Don’t get stuck in your comfort zone plus Dave's Races

Written by Amanda Manthey. Posted in Taking Care of Your Life

When you’ve been running the same course at the same pace for a long period, the route and scenery become boring and you might feel as though you’re on “auto pilot” during your run. Most runners experience these same feelings at one time or another during their training. Challenging yourself daily with your running program will help minimize your “comfort-zone” tendencies. Here’s how:

First, runners should set personal fitness goals to improve fitness performance. Whether you are improving your time or your distance, you should be monitoring these personal goals weekly. Remember, you can’t reach goals that you never set for yourself. A daily running log is a great way to monitor time, distance, and running routes to notice patterns in your running and will enable you to achieve your goals.

In addition, choosing different running routes to vary the scenery and terrain will allow you to challenge yourself as a runner. But, most important, remember to choose safe running routes either in a park or on streets with sidewalks.

Adding sprints to your workout and varying your speed at different points during your run will provide a more effective, challenging workout, as well.

Cross training is another great way to vary your workout routine. Choosing at least two cross-training sports to include in your running program will provide a well-balanced, challenging fitness program.

Finally, evaluate yourself as a runner and choose one or two areas in running that you can improve upon, and focus your attention on those areas. For example, my areas of concern are hills and incline workouts. I purposely choose certain routes that concentrate on hills to challenge myself as a runner.

There are many ways to discover new challenges as a runner. Find out for yourself what you can do to minimize your “comfort-zone” tendencies. It will make you a better runner.

Amanda Manthey is a former collegiate runner for Eastern Michigan University. She writes about running and fitness for Dave’s Running Shop.

Don't miss Dave's Races

Runners, get ready to “take your mark” in these exciting community events sponsored by Dave’s Running Shop. For complete details and updates on any listed event, please visit

Virtual Dexter-Ann Arbor Run

Tuesday, September 1-Monday, September 7, 2020, Dexter, Michigan. Register online via the RunSignup platform linked to our event. You must opt-in to receive text messages and email notifications from the registration platform. These will prompt you and provide important links to results and custom information throughout the virtual results submission window. Our automated system will send you notifications via text and/or email with how to download and print your custom race bib, submit your results once completed, and prompt you to download your finisher certificate, etc.

Olander 24-Hour Ultra, Marathon & Relay

Saturday, September 5-Sunday, September 6, 2020, 10:00 a.m., at Olander Park, 6930 W. Sylvania, Ave., Sylvania, Ohio. Our permits are in place, we have host approval, and we are planning to run this year’s Olander 24-Hour Ultra, Marathon & Team Relay in person, as safely as possible. Registrants will be required to follow all the event guidelines, without exception, in order to participate. Deferral and/or refund options will be presented prior to race day.

As We Grow’s Diaper Dash—A Virtual Race

Friday, September 11-Sunday, September 27, Toledo, Ohio. The Junior League of Toledo diaper bank, As We Grow, addresses the diaper need in Lucas County. One in three American families experiences diaper need. Babies without clean diapers are exposed to more potential health risks and less likely accepted to daycares, leaving parents unable to attend work. Support the As We Grow Diaper Bank by participating in this virtual race. All proceeds will go toward the diaper bank. 

Blarney Shamrockin’ Shuffle

Saturday, September 12, 2020, 8:00 p.m., at 601 Monroe St., Toledo, Ohio. The Blarney Shamrockin’ Shuffle is still a Guinness World Record, “Largest Kilt Race” (sports kilt), glow-party event. Come to run or walk, but come to have fun and be part of this record-breaking event. When you’re done, join the ongoing street party celebration hosted by the Blarney Irish Pub (21 and over only). We’ll be celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, so come dressed in as much accent green as you can find.

Run for Literacy and Golf Ball Drop

Sunday, September 13, 2020. Virtual run from home. Proceeds will benefit literacy projects at local schools in the Oregon and Northwood communities, as well as special missions at the Lake Erie West Challenger Learning Center for local students. This is a family event, and runners of all speeds are encouraged and welcome! Those over 18 will also receive a free entry into our Golf Ball Drop that is taking place at noon on Sunday, September 13th and will be streamed live on our Facebook page. The winning ball could go home with $1,000!

One Step at a Time

Saturday, September 19, 2020, 9:00 a.m. at 950 Webster St., Defiance, Ohio. This 5K Run/Walk has been planned to help raise awareness about depression and its sometimes fatal result—suicide—and is in memory of Scott Hammersmith and those who have died by suicide. Come out to walk or run in memory of someone you have lost or to help spread the word so others are not lost. If you are committed to our message but not quite ready for a 3.1-mile run or walk, we have measured an easy one-mile walk around the Defiance College campus. If you want to help but can’t participate, simply make a donation in any amount.

Redhead Run Virtual 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk

Saturday, September 19, 2020. Despite not being able to meet together in person, we hope that you will all continue to support us for this year’s virtual Redhead Run. Your participation in this event is what keeps the memorial fund going, and we’re really excited to share that we have enough in the fund to provide a $1,000 scholarship next year!

WTOL River Run 10K

Sunday, September 20, 2020, 8:00 a.m. at 730 N. Summit St., Toledo, Ohio. Welcome to Downtown Toledo’s premier, competitive 10k tradition held annually on Memorial Day weekend with prize purse totaling $4,500, plus free Saucony shoes to all first-place age group winners. Start at Promenade Park on Summit St. and finish at the WTOL 11 studios on Water St. with Pizza Papalis and Michelob Ultra. This counter-clockwise route is scenic and challenging, crossing two downtown bridges and running along the renovated waterfront. Join us to remember, respect, and honor the brave men and women who have died while in service to our country.

5K Around the Fairway

Sunday, September 27, 9:00 a.m. at Stone Oak Country Club, 100 Stone Oak Blvd., Holland, Ohio.