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Two Places Where You Can Run For Fun

Two Places Where You Can Run For Fun

If the fun in your runs has declined, then the solution could be as simple as introducing new locations into your running regime. Here are two such places.

Run around a parking lot.

Running around a parking lot — such as one that you would find at a strip center or surrounding a college or shopping mall — can be a lot of fun, as long as you are careful. For example, if you arrive early at a strip center or shopping mall, you can see what most people do not see: retailers preparing for their day. And, once the retail shops open, a parking lot can be a great place for people-watching. Find a parking lot with trees, shrubs, grass, and other plants, and you almost get the best of both worlds: a bit of nature plus smooth, flat surfaces on which to run. And you need not “spin your wheels” to put in some real mileage in some parking lots. For example, some shopping malls are so large that they comprise at least 2.7 million square feet in retail space. Assuming that one of these malls is three stories tall (and many of them are) with the same amount of retail space on each story, that works out to a 900,000-square-foot building footprint. For ease of calculation, suppose that the mall’s footprint is a circular disc. Then the radius of the mall would be about 535 feet, and the circumference of the mall would be more than 0.63 miles. Given that a one-mile circumference requires a radius of 840 feet, this means that running in a route some 305 feet — or about 100 yards — away from the outer walls of this imaginary mall would let you cover one mile with every lap. Of course, most malls are not circular, nor are most malls this large, so your mileage may vary. But you get the idea.

Run from your home in some direction for half a day, then turn around and run back home.

Dean Karnazes, the ultramathoner who ran 50 marathons in 50 days across all 50 states of the USA, is a big proponent of this idea in his book 50/50. The idea is genius in its simplicity. You rise early, pick a direction (such as north), don your running apparel, put on a backpack filled with your water bottles, energy snacks, a cellphone, cash, and a credit or debit card, and start running. You do not turn around until half the day has passed. The fun comes from seeing new sights and the freedom of doing what you may have done — or wanted to do — as a child: going out to play and not returning home until your time was up!