Well we had our first bout of snow a few weeks back (November 17th it actually stayed on the ground) and I thought it might be interesting to go into my favourite outside runs. So given the choice of treadmill, outside road or outside trail, I would go with outside road run, providing the weather cooperates.
Now don't get me wrong, my treadmill is my friend and most days with two little ones, my saving grace, but something about it just feels off sometimes. It also doesn't help that I always run much faster on the stupid thing than I can outside (evil unlevel ground) so when I see that it kinda makes me feel like a loser outside. But more so I can't use all my cool toys, like my jogging stroller, my garmin, my winter running gear, etc... so I feel like something gets left behind when I run. Though honestly, I do enjoy having a bathroom with toilet paper only 5 metres away!
As for the outside run, I kinda have the best of both worlds since I live on the outskirts of town and can run in the country in 1.1km from my front door. I'm sure one day the city will be built up around me and I'll have to go 5 or 10k to hit the roads of peace, but for now I'll take them and enjoy them. I also have about 50km of trails around I can run in and I have on a few occasions but honestly, I don't enjoy them as much. To start with they are pretty narrow in many spots, and my double stroller is a beast. A path that would make passing someone with my baby jogger challenging terrifies me to take both girls. Another negative is the fear of getting lost. I am not familiar with the paths and most of the larger ones are away from my house and into other subdivisions so I don't know where to go or where I'll come out and I don't like surprises. I also have a fear of tripping. Roots, boards, trail pot holes. They are all out to get me! So far I have not tripped yet running, and (knock on wood) I intend to keep it that way! That is why I will stick to my road runs.
One beautiful thing around the roads in my area is the real tranquility I find running, that most people have to go to a trail for. I've seen deer and birds many times. In the spring I get to enjoy the sound of birds chirping, in the winter I can hear the snow crackle beneath my shoes, and far fewer cars drive by to bother me. Though it isn't all magical. When those few cars do drive by they tend to be speeding and on dirt roads that means clouds of dust and I worry about rocks flying at my babies. Also, there tend to be more "guard" dogs in the country and they will chase you a certain amount of distance beyond their property or run up and bite you in the arse! And then there is that whole incident with the pheasant. I also like the knowledge of the distances of a set route. I have a 5.2km, 6.4km, 10.6km and 12.5km routes I can take. I also can add 1.5km to any of them if I need a little extra push. I like knowing how far I have to go, so I can use my garmin to do the math of how far I've gone. Percentages sooth this savage beast!
What type of running surface do you prefer and why?