I put together a new training loop I’d been meaning to try for a while on my Saturday long run this weekend. This is no dissertation on the relative benefits of loops vs. out-and-backs, but they both have their merits from a psychological standpoint. I was getting bored of the OAB, so I figured up this loop ahead of time.
If I’m not able to train on the course I’m next racing on (my preference) I usually do an out and back on the Mill Creek trail – there’s a trailhead 1m from my front door. Other recently developed trails link up to this, and I’ve been meaning to put them together into a loop.
Saturday I headed at the door at 5:15 with the temp at 63. It doesn’t get any better than that for a summer run. I headed north on the sidewalk for a mile and came to a paved trail that runs West along K-10. Bonus: first heard, then saw two owls. One took off, the other held his ground on top of a utility pole. After about a mile, that trail becomes more of a sidewalk as it turns north, but I kept heading west for a bit further before turning north – these roads had a rural feel you still find in parts of Olathe. At the 3 mile mark I got to turn back onto a trail that went down into some wetlands and worked its way over to Black Hoof Park, which frames Lake Lenexa. I took the north loop over to the dam and stayed on the trail below the dam past mile 5. Just before mile 6 there was a big uphill as the trail became 91st Street, which then heads straight back down to the Mill Creek trail. I had to turn north and run a short out and back of about a mile to get the distance I wanted, otherwise I came back on the MC trail as usual after the turnaround.
I didn’t push the pace as much as I probably should have on this run. I wasn’t quite hitting marathon goal pace, but I did get 8 quality miles in a range from the low to mid 7s. Even with warmup and cooldown it was nice to see this training run clock in at less than the first half I ran as a race in 2011. Total distance 13.18 miles.