In a sport where consistency is vital for reaching your goals, it should come as no surprise that runners are creatures of habit. One of the clearest examples of a runner’s inclination towards routine is running the same routes over and over. Familiarity can help you build confidence and comfort when you are starting off or coming back from injury, however research has shown that this repetition can not only lead to boredom with running but can also create conditions for potential injury. Additionally, there are a multitude of benefits to varying your routes, terrains and paces during your runs.
So to help inspire you to venture out and explore new places to run, walk or stroll, the Runners of the Six Journal team is excited to bring you a new recurring series where we share with our community some of our favourite routes in various cities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
First up we are highlighting the city directly west of Toronto (and my hometown!), Mississauga.
Waterfront Trail: The Mississauga section of the Waterfront Trail forms the backbone of many of my long run routes when I am in a marathon training cycle. 19.2 kilometres in length, it connects on the eastern portion to Marie Curtis Park and to Lakeside Park by the Oakville border going west. The part that cuts through JC Saddington Park is my favourite section of the trail as it is directly adjacent to the waterfront. If you are able to time your run to pass through here during dawn/sunrise, the view is pretty fab.
Rattray Marsh Conservation Area: This natural wetland is my favourite spot in Mississauga! This area is the last remaining lakefront marsh of its kind between Toronto and Burlington. It is free to enter and is open all year round. I am pretty fortunate to be able to pass through this area often and getting to experience how the scenery changes with the seasons is pretty special. Additionally, there are ample opportunities for wildlife sightings so the area can get quite busy on the weekends. While the trails located in Rattray Marsh aren’t long, the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail is only 1.1 km and the Silver Maple Lane section is only 0.9 km, it’s a great add on to a long run, especially if you are already along the Waterfront Trail. This 8 km loop would be a great mid-week run as you can also do hill repeats on Bexhill Road.
David J Culham Trail: The Erindale Park to Barbertown Road section is a 13 km out and back route. I enjoy doing this run when I’m in the mood for an urban trail setting. The trail runs along the Credit River for almost its entirety. Hearing my footfalls in concert with the rushing water helps to keep me grounded in the moment. Along the curvature of the trail you pass through mature tree canopies which enhances that feeling of a brief nature escape in the midst of the city. The trail also provides access to the Riverwood Conservancy, a 150-acre natural area, and connects to the Riverwood Trail. By doing this loop you can add an additional 3 km to your run.
Nine Creeks Trail: This off-road paved recreational trail gets its name from the nine creeks that intersect the trail throughout its length. It currently consists of a 6 km continuous section which starts at Clarkson Park on Winston Churchill Boulevard and extends another 2 km east starting at Hurontario and North Service Road. These two sections will be connected by a major crossing over the Credit River via the QEW Bridge by 2024. Once complete the trail will be approximately 9 km long and serve as vital east/west pedestrian connection. You can connect to the Waterfront Trail via Winston Churchill Boulevard or Southdown Road so if you need to tack on additional mileage for a longer run, Nine Creeks Trail would be a great option. There isn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic on this trail so you could also consider it for a short tempo run or interval repeats.
If you have a favourite running route in your city/area that you’d like to see featured in an upcoming post, we want to hear about it! You can reach us via email or you can slide into our DMs here. Until then, happy running 😊