I touched on this briefly when I wrote about my Sunday Run. I mentioned how we all have our favorite routes that we run over and over again. The problem with this eventually the routes become too familiar and dare I say boring.
The reason I bring this up again is last week's Runner's Roundtable Podcast talked about track and cross country running. Joe, Matt, Colin, and myself talked about the track and cross country scenes in our respective parts of the country. Many people don't know about it, but NYRR puts on a bunch of cross country in Van Cortland Park throughout the year. I admitted to Joe that I was scared of cross country I'm not sure why but I just am. I can't say for sure if I'm ever going to run a cross country race but the point I want to get across is this: leave your comfort zone. Find new places to run. If you always run a route in a certain direction, run it in the other direction. If you've never done speedwork, hill repeats, tempo runs, try them you might actually like it. If training through the winter for a spring marathon worries you, don't let it. If prepared properly, training through the winter can be fun. At the very least it builds character.