Places to Run Near Me
The beauty about being a runner is that you can literally head straight out of your front door and start running. No messing about getting in the car, just lace up your shoes and away you go… I’m guessing that nearly everyone reading this blog has that ability? And we’ve all asked ourselves the question: what are the best places to run near me?
Worst case scenario is you’re in a block of flats, but even then a quick lift journey to the bottom and you’re good to go. It’s that simple. As well as our inbuilt ability to run, we’ve also got a special ability to sniff out trails to run on. After all, what good is being a brilliant runner with nowhere to run? That’s like having a car without a road to drive it on.
Where Should I Go Running?
It all depends on what type of running goals you wish to accomplish, really, but for your bread-and-butter runs during the week, your local neighborhood is your best friend.
First of all it’s easy to find. Well, you’re already there so that’s about as quick and easy as it gets.
Secondly it’s good to explore your local neighborhood, especially if you’ve recently just moved into the area or you’re working away from home and living in temporary accommodation. There’s nothing more exiting than finding a new shortcut that you can use when nipping out to the shop for your pizza. You know, the one’s you eat on your diet’s off day.
Why Run Locally?
Running on your doorstep is not just easy and familiar, it should be relatively safe because let’s face it, your family shouldn’t have to call the police and report you missing. Heck, you won’t even need a GPS or Google Maps, apart from to keep track of your route and mileage.
In the winter if you run outdoors after work or on a night time, it will be much more comforting to run where the streets and footpaths are nice and bright from street lamps shining down on to them.
Depending on where you live, if there are lots of dog walkers about there might be plenty of dog dirt to avoid. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of ignorant people about that don’t clean up after themselves. A lighting source will help you stay out of trouble in this regard, even if you do wear a miner’s-style headlamp to see where you are treading.
The best part about running locally is that it’s free. You needn’t pay a thing. It’s also highly convenient and when your friends are in the car travelling to the gym, you’re halfway around your local park and when they’re getting off the running machine, you’re already out of the shower. Convenience isn’t to be underestimated when you have been to work all day.
Where Else Can I Run?
- Gymnasium running machine.
- Home gym running machine.
- Athletics track.
- Public sports field.
- Countryside – public footpaths/farmers fields.
- Coastal Running Spots.
- Moorland/fell running.
- Inner city roads and footpaths.
- Mixed trail running – variety of surfaces.
Wherever you run, take your smartphone or GPS enabled watch or wearable and record your route. This will come in handy for comparing data and times further down the line.
It’s nice to have a good old-fashioned diary for backup, but let’s face it, we’re living in the 21st century and writing things on pen and paper when we can do the same on a smartphone is wishful thinking. Not to mention, downloads are less bulky and way more convenient.
The Options are Limitless!
You can try and run through the desert if you wish. Don’t laugh, Wim Hof the famous Dutch extreme athlete has hiked half-way up Everest in his shorts and run a marathon in the desert. His breathing techniques are genuine and have helped a lot of people, including himself to set a world record for sitting in ice for almost two hours and keeping his core body temperature steady, whereas most people would get hypothermia.
I’ve tried Wim’s techniques myself and after a few goes was able to hold my breath for well over two minutes. Try it and see for yourself.
Sorry for getting side tracked there, but what I’m saying is that you have no limits. Only what your mind puts in front of you. Whatever you want to do you can go ahead and do it. All that is stopping you is your own mind and thoughts.
Now I’m not suggesting you need to be as extreme as Wim, but he’s a great role model if you want someone to look up to for proof of what the human body is capable of.
With regard to running, I think it’s important that we tap into our mental toughness, especially in winter when it’s not very appealing looking out of the winder with the snow coming down and inside it’s red hot with the central heating on. That’s when we all too often say, awe maybe next time, but next time never comes.
Wherever you live there are parks. Every small town or even village should have a park of some description. Maybe the village parks are a bit limiting in size, but you could use them to do your warm up and cool down, and take your run elsewhere.
When I was working in South London, I was shocked by the size of the Parks and also by how many of them there was. They seemed to be very popular as well.
There are many benefits of running in a park. You will have the chance to talk to other runners if you go to Parkrun or just even run in your local park during the week, because the chances are there will be many other joggers and runners out hitting the footpaths.
Keen gardeners will enjoy the flowers in the summer as well as the possibility to see the ducks and other wildlife that frequent our suburban lakes and ponds.
If you go to the gym it makes sense to do a workout rather than just to go on the running machine, even if you only do a light weights routine for endurance rather than muscle mass or body building.
You can also stick to the machines in order to do a circuit that concentrates your cardiovascular system. How about doing ten to fifteen minutes on the rowing machine, stair climber, running machine and any other fancy new bits of kit that they have nowadays?
Then you can finish off with a stretching session and proper cool down in order to stay fresh and injury free.
Similar to the paid variety, only with less equipment to choose from, unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo of course. The key to using the home gym is to use your imagination, not for day dreaming, but to come up with clever ways of training hard with minimum equipment.
I won’t go into it here, but you get the idea? All you need to do is Google ideas for working out at home using minimum workout gear or nothing more than your own body weight.
As well as being clever in your training methods, it’s best not to get stuck in the same pattern of where you workout.
By alternating your running sessions from one place to another and from indoor to outdoor, you will keep your training lively and feel much more enthusiastic instead of doing the same old stale rinse and repeat all the time.
The UK has its own Running Track Directory website, where you can find the nearest athletics track to you, but if you live in the United States there is the US Track and Field Association wiki page that you can look at and also the direct page here – USA Track & Field.
Athletics tracks are usually staffed so you will have to pay a reasonable entry fee, but it shouldn’t be too bad if you only need to go once or twice a week.
Nowadays a lot of school fields – once open to the public – are now fenced off, which is a sad reflection of our society and how we haven’t really progressed when it comes to personal safety. I suppose the safety of our children is more important than free access to a sports field for a few local runners and dog walkers.
Public Sports Field
A quick search of your local area will soon pull up the best free sports fields that your local community has to offer. If you live in an inner city tower block, chances are that you can see a park or alternate place to run from your living room window. Forget the GPS, just get a pair of binoculars and get searching the old-fashioned way!
Public sports fields are in every town and city, but some will be better looked after than others. The best ones will be free of dog fouling due to dogs being totally bared off the land or at least the walking of dogs is well controlled.
Countryside (Farmers Fields) – Woodlands (Public Footpaths/Bridleways)
The Forestry Commission has a Wild Running project where you can escape the streets and get out into the countryside with their wild running routes.
If you are serious about trail running in the woods then you are best advised to invest in a proper pair of trail running shoes, as they will have a much deeper grip pattern on the sole. Some are thicker than others, but you can choose whatever suits your needs best.
The best option is possibly a hybrid sole that is suitable for all surfaces. It’s no different to car tyres. You wouldn’t go off-roading with a pair of racing slicks and vice versa.
When you run up the hills most of the Forestry Commission’s land will have all the gates locked, unless the rangers are logging or something. Farmers on the other hand might not lock every gate, so if you open one make sure you shut it behind you because the last thing you need is to be upsetting the farmer over his sheep getting on to the main road. That won’t do you any good and will give runners a bad name in general. We’re not thuggish motorbike riders, are we? 🙂
Coastal Running Spots – Seaside – Beach Workout
The National Trust has a list of places for runners to visit including seaside running beauty spots. You can savour the delights of the sea breeze in your nose while you run along the beach or if you’re a dare devil then why not jump in the sea itself?
Athletes spend a small fortune to run on underwater conveyor belts in swimming pools. You might not have the same amount of data available to you afterwards as they do, but as long as you get a good workout then that is all that matters.
Running in water is a great way to put extra load on your muscles, but without adding extra stress to your joints, whereas running faster on a hard surface vastly increases shock loads that travel up through your shin bones.
This can naturally cause shin splints if you do too much too soon. It’s the reason why coaches consistently tell a newbie runner not to do more than what is recommended, even if you feel like you have a lot more in the tank. Bones take a lot longer to strengthen than muscles do.
Depending on where you live will have a dramatic impact on how often you have access to running on the moors or fells. The two are pretty similar, apart from fell running is often steeper, especially if you are in the Cumbrian Lake District. Some of the fells there are literally steeper than some mountain sides.
Moorland on the contrary can be relatively flat once you actually get up to the moors themselves. Yes, they are hilly, but often nothing to worry about even for a novice runner.
Like anything else, though, use your head and don’t take on more than you feel comfortable with. If you are running away from home try and run with a friend in case you fall or end up in danger. Take all your essential belongings with you such as ID, a phone and water and food, plus clothing to protect from excess heat and extreme cold.
Inner City Roads, Cycle Paths, Canal Paths
You will be surprised how many hidden trails and footpaths, snickets or whatever else you want to call them. There are endless local terms for alley ways, such as ginnels, which you will know if you are from the Leeds or Yorkshire area?
The best homemade trails are often ones that are developed over time and you can add or delete sections to suit your running style and needs.
Be careful that you don’t get hit by bikes if running along cycle paths and even watch out for falling into water when running alongside canal paths.
If you are running at night time, or even dusk or early morning, remember to wear a high-visibility jacket or gilet on top of your regular running kit. In the summer you can get away with a bright T-shirt.
Mixed Trail Running – Variety of Surfaces
Often the best trails of all are ones that are like a pick and mix. This will of course will depend on where you live, but if you are lucky enough to live near the seaside or countryside you can start off in the town and run up the woods and back or perhaps along the beach.
It doesn’t really matter. There is no recipe – all that matters is that you enjoy yourself and you get some miles under your belt.
Five More Runner’s Reads
- Learn How to Run
- Sprinting for Beginners
- Running Apparel for Beginners
- Middle-Distance Running
Where’s Your Top Running Spot?
Let us know where you like to run. Perhaps you have a favorite beauty spot that you can tell us about? Hit us up in the comments below.
Until next time, stay lucky and don’t get lost on your travels!