Monday, July 9, 2018

Avoid Stopping at Stoplights on Your Run

I heard (or read) somewhere that the difference between runners and joggers is that joggers bounce or run in place at a stop light and runners just stand there looking ticked. I relate to that on a high level haha.  In high school stopping at stoplights was never something that bothered me. We made our running routes around the city because that's what we had to work with but as I got further into running I realized that it was hurting my endurance to have to stop at every light because once I'd stop, my brain wouldn't want to start back up again and the mind games were so much harder to fight with. Now, stopping at lights is something that I try to avoid at all cost. If this is something that bothers you as a runner too, but you don't know how to avoid lights, here are a few ways that I use to avoid stoplights as much as possible and sometimes altogether.

I plan my route in advance. This is my biggest tip for avoiding stops on your run. I have an app on my phone called Footpaths that lets me trace my route and it tells me how far it will be. I can also see any stop lights or busy intersections on there and plan accordingly.

I run in neighborhoods. This is something that I do often. I know the area well, I don't have to deal with stopping at lights, there are sidewalks to run on when there's a busy road, (there are a  lot of reasons I like to run in neighborhoods).

You can also avoid stopping at stoplights by running on trails and paths. I don't do this as often because I don't feel as safe running alone on trails as I do in neighborhoods or streets. But it's definitely a good option if you're running with others and I'm hoping to do more of that soon, especially for long runs.

Some parks have great trails to run on. When I don't want to deal with traffic lights and need something different I love finding different parks that I can do some laps around. I usually don't do my whole run around a park if I'm doing a long run but I'll do a couple loops to add extra miles or I'll use parks for my shorter runs.

Don't stop. If you come to a light that isn't on a busy street and there are no cars, you can keep running. Just remember the safety rules that you've learned your whole life to look both ways before you cross the street. Make sure you're paying close attention to the cars around you, though! People get distracted so easily and some may not see you.  This is something I don't encourage strongly, but if you're careful it's doable. You need to always take your safety first and be smart about running on busy roads. But it is an option.

Choose an alternate route. If I know I'll be hitting lights I try to find the which side of the street has the least amount of lights. When I get to a light that I have to stop at, I cross the street the other way if I can and then Cross again the other way to keep running as long as possible. You could also cut through parking lots as long as you are being careful.

What it comes down to is that if stopping at stop lights is something that bothers you, and you're running in an area that it's hard to avoid, planning is the best key for you. Plan out your run so that you know how many lights you're likely to hit and how to avoid them if possible. Always be careful when you're running around traffic. Run without earbuds in, and look both ways.

How often do you get stopped at a stoplight?

By that definition, are you a runner or jogger?

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