How To Find A Running Track Near You: Our 6 Helpful Tips

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If you have added speed workouts to your training plan for the first time, or have gone through a move to a new area, you may not be familiar with where your local running tracks are.

Finding a running track nearby is important to have a reliable, measured distance for your workouts, whether an experienced runner, or a beginner.

Also, if you are traveling or on vacation and still want to get your workouts in, you’ll need a place to do them.

In this guide, we will provide practical tips on how to find a running track near you so you can get your track running workouts in and done right.

A person lacing up their running shoe on a track.

How To Find a Running Track Near Me

There are several good places to look for running tracks in your area, or anywhere you are traveling.

Here are our best tips for how to find a running track near you:

#1: Use a Running Track Locator Website

There are several websites that help runners locate a running track.

These websites allow you to enter your ZIP Code, town, or city, and then the running track locator search tool will populate a list of running tracks in your area.

Some of the best running track locator apps and websites include the following:

A running track.

#2: Use Google Maps

Google Maps is an underutilized tool for how to find a running track near you.

You can input “running track“ into the Google Maps search, or look for a track by switching from the regular street map view to the satellite view.

The satellite view is the option that shows the actual photographic images from overhead the area. From here, it is easier to zoom in and around and look for the iconic running track oval, often red in color.

Then, you can switch to street view to find the address and figure out directions to run to or drive to the track, depending on the distance from your home or running home base.

A running track.

#3: Check Local Schools and Universities

Typically, the best place to find a local running track near you that is open to the public and standardized in terms of distance (400 meters) is at high schools, colleges, and universities.

Particularly if you live in a larger town or city, schools or universities should have a running track for the student-athletes on the track and field team.

However, this leads to the uncertainty of whether or not the track can by used by the public, instead of just the students and faculty of the establishment.

This is an important consideration because many running tracks at schools have certain hours that are open to the public that fall outside of the practice times for the track team or school hours.

For example, a high school running track may be open to the public in the early morning before school or the first couple hours of school and in the evening but closed in the afternoon while the high school track team is practicing.

A running track.

Colleges and universities sometimes allow the community to use the track during off-hours as well, though the running track’s open hours tend to be more variable in higher education settings.

You can generally find out if the running track is open to the public and what hours it is open by going to the college or university’s athletics website and looking under “Facilities.”

You may need to call the Athletic Director and ask if you can use the running track and the rules and hours of use for the general public.

#4: Ask 

Asking at your local running shop or local running club can be a good way to locate a running track in your area.

#5: Check Local Parks or Rec Centers

Check out the facilities at your local or regional parks, recreation centers, and community centers.

Areas with financial resources for a more robust public recreation department and public parks program often have great running tracks open to the public.

A running track.

There may even be organized community track workouts scheduled several times a week at these facilities.

These could be helpful for runners who either want structure or coaching removed from the equation of determining their track workouts or who could use support and company on the track during hard speed workouts like sprints.

Some rec centers have indoor tracks, which generally won’t be any larger than 200 m, and most community recreational facilities will have smaller indoor tracks.

These facilities can certainly be helpful in the winter or during inclement weather, but regularly running a lot of mileage on a tiny track can increase the risk of injuries due to the banking or constant turning as you run the tight curves in that inside lane.

Make sure that you alternate directions when you are running for any longer distances.

This is a particularly important tip for running on a track if it is a small running track (200 meters or less).

Switching directions periodically will help offset the imbalances in the hips, ankles, feet, and knees that occur when you are constantly running in the same direction around tight curves or on a banked track surface (slopes up toward the outside of the track).

Of course, track etiquette does come first, so if there are others using the track, you must follow the traditional direction (counter-clockwise).

A person running on a blue  track.

#6: Look Into Fitness Clubs and Athletic Complexes

Another tip for how to find a running track is to look into the gyms, fitness clubs, or sports complexes in your area.

Like rec centers, some facilities have running tracks outdoors on the grounds, perhaps surrounding a swimming pool or football field.

More likely, some larger gyms and fitness studios are now building indoor running tracks that overlook the sports courts or cardio floor, or there may be a rooftop outdoor running track.

Again, running tracks in most gyms or fitness clubs are not full or official running track distances (400 meters for an outdoor track and 200 meters for an indoor track).

This means that you will need to look at the distance for one lap of the running track and then calculate how many laps you need to run per mile or per kilometer.

People running on treadmills.

What If I Can’t Find Running Tracks Near Me?

Let’s say you’ve exhausted your options for finding a running track, and there are none where you live or where you are visiting.

If you live in a remote location or don’t have access to travel far to a running track from where you leave for your runs, you may need to get creative.

There are a few ways of getting around needing a running track.

For one, you can use the treadmill for speed work and try to replicate track intervals or repeats using the distance on the treadmill to gauge when to start and stop your hard efforts.

You can also measure out a distance equivalent to a running track in your neighborhood or a flat, local place where you frequently run. 

A person running on a track.

You can use your odometer in a car, a GPS running watch, or a running route app to map out a good mock 400m running track on the road or grass to use in place of an official running track.

If you need a running track temporarily while traveling or on vacation or if you have a particular speed workout on your training plan, you can just perform the workout on the roads or trails by converting the track interval distances to time-based interval runs.

For example, if your schedule calls for 6×800m and you normally run your 800m repeats in 3:40, run hard for 3 minutes and 40 seconds on the roads for each interval.

Track workouts are high-intensity and high-impact, so be sure to warm up and cool down before each one. We have excellent guides that can walk you through each, so get your running shoes and get running!

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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