Exploring While Running and Fighting Boredom

I’m not sure if it was the extremely hot, humid summer we had or the fact that I trained for two half marathons with no break in-between, or something else entirely, but this summer I was seriously getting bored with my running routes. When you run five days a week, the scenery can get a bit old after a while, especially if you’re running the same route around 30 miles a week. I even moved three years ago, so these aren’t roads and trails I’ve been on all that long all things considered.

First, I started re-examining my route for my long run, Changing My Long Running Route- Maybe. In the end, I ultimately found an entirely different route than either mentioned in that blog post, and I’ve been running that route for my long runs lately. It seems to be a good mix of some smallish hills and flat areas but more importantly, it’s an entirely new trail to me, so I’m still finding new things along the way.


I have about a month until my next race, so I doubt I’ll get bored with this running trail in that span of time. There are many twists and turns along the route to keep things interesting, some water crossings with cool bridges to run over, and it doesn’t seem to be too crowded although I pass some other runners and walkers in the roughly two hours I’m out there. The last time I ran my long run, there were several trees down from Hurricane Michael (downgraded to Tropical Storm by the time it got to North Carolina), so I took some photos. Surprisingly, I was able to get past the trees, although you certainly would never know that from this photo.

Post-tropical storm wreckage
A dreary-looking day, but perfect day for a run! I love these water crossings!

I haven’t just been changing my weekend long running routes, though. I’m also searching for new places for my other runs during the week. There is a town that I drive through to go to work, and I’ve discovered entire neighborhoods that are enormous that I never even knew existed. One day I just decided to change into my running clothes on my way out from work and stop somewhere to run along my drive home. Since that first day, I’ve discovered all kinds of new places by doing this. Most of these runs have been around 40-45 minutes, which is just enough time to explore a neighborhood or two before it’s time to head back to my car.

This isn’t to say I don’t still run on some of the routes and trails closer to my home, but by mixing up my running routes, I don’t get tired of running in the same place all the time. Now that it’s cooler and the days are getting shorter, I need to explore more places to run closer to where I work. I’ve worked at the same place for the last 18 years, so it’s not like I haven’t explored that much already, but I feel confident I can still find new places where I haven’t run. There are running/walking trails all over the place in my work town, many of which I’m sure I’ve never run on.

What about you guys? Do you run on the same route most of the time or do you like to explore and find new places to run?

Happy running!


Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

19 thoughts on “Exploring While Running and Fighting Boredom”

  1. Wow, Michael did some damage! Love those water crossings. I think boredom with routes comes and goes.
    I never used to care if I ran new routes or not. If I’m short on time or if I’m doing a workout, I don’t leave much up to chance. But I started running with a local group a year ago and they’ve showed me different routes in the areas I run anyway, and I’ve incorporated these into my runs. I think exploring routes are great for shutting off the brain, because you have so much else to focus on, so I do them when I’m anxious or sad about something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michael was pretty brutal and we didn’t even get hit that hard. We all said how lucky it wasn’t worse afterwards. You’re definitely right about how your brain processes things differently when you’re running a new route. If I’ve had a stressful day I especially love to find a new place to run and it helps me clear my head.

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  2. Such a fitting topic given I didn’t want to run my usual long run routes today! My running group is going to one of my favorite trails tomorrow, but they’re starting at 7:30am when it’s supposed to be in the 30s and I much preferred to run in the 50s today. I decided to start at a different spot along the York Rail trail, farther south, which I came to find really isn’t any farther of a drive than my usual starting spot. I have biked along that portion before but it was nice to run it and look around.

    I would love running the trail with the water crossings – so pretty!

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    1. I love how you came up with that solution-the same trail with a different starting point! It’s hard to run with a group and as much as that idea sounds great to me, it’s just never worked out for long for me. I’m sure it would be different if I wasn’t training for something. But then again your example of the group running when you didn’t want to is something that would happen to me.

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  3. I am so over all of my running routes. I’ve tried changing them up in the past and it usually ends poorly- a dog run in. These days I have to worry about the increased homeless population- which is very sad- but also potentially not the safest for a solo runner out in the sticks. And I used to just worry about mountain lions.😛. That route looks awesome, I’d love to run there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure it’s a lot harder to explore while running when you have things like mountain lions and homeless people to worry about! I think when you run long distance races and run so much during the week, it’s tough to not get tired of the same old scenery.

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  4. Wow! Michael had such a wide swath of devastation! Stay safe! I think changing up your running routes is a good idea. I have a few favorite routes, but I am always adding or subtracting from them to keep from getting bored.

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