1. Scenic technical trail.
My all-time favorite place(s) to run is on a scenic, technical trail. Rocks, roots, mud, water, varying ascents and descents all add a unique challenge physically and mentally. Balance, coordination, dexterity, toughness, and mental endurance are tested. Adrenaline is heightened because you need to stay on top of your game (and feet) and anything can happen, gotta love that rush. Trailrunning is also peaceful and zen-like. Being surrounded by nature is calming and freeing. I become filled with awe and wonder. The mind can work through serious events or it can power down. All of the hard work rewards you with gorgeous views, and occasionally, an animal encounter.
Hill running and hill repeats make legs and lungs burn! Strength, power and endurance get the rundown. Rolling hills with varying grades and lengths can be more interesting than running up and down a single hill. Several hill repeat workouts can be created: intervals; best your previous time (my favorite); run for time; tire drag; walk; run backwards to engage different muscles. Core and stability are especially engaged when you run downhill, I use this time to zone in on my form. My leg muscles are usually a little sore the next day.
3. CrossFit box.
Supportive, competitive and energetic atmosphere makes for serious (and fun) cross training. I love my CrossFit friends who are there motivating each other and working their butts off to achieve their goals. Every workout is different (and occasionally, there’s a “benchmark” workout), so one day you’re working on Olympic lifting and another day you’re wishing for an end as you ride the Assault Bike and complete Wall Balls and Burpees. Working on specific techniques and building strength and power helps reduce the chance of running-related injuries. CrossFit also helps with becoming a more well-rounded athlete, as it sharpens skills and builds muscles. You also work in the other planes of motion, running tends to occur in the sagittal plane.
4. School athletic stadium.
Track and bleachers. A track is a great place to practice foot and leg work because it is flat and the distance is measured out. A track is handy for speed drills, mix in bleacher running. Bleachers can be used for jumping, too. I don’t utilize these things if they are wet and slippery, it’s not worth the risk of injury.
The treadmill is a wonderful and convenient tool for those times that you can’t get outside or just don’t feel like it. Explore the programmed workouts for what best suits your needs, there’s really no effort on your end. An extra fun aspect is that you are forced to maintain speed if you’re running uphill. The treadmill is mentally challenging because you’re not going anywhere. I cover up the distance and time, so that I relax and enjoy just the running. Multitasking. Watch television or movies, attend continuing education webinars. If walking, reading is possible. Lastly, treadmills are usually near toilets, woohoo!