How do you all pick your routes?

happysongbird

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Jul 1, 2011
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I think I need to find a little smoother route if I want to work on better times for my distance. Any thoughts from you longer distance runners? So much of the asphalt seems to be barely post chip seal and too much sidewalk doesn't really prepare my feet for road races, does it? I'm surprising myself by thinking of working up to 13.1 sometime next summer...
 
I just try to find the straightest routes with the least amount of traffic and traffic lights.
 
Yah, minimal traffic is key for me as well. I've never been able to motivate to run in really urban areas. All the stopping and starting really stinks. I also like circuits, not passing through on the same road or same part of a neighborhood twice during a run. My favorite routes are circuits around natural features, like around a lake, or around bridges on the Mississippi, going down one bank, crossing, and coming up the other. Here in the Twin Cities, mild chipseal is about as rough as it gets, so surfaces aren't really a consideration. In fact, I often seek out the chipseal just to keep my feet honest. I've also recently taken up doing intervals down on the hs track nearby. I could never do a long steady run looping around a track, but I don't mind it for 440 intervals, and the track's abrasive sandy gravel is good conditioning for my soles.
 
This is what I think the factors are:

1. Up until now the pace that my feet could handle on the rough asphalt/tar-covered-chip-seal-that-never-dies was about the same as the speed I had worked up to. Now, I am more frustrated because I could go faster in all ways except for the feet. Question: Will my feet ever get accustomed to running faster on this kind of surface? Is it good for me and I should still do it regularly enough to help condition my feet?

2. The terrain seems to change every 10 minutes. I would be frustrated putting my shoes on and off that frequently. It breaks up the run too much. Yes, it's probably partly more difficult because I wear socks with my Mocs. And I run with my dog. Always have to have one hand for the leash. Question: Do those of you who carry shoes slip them on and off multiple times during runs? Or once they are on, do they stay on? Do you wear socks?

3. I switched to totally barefoot because it made significant difference in my form, and thus injury. Now, even the barest of footwear is not as fun. I really like the open air feel aspect, too. It's hard to imagine there is a sandal with as good of ground feel as the Moc3s. Question: Does anyone who runs longer distances use sandals, and if so, what kind? I keep hearing about rubbing between toes and such? That worries me. And debris getting stuck in there?

Thanks for thinking about this with me!
 
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Once in a while to mix it up, I put nickle and pennies in a hat and pull them out one by one. Nickle is right and penny is left. I run the route I pull, (nickle, nickle, penny would be right, right left.) Sometimes I have to improvise so I don't run in a circle or so I don't end up in Jersey, but it mixes it up a bit.
 
This is what I think the factors are:

1. Up until now the pace that my feet could handle on the rough asphalt/tar-covered-chip-seal-that-never-dies was about the same as the speed I had worked up to. Now, I am more frustrated because I could go faster in all ways except for the feet. Question: Will my feet ever get accustomed to running faster on this kind of surface? Is it good for me and I should still do it regularly enough to help condition my feet?

2. The terrain seems to change every 10 minutes. I would be frustrated putting my shoes on and off that frequently. It breaks up the run too much. Yes, it's probably partly more difficult because I wear socks with my Mocs. And I run with my dog. Always have to have one hand for the leash. Question: Do those of you who carry shoes slip them on and off multiple times during runs? Or once they are on, do they stay on? Do you wear socks?

3. I switched to totally barefoot because it made significant difference in my form, and thus injury. Now, even the barest of footwear is not as fun. I really like the open air feel aspect, too. It's hard to imagine there is a sandal with as good of ground feel as the Moc3s. Question: Does anyone who runs longer distances use sandals, and if so, what kind? I keep hearing about rubbing between toes and such? That worries me. And debris getting stuck in there?

Thanks for thinking about this with me!

All questions to which I'd love to hear other's replies. Thanks for asking them.
 
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This is what I think the factors are:

3. I switched to totally barefoot because it made significant difference in my form, and thus injury. Now, even the barest of footwear is not as fun. I really like the open air feel aspect, too. It's hard to imagine there is a sandal with as good of ground feel as the Moc3s. Question: Does anyone who runs longer distances use sandals, and if so, what kind? I keep hearing about rubbing between toes and such? That worries me. And debris getting stuck in there?

Thanks for thinking about this with me!

I have the invisible shoes connect 4mm, and I use paracord 550 (friend got it at army surplus for me, big roll for like $10, will last through many lace changes). I consider them to have better groundfeel than my footbag winter soft stars (what are they again? the suede ones)---not moc3s, but I think they allegedly have a very thin sole. Pointy stuff still hurts, gravel can be felt, rough roads can still be unpleasant, even w/ the 4mm.

Anyhow, I thought I was going to have a fit about rubbing, but after some experimentation, and using paracord instead of the thicker stuff, it's a non issue. I was willing to experiment because I found huaraches to be so much nicer than wearing close toed shoes (can't ever find ones I like the fit for) and I knew I'd want shoes for the surfaces that took me where I wanted to run.
I'm very fussy about rubbing, and I'm here to say that it was possible to find a lacing/tie method that would keep me happy. I rarely fuss with my laces now. Maybe a quick adjustment at the beginning of a run, but mine ends up being slip on slip off because I hate lacing anything.
 
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I have the invisible shoes connect 4mm, and I use paracord 550 (friend got it at army surplus for me, big roll for like $10, will last through many lace changes). I consider them to have better groundfeel than my footbag winter soft stars (what are they again? the suede ones)---not moc3s, but I think they allegedly have a very thin sole. Pointy stuff still hurts, gravel can be felt, rough roads can still be unpleasant, even w/ the 4mm.

Anyhow, I thought I was going to have a fit about rubbing, but after some experimentation, and using paracord instead of the thicker stuff, it's a non issue. I was willing to experiment because I found huaraches to be so much nicer than wearing close toed shoes (can't ever find ones I like the fit for) and I knew I'd want shoes for the surfaces that took me where I wanted to run.
I'm very fussy about rubbing, and I'm here to say that it was possible to find a lacing/tie method that would keep me happy. I rarely fuss with my laces now. Maybe a quick adjustment at the beginning of a run, but mine ends up being slip on slip off because I hate lacing anything.
But, I have to wonder if your tofp is related to wearing them. That is one of the main reasons I took off the vffs. Still hitting too hard.
 
This is what I think the factors are:

1. Up until now the pace that my feet could handle on the rough asphalt/tar-covered-chip-seal-that-never-dies was about the same as the speed I had worked up to. Now, I am more frustrated because I could go faster in all ways except for the feet. Question: Will my feet ever get accustomed to running faster on this kind of surface? Is it good for me and I should still do it regularly enough to help condition my feet?

2. The terrain seems to change every 10 minutes. I would be frustrated putting my shoes on and off that frequently. It breaks up the run too much. Yes, it's probably partly more difficult because I wear socks with my Mocs. And I run with my dog. Always have to have one hand for the leash. Question: Do those of you who carry shoes slip them on and off multiple times during runs? Or once they are on, do they stay on? Do you wear socks?

3. I switched to totally barefoot because it made significant difference in my form, and thus injury. Now, even the barest of footwear is not as fun. I really like the open air feel aspect, too. It's hard to imagine there is a sandal with as good of ground feel as the Moc3s. Question: Does anyone who runs longer distances use sandals, and if so, what kind? I keep hearing about rubbing between toes and such? That worries me. And debris getting stuck in there?

Thanks for thinking about this with me!
1. Not sure, my feet actually seemed to get more sensitive to the rougher surfaces, I think I am becoming more of a minimalist because I don't like pain when running. Been running in sandals and trying to find a minshoe that fits my wideas* feet.

2. When I run barefoot I don't typically have to put on my sandals unless I am just over the uncomfortableness and pain, and at that point they stay on, usually.

3. I don't really run longer distances, but I know Pat Sweeney wears his Lunas for Ultras. For me, my long runs right now are 5-6 miles and I hate the strap between the toes. I just ordered some Unshoe Pah Tempes, the strap on these goes over the foot and not between the toes. I also hate how most sandals you have to adjust the straps periodically. From what I've heard, that's not really a problem with the Pah Tempe. I'll let you know how they workout once I get them.
 
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But, I have to wonder if your tofp is related to wearing them. That is one of the main reasons I took off the vffs. Still hitting too hard.

Could be. Never had tofp in a year of running bf/minimal, lots of minimal. this summer i built up to 35-45 mpw, then took a break. whenever i start up again with running lately, even after a month or more break, i go straight for 30 mile weeks, almost no gradual build up.

I've done hundreds of miles in the sandals with no foot pain whatsoever (well, sore muscles in arches once in a while after a 13 mile+ run here and there, but gone after 48hrs). Calves bother me plenty, but rarely my feet, and that's given bunions and many decades of orthotics and support shoes. I really have no business not being injured more.

this week got a bit of tofp following a couple of really intense running weeks, and after a 7 day stint where I logged more than 55 miles and did three runs of over 10 miles in the mix, after a couple weeks at the 40 mpw range. with shin splints still left over from my first half in labor day.

Do you have any idea how little planning I do for my "training"?
For example, you're now in the 8 mile range? Well, I showed myself I could run almost 8 miles one week this summer, and every week after that, I went up by between 2-4 miles for my long runs. No plan, no working up to it, just the logic of "gee I can run 8 miles. I bet that means I can run 11, or 12, let's try that in a few days"

In other words, I'm not what you would call an example of good, sensible training.
So if I get injured, it could be horrible form, or it could be that I'm a total idiot with no sense, or both.
;)
 
Could be. Never had tofp in a year of running bf/minimal, lots of minimal. this summer i built up to 35-45 mpw, then took a break. whenever i start up again with running lately, even after a month or more break, i go straight for 30 mile weeks, almost no gradual build up.

I've done hundreds of miles in the sandals with no foot pain whatsoever (well, sore muscles in arches once in a while after a 13 mile+ run here and there, but gone after 48hrs). Calves bother me plenty, but rarely my feet, and that's given bunions and many decades of orthotics and support shoes. I really have no business not being injured more.

this week got a bit of tofp following a couple of really intense running weeks, and after a 7 day stint where I logged more than 55 miles and did three runs of over 10 miles in the mix, after a couple weeks at the 40 mpw range. with shin splints still left over from my first half in labor day.

Do you have any idea how little planning I do for my "training"?
For example, you're now in the 8 mile range? Well, I showed myself I could run almost 8 miles one week this summer, and every week after that, I went up by between 2-4 miles for my long runs. No plan, no working up to it, just the logic of "gee I can run 8 miles. I bet that means I can run 11, or 12, let's try that in a few days"

In other words, I'm not what you would call an example of good, sensible training.
So if I get injured, it could be horrible form, or it could be that I'm a total idiot with no sense, or both.
;)
Good explanation. Thanks!
 
1. Not sure, my feet actually seemed to get more sensitive to the rougher surfaces, I think I am becoming more of a minimalist because I don't like pain when running. Been running in sandals and trying to find a minshoe that fits my wideas* feet.

2. When I run barefoot I don't typically have to put on my sandals unless I am just over the uncomfortableness and pain, and at that point they stay on, usually.

3. I don't really run longer distances, but I know Pat Sweeney wears his Lunas for Ultras. For me, my long runs right now are 5-6 miles and I hate the strap between the toes. I just ordered some Unshoe Pah Tempes, the strap on these goes over the foot and not between the toes. I also hate how most sandals you have to adjust the straps periodically. From what I've heard, that's not really a problem with the Pah Tempe. I'll let you know how they workout once I get them.
Great input! I really appreciate what everyone has to say.
 
Do you have any idea how little planning I do for my "training"?
For example, you're now in the 8 mile range? Well, I showed myself I could run almost 8 miles one week this summer, and every week after that, I went up by between 2-4 miles for my long runs. No plan, no working up to it, just the logic of "gee I can run 8 miles. I bet that means I can run 11, or 12, let's try that in a few days"

In other words, I'm not what you would call an example of good, sensible training.
So if I get injured, it could be horrible form, or it could be that I'm a total idiot with no sense, or both.
;)
This is exactly what I was doing when my PF flared up really bad... But, I am also a bit chunky which does play a big role in one getting injured too.
 
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But, I have to wonder if your tofp is related to wearing them. That is one of the main reasons I took off the vffs. Still hitting too hard.
And that said, yeah, I do feel like my form is a bit different pure bf, and I'd prefer that if I weren't a winter and running surface sissy.
I don't think it's the huaraches per se, or the lacing or whatever, as much as simply wearing any shoe.
 
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And that said, yeah, I do feel like my form is a bit different pure bf, and I'd prefer that if I weren't a winter and running surface sissy.
I don't think it's the huaraches per se, or the lacing or whatever, as much as simply wearing any shoe.
It's that lack of feedback that the footwear is blocking. Even the thinnest of soles still blocks some of the feedback causing you to slightly alter your form. I have to really consciously think about my form for the first mile or two, but then after a little while I "find" my form and don't have to think as much.
 
Oh, and as far as picking my routes, I like to explore. I'll have a general idea that I'm going to head out one direction, then while out I'll see a road I haven't been down so I'll decide to go down it. I did this yesterday and found myself at the bottom of a big hill, both directions. It was great! I don't like covering the same route in a run, but I frequently have to because I am trying to keep my distances down. Pretty soon, just another mile or two more or so and I'll be able to start opening my routes to a big circuit, but I have to be in the 7-8 mile range for those.
 
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Oh, and as far as picking my routes, I like to explore. I'll have a general idea that I'm going to head out one direction, then while out I'll see a road I haven't been down so I'll decide to go down it. I did this yesterday and found myself at the bottom of a big hill, both directions. It was great! I don't like covering the same route in a run, but I frequently have to because I am trying to keep my distances down. Pretty soon, just another mile or two more or so and I'll be able to start opening my routes to a big circuit, but I have to be in the 7-8 mile range for those.
Yah, it's nice when you can do higher mileage. It opens up a lot more route possibilities and variations. Still, I'm toying with running the same 4.5 mile route for a couple of weeks and just work on pace. Assuming, of course, I don't hurt something else.

As for surfaces, I think one can adapt to just about any surface, it's just a matter of whether it's worth it or not. If you (Laura) are training for triathlons, you need to worry about speed, right? For me, barefooting is key, so if I had nothing but gravel, I would try to make a go of it and see if I could hack it at decent paces. BTW, what do you mean by "tar-covered-chip-seal-that-never-dies"?

As for the Moc3s, I never wear socks when I use them as back-up, but if I head out with them on, that means it's pretty cold already, so I will start with socks on too if the temps warrant it.
 
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