When I first started running, I had to develop some training routes. I definitely didn’t like the idea of an out-and-back, mostly because I wasn’t confident early on of what I was capable of doing and didn’t want to be stranded too far from home. My earliest route was zigzagging in a nearby neighborhood where I could do up to 4 miles and still be not much more than a mile from home at any point.
After a few years of doing variations of that route grouped with other safe, nearby training loops, I could safely say both that I was getting bored and that I could handle marathon-training distances without poinking some body part catastrophically. I could comfortably introduce more adventurous routes. Enter the point-to-point training run. Aside from using a ride service or making some poor sap (No, those aren’t the same things.) get me to a starting point or back from an ending point, the handy option became combining long training runs with driving trips. Weekend getaway? “Hon, drop me off 16 miles from our destination. I’ll see you in a couple hours.”
What’s great about this kind of training run is that it overlaps with the driving time the driver’s doing anyway. With my spouse, it allows for reading or sightseeing planning time when she reaches our destination before me (Pretty inevitable). Another pro is that I really like experiencing places at speeds slower than automobile speed, so I can look around and observe and think, and faster than walking speed, so I’m actually traversing some kind of distance.
There are cons, of course, f’rinstance getting lost if the route wends too much. Suffice to say that while it’s taken me time to start using my phone’s GPS and map functions, I’m much better at using them now. Bugger, though, if I’ve misjudged my battery life. Here’s a combined pro and a con: Once you’ve started, you’re pretty committed to finishing, no matter what happens.
In Alaska, where I regularly do service work, point-to-point runs work great. The first long run is approaching Glennallen (check out a map), a 4-hour drive from the Anchorage airport. The center of this teeny-weeny town (which is still the largest municipality within 3 hours) is at milepost 187. Actually, the entire town is pretty much at 187. Since that’s also where our team lives when we’re serving, it’s easy to hop out of the van at the milepost of choice and hoof it the rest of the way.
This year, unfortunately, the temperature was 90. Also, unfortunately, I tend to forget the requirements of seasonal running when those seasons are just starting. Without blaming my teammates, I had no water for my 13-miler from milepost 174. Whose fault was it really? I made it just as my wife and another team member decided I was out long enough and came out looking for me with water in hand. Yeah, the phone battery died.
The better point-to-point is from our service site in Copper Center back to Glennallen. That’s a 12-miler that I can do during otherwise social or down times that I can count on the team van traversing at some point or another.
Sometimes, I can even get picked up.
-CtCloser (Calvinthe), "Negative split or positive splat"
Text: Calvin Wang, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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