‘How do I find running trails near me?’ (and more trail questions)

Often the most difficult part of running off-road is simply finding running trails near you! What if you don’t even live near trails?

Running Trails CO

Trails near the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. More on Instagram

Finding running trails near me is a constant struggle – especially when I travel. I love trail running but recognize it’s not always possible or practical.

Not everyone lives near a trail head or big patch of wilderness ripe for exploration.  And with 3 kids, I can’t always drive hours into the Rocky Mountains to scale a 14er…

To run on trails more often, you have to get creative.

My go-to strategy for finding running trails near me is to use Google Maps. If I’m in a new city, I just look for green on the map.

Here’s my home town of Lexington, Massachusetts:

Running Trails Near Me

See all that green? I’ve run almost all of it – and have found ways of connecting the trails with minimal road running (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost in Lower Vine Brook… but that’s part of the fun)!

With just a few minutes of searching, I can find parks, athletic fields, and conservation land that are perfect for trail running – which is really just any off-road surface.

Find running trails near me using Trails.com (they offer even more detail).

Why is Trail Running So Important?

I’m not promoting running trails because they’re beautiful. Or awe-inspiring. Or jaw-dropping. Though, that’s certainly an added bonus!

Trail running is a welcomed alternative to road running because it’s a different type of stress that helps you become a better runner:

  • The uneven surface can limit the repetition of running, thereby reducing your injury risk
  • The varying terrain and obstacles (rocks, roots, holes, more turns and elevation changes) requires more athleticism
  • Softer surfaces can promote recovery on easy days

Plus, let’s not forget that running trails usually means that you’re going to run slower. And that can actually be a very good thing!

When used appropriately, train running can aid recovery by forcing you to run slower. A lower heart rate – on a softer, more forgiving surface – is how to structure a great recovery day.

From injury prevention to athleticism to recovery, trail running can help improve the quality of your training (and your race results).

Trail Running Q&A with Doug Hay

Doug Hay Trail Running

To help you make the most of running trails – and get started with the least amount of stress – I spoke with trail and ultra runner Doug Hay.

Doug is the coach behind the Rock Creek Runner blog and podcast (Trail Talk). For a healthy dose of #trailporn, don’t miss his Instagram!

He’s also the creator of the Trail Runner’s System (today’s sponsor – more on this below).

Our conversation covers a lot:

  • Our best advice for new trail runners
  • Do trails make running easier?
  • How “trails” can be a lot more than just trails
  • The risks of road running
  • Trail running as a gateway drug
  • What trail gear is absolutely necessary (and what isn’t)?

We also include a challenge for you – so don’t miss this episode.

Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher! And if you enjoy the SR podcast, consider leaving an honest review. It’s the most helpful way to show your support.

Show Resources & Links:

A big thanks to Doug for coming on the podcast today!

The Trail Runner’s System

This episode was made possible by The Trail Runner’s System – an end-to-end program for aspiring and intermediate trail runners.

The complete program includes:

  • 5+ units on trail running specifics like trail gear, benefits, how to choose the perfect race, racing trails, injury prevention, and more
  • 3+ hours of video instruction
  • Nearly five hours of audio instructions and interviews with folks like Stephanie Howe, Mike Wardian, Chris Vargo, and others (even me!)
  • 10 unique training plans (base training to 50 mile ultramarathon distances)
  • A private community and more

Doug has also included a 25% discount that’s already baked into the price. No discount code needed.

Check out all the details here. Thank you Doug!

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