0 KM to 5 KM - Week 7 - Lesson 19

Running on asphalt or dirt roads

It is almost a certainty that, when you start to run, you use a road that starts in front of your home. There is nothing wrong with taking a familiar trail, in fact, it is the smart thing to do. In the beginning you will already have a lot of new experiences so knowing the surroundings is a very smart choice. But as times passes and you keep on running so that experience becomes more and more familiar, this will become a bit still, boring even after a while. This can go as far as becoming a demotivating part of the sport and if you are a bit on the fence to go running again, it can even become the reason you skip runs. We all need diversity in our lives, some a bit sooner than others, but 99% of people will get bored at some time when there is no change in what we do for too long. No different in sports, so why not take a look at some new routes in a park or even a forest.

If you have this choice and you try it you will see a big shift in terrain while running. From just running on the paved road you now encounter some dirt roads. This is, once you are familiar with running, a good thing. The encounters of different terrain to run on will program your body and mind to better handle changes in your environment while running in the future. Especially when you would like to run at events in the future this will aid you, because these feature unfamiliar grounds and you will have subconsciously trained to quickly adjust.

A few running tips:

  • Changing the route and having some different surfaces to run on will make your training more intense and thus you get more out of it.
  • Try to switch the route a bit, even if it’s just reversing your normal choice. This small trick can surprise you 😉
  • A difference in alleviation (bridges, hills, etc) is good challenges to add to the run after a while.


Your efforts will increase as well, so the output from the session will increase with that. As you change surfaces your body will shift as well and will re-balance, causing a lot of extra muscle activity. After running these kinds of sessions for a while it will become part of the subconscious and it becomes easier every time you attempt it.

And you will have a lot more diversity on the runs. You might take your bike or car once a week towards a nice spot to run and give yourself some new sights to behold while you still do the sport you have grown to love. This can do wonders for the motivation to keep going strong.

Keep alert

Please keep a keen eye on the road while doing so. Dirt roads are of course less reliable and they can feature holes, sticks on the road, loose gravel, etc. Do not go in the dark and keep your sight clear on where you are running and if needed, adjust your pace a bit. Try to find routes that don’t shift from flat to dirt to often. Switching is good, but of course, you should not overdo this. And as with everything, practice makes perfect. Once you start to master this you can introduce more exciting roads as you go on.

Written by Run Trainer.

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