Running while Traveling: Finding Good Running Routes

Our recent cross-country road trip allowed me to add 4 (!) new states to my favorite running collection. The new items in the collection are Tennessee (Memphis), New Mexico (Santa Fe), Arizona (Page), and Nevada (Las Vegas – the glorious Strip!). My hands-down favorite was the run in Arizona, where the hotel manager recommended a lovely 3-mile route through the ATV tracks and a dried-up river (locals called it “a wash”) on the outskirts of town, the scenic and deserted feel of which I absolutely loved. Got some red mud on my running shoes and could not have been happier about that.

I am sometimes asked how I find suitable running routes while traveling. I mostly use the following:

  • Google, Mapmyrun and a number of similar websites offer a very good collection of routes favored by the locals. Oftentimes, googling “Best running routes [ CITY X] ” is all it takes to find a good route.
  • Local running clubs’ websites often have detailed descriptions of the best routes in the city – such as NYRR does for New York’s Central Park, or SFRRC does for the city of San Fransisco.

While quite effective for bustling centers of large cities, websites tend to be not as efficient for smaller cities or for suburbs. Thus –

  • I also usually ask for good running routes at the hotel, during check-in or later, and oftentimes end up hearing great suggestions, – which on this trip was the case for both Memphis, TN and Page, AZ. Some hotels even carry special running maps that they happily share if asked. Perhaps equally important, the hotel staff typically known where not to go running – which on this trip was the case in California, where I was told that the road that seemed like a good option to me was actually too crowded and would not have been a pleasant experience.
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