Dare to Compare: Your Three-Mile Run vs. Mine

I could say I love running up hills and that I’m actually a Massai warrior. But I don’t really like running up hills.

Since hills are pretty much everywhere in metro Atlanta I thought I’d at least try some different hills. Maybe I’d like yours better. Please help me with my Course-of-the-Month program between now and the AJC Peachtree Road Race. More on that below.

In my first post I was upfront about my undisciplined training regimen in recent years. I guess my casual approach to training doesn’t technically qualify as a regimen. If I ran a couple of miles here and a couple of miles there in the weeks before the Peachtree – Great Success!

In fact, I’ve only run as far as 6.2 miles 22 times in my life – all on July 4th. But my familiarity with the Peachtree’s 6.2 mile course, with its ups and downs, has helped keep me vertical until the finish line. So far.

Since the first two miles of the course through Buckhead are mostly downhill, I am usually well down the road before I start to huff and puff. The next two miles are more of a challenge, especially when Piedmont Hospital rises to taunt me from the top of Cardiac Hill.

When I make it that far without capitulating into a walk, I know I can usually keep plodding along until I reach Piedmont Park.

I run almost exclusively during mornings in my hilly neighborhood, Ansley Park. I’ve been running a two-mile course most of this winter. This weekend I’m ready to bump that up to three miles,  plotting a course with mapmyrun.com. The extra distance will kill me keep me on schedule with the Jeff Galloway 10K training plan.

I’d like to hear your suggestions for a three-mile run, either in your neighborhood or one that you bike or drive to for training.  I’ll also ask for course nominations in May and June. You can specify a start and finish, or I’ll plot my own three-mile course. I’ll select one of the nominees soon and run it at least twice, and then I’ll dare to compare it on this blog to my usual neighborhood trek.

I am at a crossroads. In one direction is my familiar path toward indolence and 75-minute finishes. In the other is a long-dormant obsession with training that can only lead to ever-earlier alarm clock beeping and aching muscles.

I can only hope that I choose correctly.

13 comments Add your comment

dan chapman

April 23rd, 2010
10:27 am

i’ve a 3-miler in Candler Park with some “fun” hills. I challenge you, sir, to a race!


April 23rd, 2010
11:55 am

Shin Spints are killing me… Any suggestions????


April 23rd, 2010
12:38 pm

If you really want a challenge, head to the Chattahoochee National Park off of Columns Drive. You can run by the river….or take the real challenge. The trail itself is a three-mile loop. As an alternative, you can run along Columns Drive, until you get to Riverlook Pkwy. Then try to run up the hill for a finisher. I need my Jeep just to get up the hill, so it would definitely prepare you for the Peachtree.


April 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

I run on Emerald Drive along the shore of Lake Spivey in Clayton County. As summer inches closer and the weather gets hot the course is almost completely covered by a canopy of trees which makes for a more comfortable run. It also helps me save energy for the continued onslaught of hills.


April 23rd, 2010
1:38 pm

Try the Zumba stockings for shin splints


April 28th, 2010
9:36 am

Columns Drive is awesome but go up Soap Creek for a real challenge at the Hooch


April 28th, 2010
3:04 pm

I’m trying to visualize the northwest corner of your three-mile run. It looks like it’s taking you onto the on-ramp of the Buford Highway Connector, which passes over the corner of Peachtree Circle and Spring Street, where you’re supposed to turn.

Personally, when I’m not on the treadmill, I go down Peachtree from Lenox to Wesley and back – it’s four miles, and it’s uphill all the way back, which helps for going past Piedmont Hospital on the big day.


April 28th, 2010
3:29 pm

I agree with dan chapman… the hills in Candler park are “fun”. i.e. mary lin hill and the hill on the opposite side of the golf course.

John McCosh

April 28th, 2010
7:05 pm

@Mike – I get very close to the ramp to the Connector, but not quite there. I run north on Peachtree Street from Twelfth until I get to Peachtree Circle and then I make a right into Ansley Park. If I kept running straight, I would soon be at the entrance to the Connector.

[...] late April I dared readers to nominate their favorite three-mile run for me to compare against mine. Several people [...]


May 12th, 2010
12:02 am


Re shin splints. Often caused by running form. Do you land on your heel? Try to land towards the front of your foot. To do this, lean slightly forward so that you feel like you need to put your foot down to keep from falling. You will put your foot down on the ground, just about beneath your hips. You will keep your knee slightly flexed and will not straighten it out. Once your foot touches the ground, quickly pick it up again.

By landing towards the front of your foot you “save” your shins and instead utilize the function of your arches, which flex with the force of impact. Think leaf springs on a car. The “rebound” from that flex gives you energy in the push off. If you land on your heel, you must roll your foot forcefully to push off, which puts a lot more work on your shins (ie, tibialis anterior).

Additionally, by landing towards the front of your foot you land with a flexed knee, which protects the joint because the force of impact is translated into the thigh muscles and not the joint.

Now, if you normally land on your heel and want to change your form, just run slowly and focus on landing with your feet under your hips, towards the front (but not on the toes). Foot turnover, or cadence, should be high and stride length should be short.

Best of luck!

Oh, and yes, the hills in Candler Park are fun – Benning St between Euclid and Oakdale, Candler Park drive heading south past Mary Lin, head south on any of Candler, Stirling, or Euclid Terr. And east on Clifton Terrace.

A good 3 mile loop is to start on PATH at the northwest end of Candler Park, head east on PATH through Candler Park, continue east on Clifton Terrace, then north on Clifton, hop on the bike path (not part of PATH, I don’t think, but nice) and head west. Continue west on this bike path, crossing over Fairview/Lullwater, Oakdale, and Springdale. Head south on Moreland, cross over North Ave. Then head east again on PATH through Freedom Park until you get back to your starting point (you will cross over Euclid and Oakdale Rds, remaining on PATH).

This is a nice route. The only obstacle may be crossing North Ave….you may have to wait for a light, or you can just go east on North until you can dash across, then head back to the start of PATH. It might add a bit of distance but, hey, it’s training!

[...] A few blogs ago I solicited nominations for favorite three-mile runs from readers with the idea I would run the course and compare it to my familiar hilly trip through my neighborhood, Ansley Park. [...]

[...] on an earlier post, my friend Dan challenged me to a three-mile race through Candler Park. He’s the dedicated runner [...]