Urban vs. rural running

People who go for a run in the country make such a big deal about how nice it is. Running down a tree-lined country lane to the sound of chirping birds and the scent of pines is a nice idea, but if you’re actually doing it, is it really that nice? Well, maybe it is. That’s a bad example. But running in urban areas can be fun too, and there are advantages you don’t have in a rural area.Downtown run2

I can get an excellent workout by racing to beat traffic lights, especially if the lights are set to a fairly slow traffic flow. Sometimes I can go several blocks at a hard pace before I get stopped.

Trail running takes sure footing, but so does running downtown. Those metal plates that cover freight access tunnels are rusting away at an alarming rate, and if they aren’t collapsing as you run over them, the ones that have already fallen in have to be leaped over. What a cross-training workout!downtown hazard

And there’s more cross-training – imagine playing dodge ball, but instead of harmless nerf balls, you’re dodging hordes of shoppers and downtown office workers. What a challenge to keep up a brisk, collision-free pace.downtown dodgeball

I’m amazed how many times I’ve slowed down because I lost my motivation to push the pace, and just then I come across an abandoned homeless encampment.downtown garbage Suddenly I have no problem kicking it into high gear to escape the stench, and for some reason, this “runner’s high” lasts for several blocks. To the homeless, I say, “Thanks for the boost.”

I’m a fan of history, and opportunities abound for higher learning. Just today I stopped at a statue and picked up some information that I’m sure will help me if I ever appear on Jeopardy.downtown statue

Art aficionados will appreciate the dynamic artwork under railroad bridges, on masonry walls and the sides of buildings. In my hometown of Spokane, art experts estimate it’d take 2.5 years of daily art viewing to see every mural and painting in the downtown area.downtown art

Runners who love music won’t be disappointed either. Nearly always there are talented musicians on street corners playing all through the day. I took a short break to listen to these two girls. Then as I resumed my run, they played the theme song from Rocky to get me going again.downtown buskersSo, next time you want a stimulating, educational workout, go for a run………..downtown



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