Grass vs. Asphalt

I’m used to running on asphalt.  I run on roads, and on concrete sidewalks when I have to.  But mostly roads, with the occasional paved trail.  I like it.  It’s usually even, and if there are potholes or something, they’re easy to see and avoid.

Today I woke up with a plan to go for a run.  It would be my first run since the half marathon on Saturday, and I was kind of excited.  I got up, threw a load of laundry in the washer, ate a breakfast of a turkey sandwich, put some clothes on, hung the laundry on the line, and sat down to read for a bit.  Then I started getting these terrible stomach cramps.  Not sure where those came from.  The turkey was just purchased on Saturday and Chef and I both ate some maybe two days ago. It smelled fine, so I can’t imagine it had gone bad.  Still, I had terrible pains.  I made myself a cup of ginger tea and put off the run.

Chef plays soccer with friends at lunchtime on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I like to go and watch on Wednesdays when I can.  They had moved their games from the field at the University to the gym at the YMCA for the fall and winter.  But today was such a beautiful day, he was hoping they’d have it at the field.  I packed a bag with workout clothes, so that if we went to the Y, I could run on the treadmill.  Then, at the last minute, I put some shorts and a running top on under my clothes, just in case they played at the field.  That way, I could run laps around the soccer fields.

As we came to the stoplight at the edge of the University, we saw that the guys had indeed had the good sense to enjoy this beautiful, sunny, 70 degree day by playing outside.  Chef changed his shoes, and I took off my jeans and put on my Nikes and took off around the fields.  I’m guessing each lap was a quarter mile, and I ended up running six laps, with one lap of walking.  A mile and a half is a short run for sure, but probably a good recovery run.

Plus, I had some muscles hurting.  Running on grass is a lot different than running on asphalt.  I know, that’s obvious, and I did already know this, but it was a re-education.  The ground was pretty flat and level, and there weren’t any big holes.  I didn’t fear turning an ankle or anything.  But grass is still a lot less even than asphalt, and I had to use my calves and ankles in ways they aren’t used to.  I think I liked it though.  I don’t have a lot of opportunity to run on grass or unpaved trails, but I definitely see the appeal.  It’s softer impact, so probably easier on the joints, but it’s more of a challenge with balance, so the ankles and knees and even the hips and back get a different workout.  Based on this experience, I’ll be more likely to run on unpaved trails when the opportunities arise.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Blythe
    Oct 21, 2009 @ 17:23:45

    I’ve always preferred grass to the road! Nowadays, if I run at all, I have to run on trails because of my bad ankles. If you’re looking for ‘soft’ places to run, try Mounds State Park. I used to run there a lot. I also remember running around the grassy field near the old BSU cinder track, across from Ball Hospital. Another option is moving to Colorado where there are plenty of trails. I know a condo that you can rent. 😉

  2. rita
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 10:35:24

    Good to hear from Blythe! Happy memories!
    As far as grass or asphalt running, I don’t know what I prefer. Shows I don’t do enough of either for fair comparison.

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