Find "Running Routes Near Me" wherever you are!
Access running routes near “me” when you are on a vacation or a weekend gateway at a location you have never been to before might not be easy.
So, how do you find interesting running routes? Of course, you can run around the block or on the treadmill. That’s always an option. But, you can do way better!
How do you find running routes nearby? Are there any tools that can help you plan and prepare your running routes? There are actually many. And, I will help you navigate those.
To be honest, I often decide where I want to spend some time based on the trails I want to run.
Running in a different country, a new city, or a trail can be intimidating. And for good reasons.
In this blog, I share how to be prepared to run in a new location and avoid finding yourself in a bad situation. I am using Tucson, AZ as a real-life example.
Here are 5 ways to find and create running routes near me that I explain in this blog:
#1 Participate in a local race.
That’s the most straightforward way to discover a new area. Whether trails or roads, these races usually showcase what’s best in town. And, you can schedule a family trip around that race too.
The easiest way to find a race is to search online. Using our example, type in “running races in [Tucson, AZ]”. Replace Tucson, AZ with your destination. It will display a list of websites with many race options. Between runningintheusa.com and runsignup.com you should have a very good idea of the races available throughout the year. You can choose your distance and surface. And then, train for it.
Now, a race occurs on one day and you may want to run more than that.
Let’s say if you want to run 3-8 miles every day. Then, you need another way to find routes near “me”.
#2 Ask the locals.
Local runners would be my go-to resource to find the best trails and scenic running routes. They know first-hand what the terrain looks like, if water is available on the trails, and whether that route is safe during the day or at specific hours.
Running clubs are great if you do not want to run solo and are a social runner. Many meet once or twice a week and you can buddy up for a run as well.
Similar to running clubs, running stores can help you too.
My secondary local resources are your Airbnb host or hotel concierge. They might know what to see around and what trails are great for hiking. They will lack the specifics of running if they are not runners themselves though.
How do you find local running clubs, running stores, and local runners?
The first two are pretty easy to find thanks to Google or Bing.
Just search “running club in [Tucson, AZ]” and you will have a list. Now, all you have to do is reach out to them. Same with “running stores in [Tucson, AZ]”. All you have to do is reach out to them and ask your questions about meetups and local routes.
Now, how do you find local runners?
Running clubs and running stores can and will certainly help you. The way I did it for my trip to Tucson though was to join a local Facebook group and ask my questions.
#3 Search online.
Another very straightforward way to find running routes is to use an online search engine.
Let’s say you want to run in Tucson: search for “running routes in [Tucson, AZ]”. Among the websites listed, Alltrails and Trail Run Projects are the ones I use mostly. They are great for inspiration and trail running routes. And you can download the .GPX* file of the route that then can be uploaded into your smartwatch and or specific phone apps such as Strava and GAIAgps. More on that in the next section.
*The GPX (GPS eXchange Format) is a standard file format used for exchanging GPS data between different software applications, devices, and platforms…
Trail Run projects is an awesome resource. Not only you can download the routes but trails are organized by difficulty and distance. And you can find many images for each route. Which is really helpful to make your decision about running a route.
Alltrails is similar. The great benefit of using Alltrails is the trip reports feature. When you can read a trip report from a couple of days that gives you invaluable information about the trail condition.
#4 Use technology.
And, by technology, I really mean phone Apps.
There are many apps out there. In this section, I will go through the two that I use: Strava and GAIAgps. I find them user-friendly and complimentary.
Strava helps find popular routes (heatmap) and create routes either from scratch or based on the ones I found in section #3 above. Personally, I find it easier to use the Strava web version to create running routes near me.
And GAIAgps helps me navigate my track like a GPS. Bonus, GAIAgps works also offline. Which is a great feature to save your phone’s battery life.
Although GAIAgps is free to use for the GPS feature, Srava requires a subscription to use the map feature as described here.
This article is not meant to deep dive into each app but to show you how you can use them when you need to find running routes near “me”.
Here is a video that describes how to find and use routes from the Strava app:
And this one to create your own route:
For Garmin users, Garmin Connect has similar features at no additional cost.
See a demo below:
Let say you don’t have a paid subscription with Strava. The easiest way is to find the gpx file of the route you want to run from a website like Trail Run Projects. You download it and then add it to GAIAgps, Alltrails or Garmin Connect.
Here is a demo to do just that here:
#5 Hire a guide.
This option is not the most popular, I think. But there are organizations that offer running camps and guided runs. Usually, these are trail running and not road running. It’s easier to find road running routes on your own using the resources above.
For trail running though here are some resources:
Aspire, Motivation Running (with coach Stephane), Run the Alps, Trail & Roots (Heather and Zandy are great friends), Trail Run Adventures, or Vacation Races (I’ve done a few races with them) just to name a few. And a few more running companies for guided runs can be found here.
These trail running camps or guided runs are great for all levels. They are usually for the more adventurous runners. These camps will always feature amazing landscapes and mountains. And the good part is that you don’t have to bother finding roads or trails where you can run. They all will take care of everything.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Whether I coach you, I will always be happy to help you.
Motivation Running Coach.
RRCA Certified Run Coach.