There are countless ways to train as a runner. Every individual responds differently to various mileage, workout structures, and strength programs, and what works for one athlete might not work for another. Training plans can be strategically built to match the style of any runner out there, but there’s one workout that is always included, and almost religiously so: the Sunday long run. Whether it’s 50 minutes or a couple of hours, the long run is a staple in any runner's training. Oftentimes, location can make all the difference when it comes to getting in quality mileage that’s actually somewhat enjoyable; luckily The Region has in ample supply of quality long run destinations.
If you’re looking for flat, stable ground to get in a lot of even-paced miles, bike trails are an easy go-to. Jonathan Jimenez, a six-time marathoner, and current cross country and track coach at Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) in Whiting, recommends the Oak Savannah Trail, a bike trail that starts in Hobart off of Hobart Rd and Cleveland.
“I like that trail because you can basically run from there all the way into Chesterton without interruption,” Jimenez said. “No one is ever really on it, so it’s never crowded. I’ll go like 10 miles out and 10 miles back in a literal straight line; really great for even pacing.”
For those days when the legs could use a little less pavement pounding, local trailheads are great for softer terrain and scenic vibes.
“If you're looking for more of a ‘just get the mileage in’ type of run and even pace doesn't matter much then I’d definitely go for the Indiana Dunes,” Jimenez continued. “I love it for the views and the soft surface; nothing beats that in the Region. I like starting off in the small beach off to the left before you actually get into the park. There’s a small lot there with free parking, plus you can get in an extra mile or so heading into the park that way.”
Another stellar trail run destination is the Little Calumet River trail at Bailly Homestead in Porter.
“When I’m looking for a scenic route, I’ll often go to Bailly’s, especially when pace isn’t necessarily top priority that day,” said Grace Dwyer, CCSJ cross country runner. “It’s great because it has a nice 3.7 mile loop of trail that has everything from dirt and grass to small sections of boardwalk and bike trail. Having the loop can make your mind shift from ‘I’m running 90 minutes’ to ‘I’m running three loops and some change’ which helps with the mental aspect of the long run too.”
If bike and dirt trails aren’t your thing, take to the open roads! Our local cities and towns have some gorgeous scenery of their own, perfect for members of the ‘Church of the Sunday Long Run’, as many distance runners call it.
“I enjoy doing my long runs in Valpo,” said long-distance runner Kim Orosz. “Wide sidewalks and plenty of parks with bathrooms and drinking fountains make Valpo a great place to run!”
Whether you’re a fan of bike trails, dirt trails, or the good old road route, The Region has just the place to get those quality miles in. Check out these links to more places to have your best long run:
Happy long running!