When Terence Teo first started running in 2008, his only route was a small park near his Tampines neighbourhood, around which he ran 400m loops.
After two or three months, though, the monotony finally got to him. "That was when I started to look for a change," said Teo. "From there I slowly progressed to covering the whole estate, increasing mileage according to my comfort zone."
Today, the 35-year-old founder of running group Running Department is not only comfortable with creating his own routes, but has also travelled overseas to compete.
Teo, who recently ran in the 22km category of the Ultra-Trail Australia in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains in New South Wales, believes a good running route is one that is flat, with little traffic and congestion.
"A flat path is good because it's easier to train," he explained. "Having no congestion means runners can avoid a crowd, and less traffic prevents vehicle interference or accidents that could happen.
"Ideally, places should also be shady because we have to take the hot weather of Singapore into consideration; that plays a very important part in training."
The digital marketer recommends places like East Coast Park, Labrador Park and Bedok Reservoir for new runners who are keen to veer away from the treadmill.
Once they have gained enough confidence and running experience, he added, they will then feel comfortable devising routes of their own.
Runners from the Running Department meet every Wednesday and Saturday, clocking distances between nine and 15km each time.
THE BENEFITS OF CHANGE
Varying your route and enjoying the scenery is always good, because that makes the experience refreshing and your long runs don't become boring.
TERENCE TEO, founder of Running Department, a non-profit community.
The Wednesday runs take place in the Central Business District, starting from UOB Plaza, while Saturdays are spent either at Labrador Park or East Coast Park.
Said Teo: "Sometimes we also map out and explore new routes, like the trail at Chestnut Nature Park, or running from Punggol Waterway to Coney Island.
"Varying your route and enjoying the scenery is always good, because that makes the experience refreshing and your long runs don't become boring."
About 15 to 20 pacers from Running Department will help train participants in this year's Straits Times Run on July 16, which will end at the Padang.
• For more information, visit www.straitstimesrun.com