Are you in a Route Rut?

By: Rachel Gibson


Symptoms: A general feeling of boredom upon lacing up to go for a run. Those afflicted may seem moody or exhibit tendencies to sulk when asked about their latest running habits. In severe cases, patients may exert an audible sigh when approached about running, and in dire situations the term “burnt out” may be used.

Causes: This condition stems from the monotony of running the same route repeatedly, creating a sense of dullness and lack of excitement.

Cures: Several trials have been successfully administered and one or a combination of the treatments below may remedy the situation—

  1. Let a friend lead. Explain the disorder to a similarly-paced comrade in your running community and request their company for your next run. Let them choose the start point and route based on your need to discover a new course and aid to the tedium previously face. Note: This friend should be someone that typically does routes other than your norm, otherwise you’ll both find yourselves stuck in a route rut.
  2. Turn left instead of right. If familiar enough with your place of residence to know the major and minor streets, allow yourself to lose your route. Where you typically turn right, take a left instead (be sure to avoid a change in route that would lead to a direct turn into a body of water, the edge of a cliff or a less-than-safe part of town). Stay off your original route for at least 2/3 of the run before finding your way back to your home or car. It may not be a better route, but it should be different and good for a change of scenery as well as the added excitement of figuring your way back to the start.
  3. Utilize online tools like “MapIt”. Even smaller communities have runners, and many runners tend to post their favorite routes online. Look to see if anyone has previously done so, and try it out. It may be just the therapy you need.

Possible Side Effects: As with every treatment, many come with side effects, and in this case may include: renewed excitement, uncontrollable chatter about new routes, the realization that some of your running friends are more exciting than previously thought, the need for new shoes upon running more often, and sore facial muscles from the grin you’ll be sporting.

Of course, it’s best to consult your local running guru prior to starting any new therapy. These gurus may be found in your local running stores or running clubs.

Good luck to any currently facing the affliction of route rut; get well soon!

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