Posted by: Armand | June 9, 2010

Running standard routes and motivation

I’m not one of those runners who finds it easy to motivate themselves on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find running a trudge or bore – I’ve gotten into it, enjoy the music, the passing scenery, the quiet time and contemplation, and the obssessive compulsive determination to get fit and improve on my earlier times… but getting out the door at 6am when I’d frankly rather be in bed with my lovely wife… well, it takes some willpower.

Once I’m out the door, though, my lack of an overdeveloped sense of adventure and relatively restricted set of choices for running routes sees me (usually) run the exact same round-trip (depending on distance). A few of the #juneathon posts I’ve been reading have people stopping for photos etc., which is really fun to see and read, but doesn’t suit my style of running.

I don’t find it monotonous, though, despite the repetition, and it helps my willpower, for a few reasons:

  1. You can more easily chart improvement on a set route
  2. You don’t have the distraction of routefinding, dealing with unexpected traffic, etc.
  3. I don’t lose willpower and turn for home when I think I’m “around” halfway for my target distance (although GPS and Runkeeper has diminished this as an issue somewhat)

Social running would achieve much the same ends, but I’m yet to join a club or find a running buddy. That may change in the future.

Today: my standard 5k route was completed in 29.06, a new personal best* – and a second in two days! The knees are holding up too, although a little sore. I should probably check in with someone about those… maybe James’ Recover Fast dude… (oh, and to round off day 9 of Juneathon there’ll be a cycle in and out of work too).

*(I should clarify for those who have been following my running updates from the pre-GPS era – don’t trust those times. They were estimates based on MapMyRun and analogue watch readings. These are based on Runkeeper GPS, so hopefully a bit more accurate…)



  1. Does Map My Run give you inaccurate figures then? I’ve always had my doubts, put that down to me overestimating my speed.

    Re: Set routes – when I’m training for a paticular event I find it hard to go ‘off piste’ for the reasons that you cite. The time I like to do explore is just after an event when I try and run for the sheer pleasure of it. No watch, no plan. Laissez faire running.

  2. When not following a specific training plan I also try to get out and go for an “enjoyment run” once a week – no watch, no idea of route, no worries about pace, no music, no running partner – just running to enjoy running.

    Joe talks about “naked running” here:

    Joe can stick to a training plan like no one else I’ve ever come across – but this type of run is important – important because we do all this training because we like running and shouldn’t forget that!

  3. @SenseiPaul – MayMyRun vs. GPS loses me about 400 meters per 5k. Might be the way I do it, and GPS probably isn’t perfectly reliable, but… there it is.

    @James – I’d read about Joe’s “naked runs” and the concept appeals, but at the moment the GPS is providing huge motivation (being told you are “behind your target pace” is really valuable info for me!)

    @both I think I’ll do “naked” running when its social running; more fun to explore when running with a friend, banter, routefinding etc. – better together.

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