Today I’m feeling out of sorts. I’m a creature of habit and I feel strange when my routines are disrupted. I missed my regular Friday morning track workout and Sunday morning trail run. I missed both on purpose – Friday is was hailing/pouring and the winds were gusting to 40mph and this morning it was 8 degrees with a “real feel” temperature of -3. Friday I hit the treadmill and did my workout. Today will probably be the same. I just couldn’t get myself motivated to run in frigid temperatures or hail. But, I’m feeling “off”.
I like the peacefulness of regular runs. It’s true – I could run the same roads and trails day after day and week after week. I’m not the sort of runner who craves variety. I love running the same tracks over and over again. Sure, I like to add on a new run here and there, but I have a few runs that I run on the same days every week. I started out running the same trail over and over because I was worried about my knee. I needed to know the exact track I would run – and every potential hazard on that track. I dutifully memorized every rock, stick, and turn on the trail near my house. As I got more fit I added on to “my” trail. Initially, I found the routine boring, but I clung to it for fear that a new trail would mean certain injury. I believed that if I could be extra careful, I could keep myself injury-free. After a while, though, the boredom faded away and was replaced with peacefulness. I started varying my routes, but I discovered that I craved my favorite runs. I had learned to find the joy in regular runs.
Now, I still like knowing where every root, rock, and slippery spot is on my favorite trail. I enjoy watching the routines of the houses on my regular road routes, knowing which cars will be in which driveways and which houses will smell like laundry or breakfast. I find it very soothing. I love the subtle variations in the usual paths – the houses with Halloween decorations, then Christmas trees and new year’s streamers. The trails, too, have a rhythm of their own. I like seeing the frost in new places, the growing ice on the lake, the little wash outs caused by days of rain. These tiny variations give me just enough variety, while still letting me feel the security of routine. I know some people would find my patterns monotonous, but to me, they lend a certain peacefulness to my runs. I enjoy the ritual of regular running routes.
Are you a creature of habit, or do you crave variety? What running routines bring you joy?