I discovered a park near my house while I was training for my second half marathon with some beautiful running trails. Now I do all my long runs there for several reasons. First, it's nice not having to worry about cars and busy intersections. I would plan my long runs before in areas where there was less traffic, but couldn't ever avoid a couple semi-busy intersections. Second, it's got some great scenery to distract me while I run. I took some pictures on my last run to show you how awesome this trail is! Finally, the terrain is helpful in improving my speed. I had to think about the most positive way to word that last one. The first time I ran on the trail I was put off by the hills, but came back to run it again because of the first two reasons I listed. During my third half marathon I set a really awesome over 10 minute PR on a course that many people complained about because of the hills. I attribute my ability to run that course so well to the fact that I trained on hills, and my body was used to that type of terrain.
I highly recommend searching for running/biking trails in your area if you haven't already found them. Sometimes I'll head to the trail for a short evening run if I'm lacking motivation to run around my neighborhood. My long runs are something I look forward to now instead of dreading them!
Now here are some pictures (Sorry some are blurry, I was juggling a lot of stuff when I was trying to take them.)
The trees help keep it a little cooler during warmer runs
It's hard to tell, but this is one of the steeper hills on the trail.
What goes up must come down. The other side of the hill.
More views of the river
One of the bridges that runs over the river
I had an awesome 11 mile run here on Saturday! The thought of running 20 miles is still a little scary to me, but at least knowing where I'll be running those 20 miles can give me some peace of mind.