I think there are pros and cons to running both trails and streets and by trails I mean paved areas in parks or along parkways designated for runners, bikers, rollerbladers, etc., not a real deep in the woods trail. I have a “trail” I follow that runs along the parkway to the beach, it is a paved path that has parkway on one side and brush on the other side, perfect for running or rollerblading with the jogging stroller.
I think running on a paved path or a trail has some advantages over street running. The number one advantage is NO cars!! I can just run without having to worry about some random car hitting me because a driver wasn’t paying attention or didn’t see me, I have had many close calls especially when cars are turning right because they are looking left. Plus I don’t have to stop for traffic lights because there are none.
Another advantage of the trail I run on is that it is an out and back trail which means however far I go on the trail I also have to go that far to get back to the start where my car is parked. To some this may be a disadvantage but to me it leaves no excuses, if I want to run 5 miles I run 2.5 miles down the path and then I have 2.5 miles to run to get back……no excuses, I mean I could always walk but 99% of the time I won’t.
I also like the scenery when I run on a path, I feel connected with nature and life……spiritual. When I run the path along the parkway I have gorgeous views of the ocean and beaches.
When I run on a path through the park I see animals, beautiful flowers and trees. I feel connected with nature and I know there are things in the universe at work that are bigger than you and me…Mother Nature at her best!
I usually like to run early in the morning and this is when I find the major disadvantage of running on a trail or path and that is safety. During the day when there are many people utilizing the paths I don’t ever feel threatened or unsafe, even so I remain aware of my surroundings, but early in the morning when it is dark and less crowded I feel unsafe running on these paths. I feel safer running on main roads during the early morning, I still take precautions like not wearing earphones, but I feel much safer where there are more cars and people.
Another disadvantage of a trail or path is that if you get hurt you are kind of stuck in the middle of nowhere. There is usually no way for someone to come pick you up with a car, so you kind of have to suck it up and get back to where you started from, hopefully with the kindness of other runners to help you out.
Lastly on a path there is nowhere to stop and go to the bathroom (unless you use a bush) or buy a drink. When you are running on the streets you can always find somewhere to buy a drink and use the bathroom if you need to, this comes in especially handy on long runs.
I personally prefer running on a trail or path but I feel running on the street also comes in handy too!!
Do you prefer running on the streets or a trail?