Living just an hour south of San Francisco puts me in close proximity to some of the most beautiful running trails in North America. Moreover, the climate and extensive list of wonderful people that share my dream of running at the highest level, make it very tempting to drive to the optimal training location each day.
For most people; however, time constraints lead them to run on the trail or road that is most convenient and embrace the days they have time to meet up with their favorite training partners at the most beautiful park in town. Occasionally, a holiday or low volume week at work will allow us to be more selective about our training environment. At these times it can become very difficult to determine, how far is too far to drive for a run in a beautiful place and/or with your most ideal training partner.
A good rule of thumb is that your round trip commute time should be less than the time you plan to spend running.
ROUND-TRIP COMMUTE < RUNNING TIME
Understanding the significant impact our environment has on our success in training and in life, use the point system below to make the right decision when determining how far you should drive for your ideal run!
Subtract 5 Minutes from Commute Time If:
You will be experiencing a new trail, road, or park
You only have access to this park during “this” season
You will be surrounded by nature and terrain that is significantly different than what you have access to on a regular basis
Subtract 7 Minutes from Commute Time If:
You have the opportunity to run with an ideal training partner, or good friend (Learn more about Choosing Your Ideal Training Partner)
You have coordinated an interval session and will benefit significantly from your teammates company
You can kill two birds with one stone by checking off an errand that needed to be run nearby the trailhead
Finally, if you plan to grab a post-run coffee or meal with one of your teammates or a friend who lives in that area, subtract this “post-run play time” from your commute as well!
Keep in mind, that running in a new place, or with new faces can be very refreshing to your training and highly recommended for those who may have experienced a plateau in their running success.
About the Author: Chantelle Wilder is the Senior Editor and Co-Founder of Runners Feed. She also competes for the New Balance Silicon Valley Club in the Bay Area of California. When she isn’t running, or editing she can be found enjoying the fruitful wines of nearby Napa Valley while challenging her husband to a game of Bananagrams®.