Fun running exercise?  Try the photo hunt - as an individual or with a running group!

Fun running exercise? Try the photo hunt – as an individual or with a running group!

What exactly is “photo stalking?” Well, simply put, you walk around your city looking for different things to take pictures of. You can set a certain amount of time to run, and take as many pictures as you can find in the scavenger hunt.

I am a cross country and track coach. Every season we do this exercise as an easy run. Divide the team into groups of five to eight contestants. Each group gets a disposable camera. The group then gets a list of items they need to take a picture of. The only thing holding you back from taking a photo is that your entire group, minus the photographer, has to be in the photo. This way we know that every runner from every group was at every site.

This exercise works for individuals, too. Just grab your camera, get a list of things to take pictures of, and head out the door. Make sure you set a specific time limit, so you don’t waste your time searching for one thing for too long. The idea is to get as many things as possible in a short amount of time. It is almost like running a range of varying distances with a short recovery.

Below is an example of a list of items we’ve used in past seasons to search for cross-country photos. They were given 45 minutes to try to get as many pictures of these items as possible. Now some objects are chosen specifically for the distance they need to run to get them. The smarter groups will plan their route so that they can cover the least amount of ground and maximize the number of photos taken.

1. By a restaurant.
2. With a stranger.
3. By some water.
4. In the woods.
5. Help pump some gas.
6. By a church.
7. On some twists.
8. Do your favorite stretches.
9. At the water tower.
10. By your favorite car.
11. Do yard work.
12. Helping the citizen to cross the road.
13. By railroads.
14. On the soccer field.
15. By an ugly car.

Now, some of those locations are more than a mile away from where we start. If our runners plan ahead, they can do a full five-mile loop and cover every item on the list. This makes for a 9-minute mile pace. Now add the fact that you have to stop for the photo. You end up with a fun, but somewhat challenging workout.

I’ve never seen a group of kids so excited about running before I did. They asked to do this every week. I told them this is too expensive for the whole team. Our bill was just under $100 for eight disposable cameras and then photo development.

So there you have it. A real “fun” race. I’m going to develop one myself for training this summer. The world looks brighter and more interesting when you have to search for certain things. It makes running fun and new, even for a running veteran like myself. Try. I bet you will like it.

Author: ZeroToHero

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