I run on the road. Yes, all of you drivers who complain about those of us who take over the streets can now point fingers at me. I am one of “them”. But I have good reasons for being a road runner.
First, let’s make something perfectly clear. I am not a road warrior; nor am I a road hog. I do stop at intersections and traffic lights, and I give cars the right of way. Really, why wouldn’t I want to? Just look at the difference in size and weight.
Secondly, I do not run on the roads all of the time – only when I feel it is safer for me to do so. My best guess is that I take to the streets for 90% of my runs (races excluded, of course).
So, why do I run on the road?
1. Ice – From December until March, there is always one part of my run that is covered in ice. So, rather than risk slipping and fracturing something, I take to the streets. Sometimes this is just for a block or two; after a snowfall, when sidewalks are covered, I might run on the road most of the way.
2. Dark – My town has many, many trails. At night, I tend to run on the roads when I’m closer to pathways leading to them because I feel safer. I’m sure this annoys drivers, especially in one area where there is also a crosswalk from one trail entrance to another, but I simply don’t care. My safety is far more important than the 5 seconds of time that a driver might lose while slowing down.
3. Water – It never ceases to amaze me how many home-owners water the sidewalks next to their manicured lawns. When I have the boys on my run, this is most annoying as one ends up crying from getting wet (or wakes up by the sprinkle of water) and I worry about the other slipping on wet tires. So, all three of us take to the road.
4. “Ditches” – Have you ever noticed the 1 to 2 inch gap between some lawns and the sidewalks. There are some houses in my hood that have beautifully manicured lawns and the “ditch” to go with it. Between the baby jogger and #1’s bike, they are a nightmare. The road is a much better option for us as we weave around these homes.
5. Shin splints – I don’t know if there is any truth to this, but someone once told me that it is better to run on the road because the pavement has more give than the cement on the sidewalks. Basically, it is easier on the shins. I can’t see how this would make any difference in the winter as cold is cold so both roads and sidewalks are solid, but in the summer? Yes, I suppose it might.
6. Power – Running on the road gives me power. I have presence. I am noticed. I am a machine.
So, yes, dear drivers, I do apologize for taking up part of your space. But, now, perhaps you understand why I am doing so.