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Running & Other High Impact

Best Tips to Find New Running Routes

Are you looking to find new running routes near you? Whether you are new to running, just moved to a new area, vacationing in a new city, or simply looking for new running routes you might have overlooked, there are some important tips to keep in mind. Being unfamiliar with an area requires just a little extra prep work before you lace up to ensure you have a great run. Knowing a basic route and keeping safety in mind will ensure your run in a new location is enjoyable.

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Go for a walk (or drive) first

Walking is a great way to explore an area before running. When you run you can become less aware of your surroundings, especially if you are listening to music or if you are running quickly. Taking a walk first in the area will help you get your bearings, understand traffic flow, and measure how populated the area is. Keep an eye on your running surface – is it level? There might be uneven sidewalks, streets, or roots on trails that you will need to be mindful of.

Watch Your Phone or GPS Watch for Service

If it is a brand new area, keep your phone or GPS watch out to see if you get a signal. Keep an eye on your map location and familiarize yourself with street names, or if you are trail running, where your location is on the map. Also, notice the distance between different streets or landmarks. This will help you find the best route for how many miles or kilometers you want to aim for.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

If you are running in a residential area, a slow drive around the neighborhood or town can also help. Pay attention to how busy the roads are and whether you feel safe on them or not. Is it a busy neighborhood or a more rural area? How often do you see cars pass by? Being familiar with the area and knowing what to expect will help you relax and really enjoy your run.

Also, always stay aware of your surroundings when you are running in a new environment. Bone conduction headphones such as aftershokz (which go near your ear, not in it) or audio sunglasses are great options so you can still hear clearly.

Use running apps and google maps to explore new running routes

What did we do before online map services and running apps? These are some of the best tools to find new running routes near you.

Google Maps

Google Maps is extremely useful to see what streets are in your area and what could be a good running route. If it’s available in your location, use the street view to see what the actual streets look like. Keep an eye out for side walks, shade, water fountains, or anything else that might be useful during your run. This might help you rule out streets that are actually highways or prioritize streets that have sidewalks.

Strava Segments & Strava Heatmap

Not sure where to start to find running routes? Strava segments are an amazing tool that can show you some of the most popular running segments in your area. Go to “Explore” and “Segment Explore” or “Segment Search” to view the segment name, route, and elevation. If you are looking for a flat route, segments make it so easy to choose the best one for you. You can also view the top runners who have run that segment and their times.

Another very cool resource for finding out new high traffic routes is the global Strava heatmap, which you can find here. Simply search for your area and an illustrated heatmap will come up. It even allows you to filter options such as activity type, map style, and map color.

Map My Run

To measure the actual distance prior to your run, Map My Run is a great resource. If you go to “Routes” and “Create Route” you can view a map based on your location and actually draw out the route you want to run before you go out. This is one of the best tools to plan out your exact distance and elevation. That means a hilly route, only if you want it!

woman in black sports bra and leggings running on pavement with white fence

Join a Local Running Club

If you moved to a new city or town one of the best ways to find new running routes is to join a local running club. Oftentimes groups meet together weekly for runs and will have different pace groups. Check out your local running store to see if they have a group, or have a list of groups in the area. You can also try large workout apparel stores like Lululemon or Nike who often having running groups.

You can also use Strava to find running groups. Go to “Explore” and search under “Clubs” to view clubs in your area. Sometimes it might recommend large clubs in your major metropolitan area, so you might have to filter through them. Luckily you can view the clubs to understand the number of members, leaderboard, events, and club website prior to joining.

RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) also has a tool to find running clubs near you. If you are a woman, one of my favorite supportive clubs for all running levels is the Badass Lady Gang, with chapters in many different cities.

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Running in a new area can be exciting, fun, and a little daunting. Make sure to stay safe by telling someone where you are and always staying aware of your surroundings. Enjoy your run and let me know if you’ll be using any of these tips!

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