Couch to 5K
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Finding routes

Hi all. Ok, so this is not my first attempt at doing a couch-to-5k plan but it's the first one that I have come so far with (w8r2) & will succeed with. I love it. I've got to be honest though & think the thing that's made all the difference was finding a place I was comfortable to run. That is, a place where I could expose my complete lack of fitness in all its puffing, panting, beetroot-ness. The timings have worked really well on this route too, with a bit of tinkering.

So now I'm thinking about branching out a little, partly because my confidence has grown so I no longer feel I need to hide away. However, I realised today when I considered running somewhere else that this is actually also a cause of anxiety for me; not just stepping out of my comfort zone, but the very basics of not knowing exactly what route I'm going to take.

In a nutshell then, do you all meticulously plan your routes if not running round a handily-sized park? If so, how? I looked at Map My Run once & it just looked messy & frustrating. So how do you plan a circuit of the right length & time that's also interesting?

Advice please! Thank you 😌

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Well we don't always. Best laid plans and all that ...... I often finish further away from home and have to walk back, but that's ok as it does give your legs a stretch. Your arms too if no-one is looking!

I often just go out the door and run and see where I end up. You will find routes you like and ones that you find a drag. I am always on the look-out for new ones, and might check them out with the dog first if they are off -road for example. It's all good fun, and you do find out lots more about the area you live in

I use Goodrunguide, which shows off-road routes, eg footpaths and tracks as well as satellite views. You are represented as a little running man and you can click along the route as if you are running it. You can toggle between footpath view and satellite view to help you pin point landmarks before setting off. I used it a lot so decided to subscribe

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Oo I'll look that up, thanks! I'm lucky really in that I live near lots of potential good routes but the trouble is that also makes them very popular with everyone else! I guess it is a comfort zone thing really. I don't have a dog but do walk with my children quite a lot so shall start route-planning a bit more whilst at it 😉



I don't have a dog either. I borrow my neighbours. He loves a walk and doesn't mind cruddy weather. Bit like meself


I run on the streets just do a loop of the roads I know and include longer straights before starting the loop if that makes sense. I sort of picture where I'm going next in my mind while running but sometimes I just run straight and when the half way bell sounds I turn round and run back. Bit dull and I prefer a loop. We have a disused railway line near us which is handy. Not as skank as it sounds! Sometimes the not really planning leads to a hill 😱😬 or a dead end and then I look a total plonker jogging in a circle for a bit.

I use Strava and am quite tempted to jog so the word hello gets mapped out on the route line. All I've managed so far is a sort of dolphin and a rugby ball shape...


That sounds like a great challenge! And yes I've seen friends use Strava for cycling so should look at that too. Weirdly I'm not too far away from a now-tarmacked old railway line which I am contemplating as a change of scenery, albeit up, turn around & come back again.


Ordnance survey Explorer maps show footpaths as well as roads and it is very simple to estimate distances because the grid squares are 1k. These maps are obviously available as printed items, but are also available on Bing maps or on the Maverick app, which is available for android and iOS.

Maverick can also track you, so you can create routes to follow in the future and save as gpx files. As you start to develop new routes you can adapt them to suit the distance you want to run and in no time you will have a range of routes.

Other tracking apps, such as Runkeeper, give you access to routes that other people have posted as running routes.

The important thing to remember is to tell someone where you are going.

Enjoy your mapreading.


Great, thanks for that. 😌


I'm lucky as I live near the I just get on to the prom and start running and when the halfway alarm sounds I just turn around and head back.


Hi Simon, I live near the seafront too but was put off training along there as it is so busy, & often very breezy! Am feeling braver now though haha!

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I'm on holiday in France (ile D'Oleron, one of my favourite places). We stay in different villages and there a lots of cycle ways, so runner friendly, if you're out early enough to avoid the heat 😀. Last night I used Google earth for the first time to plot a route and it worked well this morning when I tried it. Added bonus was that I left it showing on my iPad so my husband knew where I was actually going, so no going "off piste". Going to try it when I get home and see if it is as useful there.


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