by Dathan Ritzenhein | Feb 28, 2012 |
Having been a competitive runner for more than 15 years, I am blessed to have had such great places to train. I think enjoying where you train is the key to maintaining a passion for getting out the door everyday and still being able to enjoy it.
I was fortunate to grow up in an area with amazing places to train. Believe it or not Rockford, Michigan is a paradise for running, with the exception of four months for rough winter. From my parents house it was as good as it gets. Endless dirt roads, miles of awesome trails, and the White Pine Trail, a 92 mile rails to trail that runs right through downtown Rockford. And for those rough winter days, when the weather makes running outdoors tough, Grand Valley State University recently built a beautiful 300m indoor track.
Of course, when I went to college one of my deciding factors was living in a town with abundant training options. As soon as I visited on my recruiting trip to the University of Colorado, I was sold on Boulder. Boulder is an outdoor enthusiasts’ playground, offering over 120 miles of trails to explore, all set at 5,000+ feet altitude. A few of my favorite trails in Boulder are: South Boulder Creek Trail, a seven mile out and back flat cinder path, Teller Farm aka “The Tank”, a 15+ mile out and back run, and Left Hand Canyon, a steady incline for rigorous tempo runs.
From 2007 to 2009 we lived in Eugene, Oregon, also known as “Track Town USA.” Eugene is a running mecca. I recommend anyone who is remotely into running to visit. From its awesome river path, to its miles of groomed wood chip trails, to the world renowned Hayward Field (open to the public) and the running enthusiastic town, makes it a one of a kind place to visit. I find myself spoiled now that I don’t have a 10km wood chip trail(Pre’s Trail) to train on! Of course my favorite place to run is the Row River Trail, which is 15 miles south of Eugene in Cottage Grove. It is the most beautiful places you could ever want to do a long marathon tempo. It is a 15 mile long rails to trail through old growth forest and along Dorena Lake.
Of course being in the Portland area now, I am so blessed to have Nike Campus to train at everyday. For a professional track athlete it is like having your own 100 acre training park. With a five lane track in the middle of the forest, a two mile wood chip loop, and a three lap to the mile field of grass that makes a golf course look rough. It is ideal for doing great workouts on any surface. These great training options make doing intervals and tempos easy, but getting out to Forest Park, the largest urban park in the country, and running 20 miles on Leif Erikson Trail is hard to beat.
Where are your favorite places to run?