Tag Archives: Route

Control the Course

17 Aug
I’m the first to admit it: I am a bit of a control freak. I don’t hide the fact that I like things in order and to go according to the plan that I, have more often than not, made.  I know, not cool. But I think I’ve made big improvements on my controlling habits – ask Mark.

But in that need to control also comes the need to control a race course as much as possible. I need to know every turn, where every aid station will be located, and the elevations and undulations. I know some people just show up race day and come what may will race whatever route is before them. I so could not do that. Whenever I can, I drive the route the day before a race.

This is why I’ve scanned the interwebs for bloggers passed who have run the Athens Marathon. I’ve read their race reports and review of the course. The race reports that I’ve read have strengthened what I already knew. From kilometre 17 to 32 the race is all uphill and it’s not fun. One blogger gave particularly good advice by saying to be conservative the first 10km despite the ideal running course conditions (flat). She said that this allowed her legs to stay somewhat fresh during the climbs and breeze through the final 10km into the finish chute.

I know these bloggers are just repeating what the website has in its course description but I don’t like surprises. I was looking for a little window to confirm the difficulty of the course. It’s also nice to have a runner’s perspective and tips instead of the race organizers’ description of the course.

In light of the realization of the difficulty of the course (not that I didn’t know it was going to be hard), this week’s 21km long run will be along a route with lots of hills.  In my attempt to control this course I’ve mapped it out with the elevation details.


The first part of this route climbs quite a bit but there’s a nice break by the middle with just a bit of a climb by the end. I know those small hills will seem like mountains by that point though.   I know this route very well.  I drive half of it to get to work every day so nothing will be a surprise.  I think a new beer will be in order after I finish that run tomorrow.

Do you prefer to go into a race blind or preview the course before the start? Do you like to prep yourself mentally with the course map?


Running routes

7 Sep

So I am definitely one of those people who have to have a route planned out ahead of time that will allow me to complete a certain mileage goal. Mainly this is due to my marathon training. But I also like to know where I’m going and how long I’m going to be out. Being in a new community also forces me to look on a map so I don’t get lost. But thankfully Milton is pretty much a grid so it’s hard to get lost (thank you farming town). By now I have my routes planned out in Milton but sometimes its nice to discover new scenery. After all, one of the main reasons we get outside to run is to take in a bit of scenery and nature.

While Mark and I were vacationing back home at my family’s cottage that did not allow me to take a break from training. Being afraid of bears (yes, it’s a problem up north), Mark followed me on the four-wheeler while I ran at my own pace down the dirt road from the highway to my cottage driveway … quite a few times. Although it was repetitive, it was also peaceful (despite the sound of the four wheeler) and the trees were still so lush but just starting to turn yellow for the fall.

Every morning for three days, this is what cottagers walking their dogs or driving into town saw:

Some dude riding a four wheeler following this girl running a quiet, cottage road. In a town where not many people are runners, I’m sure Mark and I had them scratching their heads.

This new route was just stunning because I had the whole road to myself (most of the time) and could concentrate on getting my run done. It was a tough route, though, with rolling hills and unstable gravel. But it was welcoming compared to city running on the side walks breathing in vehicle exhaust.

Next time I have the opportunity to run in a different location, I will take advantage to see something new and break out of routine.