of any other style of run to add some distance.
  • This is a great run for speed workouts. You run fast and just turn when you have to, staying in a small area and avoiding traffic. You can even plan ahead so that the blocks you run roughly correspond to the distance of your intervals (if you're doing interval training).
  • I'm sure you're very familiar with your neighborhood, and running up and down those streets is not terribly interesting. And you inevitably cringe when you approach that one house with the pitbull on steroids. I love pitbulls, but seriously: Stop giving them drugs!
  • Even though it feels fast running down a short block, when you look at your watch, you realize you've only covered a third of a mile. This means a lot of weaving. On the plus side, you don't notice this much on speed workouts, as you're much more focused on your pace.
  •  I mentioned under the pros that you can add this to another run (say a loop) to add distance. However, after having already run 8 miles and being so close to home, it can be really tough to turn down some random street just to add mileage. Yuck! If you know your loop isn't long enough, plan ahead and add the weaving in the beginning.
Maybe I should've paid more attention to the turns I took.
Photo Cr. CG Photography

4. Trail

Technically, the runs above could be road or trail. But I mention this here separately in case you're primarily a road runner. Running trails is quite different than running on roads, and is an easy way to add variety to your week.


  • Trails usually are much prettier than roads, with lots of turns and hills and what not. This keeps you quite engaged the whole time, making the run feel much shorter and more fun. Just don't run in to the waterfall.
  • You're often alone on trails, with no traffic or obnoxious dogs or other people. This gives you plenty of time to relax, think about things, or just enjoy your surroundings. You can even talk to yourself without anyone else knowing what a lunatic you are.
  • A trail can often be easier on the feet, if it's mostly grass, earth, or pine needles. Although if it has a lot of turns or hills, you risk injury in other ways.


  • Trails can often be "technical", meaning that they have a lot of turns, hills, and obstacles. This makes the chance of injury much higher, especially if there are wet leaves or snow or something else. Run carefully! At least calling a trail "technical" makes you sound, like, really athletic.
  • Related to the point above, running on a trail is slower than running on a road. You won't notice that it's slower, because it's more engaging, but when you look at your pace at the end, you may be disappointed. Don't look to set any records here!
  • If you do get injured - and it's more likely on a trail than on a road - finding help is a lot harder. You may find yourself limping or dragging your broken body a few miles before you hit civilization. Try not to get eaten by a bear!
If you decide to run on a trail, be careful, and - as Scar would say - be prepared!

OK, maybe this is a bit too technical.

5. Track

A track workout is just that: Running on a track. The ones nearest you are usually school tracks, so make sure to find out first when they're available to the public.


  • Zero mapping or planning ahead of time. You show up, run your laps, hit your distance, and go home. Home to sweet sweet whiskey.
  • Ideal for speed workouts. Tracks make it super easy to do intervals or other speed work. Even if you're not using a watch, you can just run two laps to hit an 800K. Or run a million laps and hit 250,000 miles. So easy!
  • Springy surface makes you faster and reduces injury. Always a nice benefit. Just watch out for that one stupid bench that always seems to get left out.

  • Literally zero change in scenery. Boring city. Unless you're doing speed work or something else that engages you the whole time, a track workout can be an epic snooze-fest.
  • You usually have to drive to a track. This takes some extra time and scheduling. With a road run, you can literally step out of your house and be running, even if you don't have much time to spare.
  • Getting kicked out by the football team. Happens. You sneak in, see that nobody's using it, and then start running. 20 minutes later, 8 minivans of kids and coaches show up and start hurling balls at you. Eep!
Just this. A lot.

6. Destination

A destination run involves driving to an interesting location and running there. This could be when you're already driving somewhere for vacation or some other reason. Or it could be a drive to the state forest half an hour away.


  • You get to run in a brand new place for the first time ever. It stays interesting the whole time. "I've never seen that particular pine cone! Wow!" This is pretty much the only pro. However, it's a big one, and makes for a really fun run, especially if you're lucky enough to have a beach or some other beautiful location within driving distance of you. No, Walmart is not a "destination".

  • You have to drive to get there. Duh. But if you already have to drive somewhere (or fly!), then you may as well go for as many runs as you can in a new place!
  • Planning for a specific distance or type of run (eg. tempo) can be challenging. You may end up taking a lot of random turns and getting lost, or staring at the map on your phone while you run (which is dangerous). Take a look at a map ahead of time, and be OK with not hitting your exact goal. Better yet, be OK with getting lost and running a few extra miles. Worst case you can turn around and go back the way you came.
  • You often can't call a friend to pick you if you get lost or hurt. Although you can still call a taxi if you need to. Of course the easy solution is travel with a friend or loved one! Assuming you have friends, you weirdo.

Ultimately all destinations lead to this.

7. Race

This is why you train! A race is typically a destination run, unless it's local. But in any case it will usually be different than the training runs you're used to.

  • It's a race!! Do I really need to go into the list of reasons why this is awesome? Races are super fun, you get to run with a ton of other people, and you'll run faster than pretty much any other time that you run.
  • If you fall down, there's a ton of people who can help you immediately. This is the only time you don't have to worry about getting stuck alone.
  • Seriously, races are super fun. Even if you're one of those solitary runners who's like, "I just do it for me, man. Screw races," or you think you're too slow to race, do it anyway! They can help keep you motivated to improve.

  • You have to get up stupidly early.
  • You have to pack all your shit and make sure not to forget anything.
  • You have to take a lot of poops.
  • You get really nervous right beforehand.
  • More pooping.
Seriously though, the "cons" just make it more fun. Doooo it. Here's the only real con to racing:
  • They smash your wallet. I love racing, but it's expensive. Plan ahead and make sure to budget carefully. But hey, free shirts!
Seriously though, you can't forget anything.

8. Treadmill

Treadmills suck.