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Monday, March 26

The Course

The ABCs and running series:
Today's topic "The Course"
Path, route, trail - whatever your want to call it - it's the journey we take each time we lace up our runners.
Most runners I know have a route already in mind. I've yet to encounter a runner who just wanders out the door with no destination in mind. [Any Zen runners out there?]
We used to just check park trail signs or do a ride about in car or bike - calculating the miles by setting the odometer. Now, it has become a fine science using modern gadgets. You can buy an upscale pedometer (Nike+iPod) or a large wristwatch by Garmin that uses GPS tracking technology. It beams your location to satellites that hover invisibly overhead. This tracking option is also available for your cell phone if it has GPS capability.

"The GPS system is made up of 24 military satellites circling the earth at an altitude of 11,000 miles."

You can even gmap your run in with several programs. I like this one at usatf. But I found when the mileage was biked out - I was running further than mapped. [A good thing - I guess.]

Course profiles:

I like to use pre-measured routes so I know my exact time. I head to the local school track or marked pathways in the park. [Avoid traffic!] I sometime reverse the direction - just to keep sharp. [Why are so many of the school tracks fenced up? To discourage bums from training for a 1 mile record?]
When traveling - choosing a place to run before the morning is of utmost importance. [Yes, I need to run - even while on vacation.]
It is sometime helpful to call the Hotel's concierge to see if they know of any local run sites.
Here's an example of courses I've tested: parking lot towers, golf courses, a cemetery, secret levees, beaches, and the Texas outback.
It is always smart to peruse the map offered when you register for a race. I remember one run in California; we followed the leader down the wrong street. All Hell broke loose when we realized we had been taken off course. I don't usually pre-run race routes. I like to keep them fresh and exciting.

So for us that feel the need to monitor every footstep planning the run is less of a hassle. Maps can reveal places to discover... courses we have yet to encounter.

I feel we are all islands - in a common sea. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh