Dare to compare – your three-mile run vs. mine

I bet my hills can beat up your hills.
I live near Piedmont Park and often run a challenging four mile urban course, including a steep climb from the park up to the Peachtree Street ridge. Anyone who ran the recent Georgia Marathon (or half) knows this stretch can turn legs to rubber.
I’m going to give you a chance to make me back up the challenge in my first sentence, but more on that in a minute.
Last year I asked commenters on this blog to nominate their favorite courses for me to try so I could compare it to my routine. I thought it would be a good way to see new sights. I called it Dare to Compare.
Also last year, I learned of a miracle invention that helped me overcome my longtime haphazard training routine to upgrade to a much more measured one.
I am not referring to a watch, although I hadn’t been using one of those to time my runs in recent years. My system was to check the clock when I left the house, check it when I returned and subtract a couple of minutes for cool down and stretching. Close enough, I thought.
The miracle invention I refer to is www.mapmyrun.com. Using this online mapping tool I discovered that the routine course I had run for years and guesstimated at two miles was actually 1.57.
And it turns out when I set a course based on a verified distance and I run with a timing device I get a more accurate idea of how I perform. Who knew?

I tend to run mostly in my neighborhood near Piedmont Park, starting around 6 a.m. The streets and sidewalks are dark at that time for much of the year, as they are now. So I’ve used the mapping tool to plot out my preferred training course depending on conditions. I’ve got one for when dawn breaks close to my start time. And I’m running one now with more street lights, since sunrise arrives later.
(The one depicted here is the better lit one. I tripped on broken sidewalk while running in the dark last September and dislocated my shoulder, so I’m scared of the dark now).
Last year I ran courses suggested by blog commenters in the Dare to Compare challenge, once a month in April, May and June, and I’d like to do that again. Since I’m in a bit better shape now, I’ll start with a three-mile run in April, as opposed to last year’s two-mile kick off, and stretch it out another mile in both May and June.
So please suggest your favorite training or exercise run (within reasonable driving distance of Atlanta) and I’ll pick one to review here. You can link to a course on mapmyrun.com or just write where to start and where to turn in the comments section below.
I’ll pick one from the nominations, take it for a test run once or twice this month, and post my report on this blog early next month.
We’ll just see if your hills measure up.

9 comments Add your comment

Gen Neyland

April 7th, 2011
7:04 am

I live in rural NE GA near Amicalola State Park. It’s great that city dwellers can get out pre-dawn for their runs. I can’t get started until the sun rises for fear of stepping on a Rattler or Copperhead taking in the warmth off the asphalt over night, and even at that I’ve had to side-step a Copperhead or two…As for hills, they’re right out the front door…


April 7th, 2011
10:12 am

Here you go. The hills around Druid Hills will make that 10th St. climb look like a piece of cake. I mainly run in Midtown/Downtown now because it’s closer to work though.

Briarcliff between Lavista and N. Druid Hills: http://traininglog.runnersworld.com/logs/70542920a9e14ba5a1230e812df1723d/courses/e0033eb6b52f47bcb2d185baa5efa663

Mason Mill Road: http://traininglog.runnersworld.com/logs/70542920a9e14ba5a1230e812df1723d/courses/2c58c3eb6f4842669cddd97ef393b31d


April 7th, 2011
7:11 pm

It may be a little bit of a drive, but you should run Sawnee Mountain Preserve in Cumming. You can do the outside loop which clocks in at 2.9 miles, or there are other trails to keep a little bit of variety in your runs. Be advised that you will be on unpaved trails. I find that much more enjoyable than pounding pavement. The park is open from dawn until dark. You can also see a bit of history along the trail. The most important being the Indian Seats atop Booger Mountain which was a site where Cherokee Indians surveyed the area for rival tribes or other enemies. You can educate yourself while you exercise. What can be better.

Gen Neyland

April 7th, 2011
9:02 pm

stevo : SMP is a good, yet challenging, off-road venue. Run those trails every so often and enjoy it. SMP is hazardous in Autumn but when the trails clear off and one can place footing carefully, it’s good…btw, you doing the race there..?


April 10th, 2011
8:03 pm

Gen Neyland…hope you see this. I was training for a trip to Montana last year and was at Suwanee Mountain preserve the day of the race. I would love to participate. If you could please post the info, it would be much appreciated. Hope to see you there.


April 10th, 2011
8:10 pm

…Sawnee Mountain Preserve…


April 11th, 2011
2:22 pm

There used to be a race the Atlanta Track club put on called “In Training for the Peachtree 5k”. The course was a single loop around Piedmont Park. Start at the Charles Allen entrance and circle around via Piedmont to Monroe to 10th. http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/31505894/?open_ive_done=1

You can make it harder or easier depending on the direction you take the hill near the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.


April 12th, 2011
6:58 am

Vickery Creek in roswell. Great trails (that are mapped in the parking lot) and some brutal crashing and climbing hills. Good training course.


April 13th, 2011
8:41 am

I run a good bit in that same area – the Ansley Park neighborhood is great for running! Nice wide streets, no traffic lights and not heavily traveled when I commonly run there. Here’s a nice 3 mile loop starting and ending at LA Fitness in the area:

There’s about 120 feet of elevation change between the 0.8 mile and 2.2 mile mark. (About the same as the so-called Cardiac Hill on the Peachtree course but you get twice the distance on this training run to tackle it.)