About Choosing an Outdoor Jogging or Running Track

As sunshine and warm breezes replace the snow, slush, and cold winds, runners are taking advantage of the good weather to jog outside. If you typically run on the indoor track at a gym, and don't have any outdoor tracks nearby, you can create your own running track around the neighborhood. Here are some tips to help you choose a good jogging route.

Look at a map of your area to see where all the parks, public school fields, and residential streets are. These are the safest places to jog or run since they have little vehicular traffic. They are usually large enough to simulate an indoor running track.

Decide how many miles you want to run, and use the map scale to get a rough idea of the distance on the map. On most indoor jogging tracks, 4 laps is a mile. One mile around the block may take fewer or more laps.

When selecting a running path around your neighborhood, the first priority is to design a path that has as few street crossings as possible. Try to include a lot of paved park trails so that you can stay away from cars.

The next consideration is choosing a jogging path that goes through tree-lined streets, if possible. The shade will keep you cooler on hot days, and if it you suddenly get caught in a downpour, the trees can protect you from the rain.

Another consideration is to select a track that doesn't have so many sharp turns where you can twist an ankle. Indoor jogging paths have curve corners so that you can make a loop without slowing down, but this may be more difficult to achieve outdoors. Try to incorporate more straight sections and sweeping arcs in your running trail.

Find ways to include running uphill, which is great for toning the leg muscles. Take advantage of hills, or stairs on public buildings.

Mix up your routine every once in a while so you don't get bored. Only jog during the daylight hours so that you that you can see obstacles in your path. Also, remember to stretch before you jog to prevent running injuries. If your jogging route is mostly confined to concrete sidewalks, be sure to get running shoes with good shock absorption.

© Had2Know 2010

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