For many runners, comfort is a huge draw. Often times, you can tie your running shoes, walk out the front door, and start your run. But when you’re new to the sport, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to run and how far to go. The good news is that there is an app (actually, a lot) for that, and you can get a lot of help from the running community too.
Where to run near your home
On your local roads or sidewalks, look for routes that have minimal traffic and a wide shoulder (or sidewalks). Be sure to follow safety precautions for running outdoors, such as running in the opposite direction of traffic. It’s also important to practice good running etiquette and to be courteous to other runners, walkers and cyclists.
When running on the road, you can use MapMyRun to plot your route and measure it. The site also has saved routes from other brokers in your area, so you can browse through them and find new routes. Or, drive your route and measure the mileage using the car’s odometer. Once you have some experience and know that you run at a steady pace, you can calculate the distance based on time and pace. Until then, carry a phone with you so you can get directions or call for help if you need it.
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Of course, the most ideal conditions for running on your local streets may not always be the case. Also, running the same roads in your local neighborhood can be tedious after a while. Varying your routes and the types of surfaces you run on benefits your mind as well as your body, because it helps defeat boredom and also challenges new and different muscles.
To find more options in your area, search your city or county parks department website to learn more about local parks and trails. Or try searching for “the best places to run near me” for lots of suggestions.
Run with a group
You can also contact your local athletic club and find out where they run their group races. Even if you don’t want to race with them, at least you will have ideas for new routes. Your local store is also a great resource, as they are sure to have suggestions for local running routes.
You can learn about parks and recreation facilities that you didn’t even know existed. If you are lucky, you may find nearby walking and running trails that will be easier on your body than concrete or asphalt. (Of those surfaces, dirt roads are the best, followed by asphalt roads and then concrete sidewalks.)
Hit the local track
Another safe and convenient option is the track at your local high school. Most of the school tracks are open to the public, and they are also a smoother surface, compared to asphalt and concrete. Most of the tracks are 400 meters (about 1/4 mile) long, so it’s easy to control the distance when running on them. If you are new to running on a track, you should learn some basic etiquette for running on a track.
Where to run away from home
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, it can be a pleasure to maintain your running routine when you are on the go. You will be able to continue with your training or weight loss program (if those are some of your reasons for running), as well as counteract some of the stress that can arise from being away from home. Also, running is a fun way to get to know a new place and see it in a new way. Maybe you can try a new surface or type of run that you can’t explore at home, like running on the beach or on the trails.
Find running routes in a new place
Take advantage of local hospitality and resources to learn to race at your destination. They can help you determine which routes are the safest for you (you should follow the same safety guidelines you follow at home, such as dressing for the weather, running into traffic, etc.).
Use a route finder. Visit sites like Map My Run and Run the Planet to find popular running routes mapped by runners in the area. You can also search for routes based on criteria such as distance, trail surface, and keywords. If you enjoy trail running, check out the American Trail Running Association’s trail finder.
Visit a working store. Running specialty stores are a great resource for out-of-town runners. Visit us and ask about suggested running routes. Some running stores even offer free guided group races that you join.
Find a local execution group. Most groups love to show visitors their local routes. Visit the Road Runner $ 0027s Club of America to find groups of runners at your temporary location. Look at their sites for route descriptions and check club calendars to see if they have any open tours during your visit. If you can’t find anything, email the club president and ask for suggestions on local running routes.
Registering for a race: If your visit timing works, participating in an organized race is an easy way to run a safe, well-marked route in the company of many other runners. Search sites like Active.com to see if there is a race during the time you will be staying at your destination. Running a race is a great way to visit the local area, and registering in advance will motivate you to run at least once during your stay.
Talk to the hotel staff. You are certainly not the first runner to stay at your chosen hotel, so the concierge or front desk staff should have route recommendations and maps for you. Some hotels, like the Westin chain, even loan out running gear to guests who don’t have room in their luggage or forget their running shoes or clothes. And since the hotel staff must know the city very well, ask them about popular attractions and sites to look for along the way.
Back to school. Most high schools and universities have slopes and many are open to visitors during certain hours. Visit the school’s website or call the school to find out if and when you can run your way. You can also research where the school’s cross country team competes; it’s most likely a great running trail or good trail.
Try a running tour. Jogging tours in the city are a great way to hang out with other runners and see many tourist attractions while exercising. They are becoming more popular and appear in many cities. For example, City Running Tours operates in more than a dozen locations in the United States and Canada.