Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Back Home - 9Kms on the Road

It was great to be up at 5am on the road. The air was crisp and fresh as an apple.
As I warmed up in the first kilometer, I savored the feeling of solitude, the peace, the stable feel of the tarmac under my feet and the low traffic - both human and vehicular. No smoke, no dust. Just fresh air and a few early morning people and street lights.
It felt like I was back home after a long time. Recall that I have been running on the track for the past two months. It afforded me an opportunity to compare the two locations

Running on track has the following advantages:
1. You can run on the grass (the inner track) - this was the greatest advantage I got from this since it enabled me to recover from my splintered shins injury. The grass reduces the impact the legs suffer when running on a hard surface.
2. You can measure your progress (speed) more accurately since a lap is 400m.
3. There is company - mostly overweight people plodding along slowly so it makes you feel good about yourself. Plus you meet better people than yourself and you realize how slow you are so you cannot get smug or complacent.
4. There is daylight so the risk of incurring an injury becuse you dived into a manhole or pothole is eliminated.
5. The field affords you a chance to do other excercises like backpedaling, pressups, chinups (on the goalposts) and so on, which are not possible on the road.
6. You can organize to place water at strategic positions so you can do long runs without worrying about water supply.

Disadvantages of running on the Track.
1. Its a flat surface so if you find yourself on a hill, you may find the exertion excessive.
2. I think the bends slow you down. I have never proven it - just a thought.
3. It is found to be boring by some - like when you are doing 50 laps (close to two hours for amateurs like myself) seeing the same scenery can be boring. I didnt find it boring; I love running too much. Its just something I hear some people say. They should probably try treadmills to get the true meaning of "boring".

Advantages of running on the Road.
1. The grip of the tarmac is ecstatic.
2. The changing scenery makes the run a different experience at each distance.
3. The electricity poles, shops, buildings and petrol stations that flash past are a great motivator because they remind you that you are covering ground.
4. Its a new experience each time.
5. Its great when you are strong. I remind myself to Just keep going after I have reached the turning points.
6. There will be hills so you learn to deal with uneven surfaces and inclines.


1. The hard surface is not good for your joints or muscles. Ask me. I know.
2. If you are running at dawn, you better be having streetlights because you may end up stepping in a pothole and getting injured.
3. Know your neighbourhood. Although its rare, some muggers target overweight people whom they relieve of their nice running shoes. Overweight people are typically affluent so are likely to be sporting some great runners (as Americans call runnung shoes).

Anyways, I did 9Kms in 45 minutes. There is pain in my feet and joints but I am not too worried since they are not shin splints. I was strong all the way. I need to look for New Edition's song Oh yeah - It Feels So good to Be Back.


Jadhoot said...

Man, glad to see you're recovering. Will not join the marathon. Just two things. Running on the road is fun but has two disadvantages you did not mention: security and pollution. Of course, this does not apply everywhere. Where I live, there are beautiful places where on can train. Problem is that they can be quite solitary, and in a place where you can be robbed of sneakers, it is a concern.
Pollution is another. If you run in places where there is heavy traffic, your lungs will suffer. I recently drove behind a smoky truck I could hardly see the road and there were runners right next.
I wish you well.

Jacob Aliet said...

Thanks Dan. I run early in the morning. Low traffic. No dust, no smoke. Security is not such a big problem because muggers dont target runners - runners dont carry money and runners are very alert so the surprise element, which normally gives thugs an edge, is not present.
Cheers and thanks for your goodwill. Join us next year.