Running different paths keeps me sane

Central Valley Greenway: New Westminster, Columbia Street

This weekend, I ran the Central Valley Greenway. (The portion in the picture above is in New Westminster, on Columbia Street, south of the Pattullo Bridge.) The full length of the greenway is around 24 km, paralleling most of SkyTrain’s Millennium Line and finishing at Science World. But since today’s run is scheduled to be 30 km, I had to add a bit extra on my run home.

The greenway is starting to become a favourite of mine for the varied scenery, from downtown New West, through Burnaby Lake Regional Park, and along a street (Grandview Highway North) that has been mostly reconfigured for the greenway. Just as importantly, I get to mix up the location of my long run.

The training clinic I’ve signed up for in preparation for the Vancouver Marathon is based at the west side of Vancouver, and the long runs have used some variation of the seaside paths, from Spanish Banks to Stanley Park. I’m not really complaining, considering it’s always a great location for a run, but I think that at some point, the monotony has set in. And for someone who lives in the east side, I feel like I’m neglecting my own neighbourhood for the long runs.

But there is a downside: as the long runs get longer, the time spent running gets longer as well. I normally run by myself anyway, but being part in a group makes for a much different experience. And as the runs approach four hours, the insanity factor kicks in; I certainly felt it at points during today’s almost-30 km run. Keeping that balance, therefore, is probably the reason I’m planning to restrict my off-the-beaten-track runs to one or two more before the marathon.

(Photo credit: flickr @ buzzerblog)

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