Choose Your Own Running Adventure: 5 Things to Consider

Every run involves decision making—when to run, what route to take, how far to go, with whom to run.

While it's easy to get set in a routine, it's also a good idea to consider your options. Mixing up what you do benefits your fitness and your state of mind.

When you're faced with a this-or-that situation, here's how to choose wisely.

10 Minutes or Bag it?

Go out and run!

Even a minimal 10 minutes helps maintain your body's running adaptations. And the brief break in your day can significantly boost your mood. (Bonus: No shower required.)

Try This: 4 Quick, Shower-Free Workouts

More: 10-Minute Plyometric Workout for Runners

Inside or Outside?

Black ice or torrential downpours can make treadmill running necessary. But most runners should get outside as often as possible. Why? First off, the fresh air is just more pleasant and will help pass the time more quickly.

And if you plan to race, running outdoors will help your body adapt to the impact of pavement and to the effect of weather conditions.

More: Treadmill Running Vs. Outdoor Running

With a Buddy or by Yourself?

Running with a friend is excellent motivation. The right partner can get you out the door, help you through tough moments, maybe push you to get faster.

But if you're tired, or coming back from a layoff or injury, take care--running with a too-fast friend can prolong your comeback. Similarly, if you do all your runs with a slower buddy, it will impede your progress.

How to Balance Group vs. Solo Running

More: Solo Running vs. Group Running: Which One is Right For You?

Trails or Road?

Trails are a terrific way to add fun and a little excitement to your routine.

You'll get a nice change of scenery and experience a new challenge as you navigate the softer, more uneven surface. That said, runners with unstable ankles should stick to the roads. Asphalt generally offers surer footing. (Wherever you decide to run, make sure you're wearing the right shoes for your feet.)

With a Watch or Without?

This one's easy: If a watch motivates you to run more, stay out longer, or complete a tough workout—wear it. If it increases your stress—leave it at home.

More: Is your GPS Watch Accurate?

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