SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 13, 2013

On The Run: Change things up to bust out of a running rut

On the Run
Jay Kumar

---- — Runners are often creatures of habit.

You have to be to get up at the crack of dawn when you could be sleeping for another hour and venturing out on the road to get a run in. If you’re training for a particular race or goal, you have to be particularly focused on those days when you just don’t feel like doing anything.

But what happens when you just feel like you’re going through the motions? Or you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in terms of speed or endurance? Or your motivation level is an all-time low?

It’s time to shake things up.

One simple solution is to start with the run itself. If you run the same route every day, try to come up with a different one; if you don’t know of other running routes in your area, use websites like MapMyRun.com or Gmap-pedometer (http://gmap-pedometer.com/) to map out new ones.

If you run on the treadmill every day, try running outside. Treadmills are great when you have no other options or the weather outside is nasty, but they can be deadly boring. Although I know runners who like to binge-watch TV shows or movies while on a home treadmill, so it can work the other way, too.

If you’re bored just running by yourself, find a running buddy. From personal experience, those 20-mile long runs are a little easier to take when you’ve got someone alongside you sharing the experience. The conversation tends to decrease during that last hour as oxygen becomes more of a commodity, but even the silence between two runners is preferable to hearing yourself pant and wheeze on your own.

If you just run comfortably when you go, try varying your pace by doing intervals. Or go to the local track to do some speed work. And if you want to improve your running performance and feel as though you’re out of ideas, a running coach can help. Locally, you can get good coaching and advice by joining a running club such as the North Shore Striders in Beverly or Wicked Running Club, both of which offer coaching and track workouts. Working with a certified personal trainer can also help you fine-tune and re-energize your running, as well as introduce some other types of cross-training to complement your runs.

It helps to have a goal. If you’re just running to stay in shape but getting bored with it, try signing up for a race, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon. Having that goal to shoot for and a training program to follow should get you invested.

If you’re not a fan of races, set a reasonable mileage goal for the year (or month or week) and figure out how you can reach it.

Falling into a running rut is easy to do, but breaking out of one can be just as easy and much more rewarding in the long term.

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Starts and stops:

The Lone Gull 10K takes place on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. More than 550 runners participated in the race last year, traversing a fast course with slight rolling hills along the back shore of Gloucester and Eastern Point. Proceeds from the event support the programs at The Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf. The Lone Gull was voted the 2012 winner of the North Shore Road Race Guide Best Race Course and Best 10K Race. Visit www.lonegull10k.com/ for more information and to register online.

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The fourth annual Fall Frolic 5K & Fun Run is set for Sunday, Oct. 6. The 5K begins at 9:30 a.m. on the traditional Beverly Homecoming race route beginning and ending at Lynch Park, 55 Ober St., Beverly. The half-mile Kids Fun Run begins at 9 a.m. and is open to all kids grade 5 and younger. Entry fees for 5K are $20 before Sept. 22 and $25 after, and $2 for the Fun Run. The event benefits Beverly’s public elementary schools. Register online at www.fallfrolic5K.com.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.

Upcoming races

Wednesday, Sept. 18

Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

4th Annual Lynn Woods Summer Cross Country, Lynn Woods, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from May 29-Sept. 25. Free. Three races. Contact: Bill Mullen (Lynn Woods Summer XC) at 1-978-535-3905 or email bill@lwrun.org.

Thursday, Sept. 19

No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact info@wickedrunningclub.com.

Saturday, Sept. 21

1st Annual VERT - Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race, Wolf Hollow, 114 Essex Road, Ipswich, 12 p.m. Epic 5-mile trail race to benefit Wolf Hollow sponsored by four brewers. Contact: Ed O’Connor (VERT Race Series) at 1-617-398-0611 or ed@vertraceseries.com.

ECTA 9th Annual Run for the Trails, Myopia Schooling Field, 394 Bay Road, South Hamilton, 9 a.m. Five- and 10-mile trail runs. Contact: Ashley Hill (Essex County Trail Association) at 1-978-468-1133 or Ashley@ectaonline.org.

Tache Realty Wicked 1/2 Marathon, Bentley School, 25 Memorial Drive, Salem, 7 a.m. Race through historic Salem and around scenic Marblehead. Cash Purse, medals. Contact: Ashley Steeves (BNS EVENT MANAGEMENT) at 1-978-836-0271 or bnsfitnessevents@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, Sept. 25

Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

44th Annual Lynn Woods Summer Cross Country, Lynn Woods, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from May 29-Sept. 25. Free. Three races. Contact: Bill Mullen (Lynn Woods Summer XC) at 1-978-535-3905 or email bill@lwrun.org.

Thursday, Sept. 26

No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact info@wickedrunningclub.com.

Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.