Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Wilderness Park Mountain Bike Trail - Thonotosassa, Florida

At one peak point in my life in the early high school years, I was doing two a days for track/long-distance. An early 6am start for a few mile run to another afternoon run around 3pm when school was over.

I was probably in the best shape of my life during those times. My mile time was around 4:40~ on an good day with track events either raising the bar higher (or actually lower with the time) or collapsing with an awful time. I've blogged about this twice in an attempt to understand why times continue to get better and how becoming the best is not easy.

This post is about neither of that stuff, but the types of runs you might go on and why. So lets go through some runs.

The Hybrid

May 4, 2011 - 6.11 miles at 7:22min/mi pace

So this run is a classic after school training run for long distance. This run I classify as a hybrid run for both trail and sidewalk running. The goal for this run was to safely get to Tomahawk trail by crossing as little streets as possible. You can do this pattern really anywhere - you can leave your home and catch up with the nearest trail or leave with a group after a warm up at school. The only thing to notice is watching etiquette moving from sidewalk to trail as you don't want to cover the entire sidewalk nor trail when running with a group.

The Track

March 2, 2011 - 1.6 miles at 5:14min/mi pace

The track run is a classic one that is highly dependent on having legitimate access to one. For a high school track that you belong at as a student - no issue. As a grown adult running on a high school track during the summer, its a dice roll whether someone asks you to leave. You could join a gym, but the indoor tracks are so much shorter and full of people that lack the etiquette to realize that folks are running laps.

The track run is a break from streets and trails, but can become easily boring if done too much. A track run is not meant to bust out miles on miles of running, because you can easily do that on any other type of run. The purpose of a track run is commonly to train for distance. Back in the prime day - a coach built that pattern of run/walk for specific distances. This is also a chance if you want to make sure your spikes are fitting well prior to a real event.

The Wilderness

Rocky Creek Trails (Hillsborough County, FL)

A wilderness run is basically a trail run without paved payment. These runs are not about keeping an extreme pace, but instead being nimble with the constantly changing ground and blind curves. You have a good chance of catching a tree root across the trail and falling if you aren't constantly focused. I think this is a great run every so often, because you know how a pavement run can turn into some sort of zoned out run and this run prevents that from occurring.

The Park

Lake Lettuce Leaf Park (Temple Terrace, FL)

A park run is an experience no matter the time of day and I prefer as early as the park opens. You can drive in, slowly warm up and if you build a pattern you'll run into the same folks doing the exact same thing on a schedule. Depending on the park you may get to experience the wilderness with the presence of a paved trail.

The experience aspect is all time driven - if you come in the afternoon you run the risk of kids everywhere and it isn't the nicest thing either to be attempting a fast pace run knowing kids arrive at the park at the afternoon. At this park above, you can also witness folks entering kayaks into the water and nearly every other visit you'll get to witness someone flip.

The Sidewalk

At times the best run is to just leave your house and run on the nearest sidewalk and meander your way back home. This run is probably the most dangerous, since even with walk sign on folks will constantly blow through a right on red light almost hitting walkers. This type of run is common when you want a few breaks on your run - since you'll encounter streets to cross and have to wait.

It probably is very common in highly urban places, since I'm not sure if there beautiful parks or trails to visit.

To end this - I always run with no music and zero phone. Probably a bit dangerous if you applied that to everyone with what goes on in this world, but my main reason is I do not want distractions.

A music-less run with no notifications is just about the run at that point. Listening to your breathing and sounds around - each step just about the pain and experience of staying healthy.

Its 2:09pm writing this and I'm at 6128 steps and 3.9 miles traveled - stay healthy.

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