Fall Running Tours (and Other Ways to Make Your Run More Interesting)
Fall is a great time to be a runner in Wisconsin! The temperatures get a little cooler. The mugginess of midsummer mostly subsides. The autumn colors start to put on a show!
But despite these mostly welcome changes, it can still be hard for recreational runners to find the motivation to press onward. A lot of times, the issue is monotony or boredom—the same route, the same routine, the same aches and pains.
We want to keep you running, Wisconsin! Here are a few tips to freshen up your routine and make running fun again.
Try a Running Tour
If you aren’t familiar with running tours, here’s the basic premise: you run and go on a tour at the same time!
You’ll get a break from your regular route, and you might even learn something about the history and culture of your hometown.
If that sounds interesting to you, check out Milwaukee Running Tours. This organization offers several regular short-to-medium (3-5 miles) group runs. Each run is led by a qualified tour guide and pushes along at a relatively easy pace of 10-11 minutes per mile, with stops every few minutes to check out and explain the local landmarks and surroundings.
Some of their pre-planned routes include:
- A Milwaukee “overview” tour, including City Hall, Cathedral Square, Gertie, the lakefront, and more.
- A tour that hugs the Lake Michigan coastline.
- A tour that explores the Third Ward and Walker’s Point historic neighborhoods.
- A tour that explores the Upper East Side, Lake Park, North Point Water Tower and Lighthouse, and more.
- A tour focused on exploring the trails and parks along the Milwaukee River. (This is the only route that does not make regular stops—it’s pure running.)
- A 5-mile, 2.5-hour cruise with 4 brewery stops for 4 pints, pretzels, and cheese curds. (Probably not the best choice if you’re trying to stay fit …)
They also offer custom tours and bike tours where they donate a portion of registration fees to a local charity.
Create Your Own “Running Tour”
Of course, you don’t have to do an officially sanctioned group running tour if you want to explore—especially if you’d prefer to save money, go at your own pace, or just enjoy a little solitude.
Once of the best ways to do this is to simply drive out to a new location—somewhere you haven’t been before—and explore as you run.
For most city dwellers used to running around the neighborhood or at a nearby park, switching up your surroundings by doing some trail running can be a refreshing change of pace that keeps you motivated and interested along your route.
You might even be surprised at what you can find nearby! Havenwoods State Forest, for example, is hidden gem located within the Milwaukee city limits. Although the park isn’t huge, you’ll find relatively flat trails accessible for beginners, varied landscapes (grassland, creek, wooded areas, wetlands), and a refreshing respite from the bustle of the city.
Other options include (but are definitely not limited to):
- Hoyt Park Trail, a more moderate difficulty 5k loop along the Menominee River.
- Estabrook Park, about 6 miles north of downtown, featuring about 3 miles of mostly wooded terrain—great for hiding from the sun on hot days!
- Washington Park, west of downtown and site of the acclaimed concert series, also featuring about 2 miles of lovely paved trails
While a running tour or trail run are awesome ways to liven up your routine, they may not always be practical or convenient options for those who want to run several times per week. You may need to use other tricks or tips to spice up your “ordinary” runs and maintain your motivation.
Here are a few other suggestions.
Find a running buddy. Running with a partner gives you someone who can talk with you as you run, cheer you on, support you, and keep you honest! Plus, running with a partner helps you pace yourself—if you can’t carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing, you’re going too fast!
Even if you tend to prefer quiet runs by yourself and at your own pace—or your schedules don’t always align—you can still try to coordinate with a partner for at least some of your runs, even if it’s just once per week or a few times per month.
Find an animal running buddy. It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it works! When you can’t find a human partner to enjoy a run with you, your dog will probably be more than happy to join. You both get good exercise and quality bonding time.
Set goals. Many runners stay motivated by training for an upcoming race or event—5K, half marathon, or marathon. That’s great—but it doesn’t have to be your goal. Maybe your goal is about weight loss, or simply running for a certain distance or length of time without stopping.
Just remember that if your “big picture” goal seems out of reach at first, you can stay motivated by setting smaller, attainable goals along the way so you’re constantly focused on the progress you’re making, rather than the destination.
Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes. Okay, wearing a good pair of running shoes might not be “fun” in the same sense as going on a scenic tour of Milwaukee. But you know what isn’t fun? Feet that are seriously sore and swollen because you tried to jog 6 miles in shoes that didn’t fit, were worn out, or weren’t appropriate for running in the first place!
Switching to a good pair that properly supports your feet and arches through the entire gait cycle can make a world of difference. Suddenly, running is a lot more fun! You can start to enjoy your surroundings rather than think about how much your feet hurt.
We hope you’ve found some good tips here that can help you spice up your fall runs a little bit and find the motivation to stay active! Of course, if you start experiencing any pain or discomfort whatsoever during or after your run, give us a call.
We are Greater Milwaukee’s top choice when it comes to prompt, effective foot and ankle care for all kinds of foot and ankle injuries.
Give our Hales Corners office a call today at (414) 425-8400 to set up an appointment.
"Feel Good Feet: A User's Guide to Foot & Ankle Health"