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Are you a new runner looking for tips on how to start planning a new running route? Perhaps you are an experienced runner who wants to improve your running to train for an event. Knowing how to plan a fun route that helps you meet your fitness goals can make all the difference when it comes to improving your running game.
Considerations When Route Planning
Want to know how to plan a great route for your daily runs? There are some important things to consider. Keeping the following things in mind will help you get the most out of your next run.
How Safe is the Route?
Running in a new city can be a great way to get exercise and have fun. However, it’s important to choose a route that is safe. In fact, safety should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to route planning. So, how do you know if a route is safe? There are some common things to look for when evaluating the safety of a new trail. Generally, you’ll want to choose routes that:
- Are regularly maintained: If a trail is not properly maintained, then that’s a good sign that there is no one overseeing the trail. This makes it easier for criminals and others with ill intentions to hang about.
- Offer good visibility: Avoid running trails or routes that don’t offer good lighting. This can help you avoid dangers or even things that could be a tripping or falling hazard.
What Are Your Running Goals?
Think about your fitness goals when choosing your route. Do you want to get better at running distance? Perhaps you want to get faster. No matter what your goals, knowing them will help you plan a route that is perfect for you. Here are some things to consider when thinking about your goals.
- Length of route: If your goal is to increase your running distance or endurance, you’ll likely want to choose routes that will help you meet your specific goals. So, before planning your route, decide how long you’d like your route to be and look for options that fit the bill.
- Elevation: Do you want a course that is flat or more hilly? If you are just starting out with running, then you might want to stick with a trail that is flat versus one that is hilly. You could also choose a course that has more gentle rolling hills. This can be a great strategy if you want to get over a training plateau.
- Type of terrain: You can run on dedicated running trails that course through cities, sidewalks, or even in the grass. The type of terrain that you choose will depend on your specific training goals as well. The important thing is to make sure you consider this when planning your route.
Will You Enjoy The Route?
One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to planning a new running or walking route is to think about whether or not you will enjoy the route. Choosing a route that is enjoyable will make it easier for you to stay motivated and meet your running goals.
Everyone is different when it comes to choosing an enjoyable route to run. For instance, more experienced runners may be okay with the potential for cars and other traffic along a route, while a novice runner might find this more of a challenge.
A 2019 study that was published in BMC Public Health1 found that more experienced runners found unleashed dogs and pedestrians more of a hindrance when running. That is likely because these factors affect their ability to meet running goals.
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Ways to Map Your Route
There are several ways that you can map your route.
1. Go By Car
Have you recently taken a drive that offered amazing scenery? Perhaps the route was so stunningly beautiful that you know it would make an amazing run. Or, maybe you’ve identified a course you might like and just want to map the distance or look for any potential concerns.
Before you run your route, hop into your car and drive it. You can use your car’s odometer to track the mileage. This is also a good time to assess the footpath: Are there sidewalks? Wide shoulders?
2. Download Apps
The best running apps can make it easy and convenient to plan and track your fitness journey. They are great for running because of the many features they offer, such as GPS, terrain overviews, and more.
Map My Run
This app, by Under Armour, is an excellent tool for planning your daily run. It’s also great for beginners because of the many features it offers. Map My Run lets you log other fitness activities, as well. Using your mobile phone and an Apple Watch or other wearable device, you can easily plan a route.
Map My Run is great if you like to run socially. It lets you share routes on social media. (Nike Run Club is another app to consider if you like social running.)
One great feature about the Map My Run app is its functionality with other Under Armour products. Under Armour even sells a pair of smart running shoes that sync with the app, so you can determine cadence, stride length, and cadence simply by running in the shoes.
Under Armour also has another app, called Map My Ride, that allows you to also plan a cycling route. This is great if you’d like to alternate your running days with biking too!
RELATED: Best Treadmill Running Shoes
Using Google Maps makes it easy to map your route and see how far you have run. In fact, Google Maps is one of the most popular tools that runners use to create a route. It may be best and easiest to plan the route on your desktop and then you can use the app to track it.
Simply enter your starting point and ending point on Google Maps and that’s it! You can change your route by dragging your mouse to your desired route. Another benefit of Google Maps is that you can also plot hydration stops along the way so that you can stay hydrated, which is super important when running.
Komoot is a great route-planning app that makes it super easy to explore all of the best places to run. It is available in both the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
This app offers GPS navigation and you can download your route map ahead of time, which is great because GPS can drain your phone battery pretty quickly. Using a separate GPS device is an option, but it can get cumbersome carrying around extra GPS devices when you don’t really need to.
Are you a trail runner? Komoot is great for trail running, as well. If you are up for an adventure, you can select from any of their premade trail running collections. They have Autumn trail runs, and much more!
3. Go Old-School With Paper Maps
Some people prefer to plan routes with paper maps. Old-school paper maps can be useful because you can spread out the map and visualize your route. This is great if you are running with a group of friends. That way, everyone can study the map at once. Or you can use it to simply plan your own route.
Paper maps are reliable. GPS-enabled apps tend to deplete your battery pretty quickly. So, even if you are using an app, it can still be great to also bring along an old-school paper map of your route as well.
As you can see, planning where to run can be fun and easy. The most important thing is to plan ahead. This is important whether your fitness routine includes running, cycling, or other types of training. Planning can help ensure that you have a fun run that meets your fitness goals, as well.
Plan a Running Route FAQs
How do I create a running route in Google Maps?
One of the easiest ways to create a route is to use Google Maps. Simply enter the starting point and ending point of your route on the route planner.
How can I plan my running route?
There are many ways that you can plan your run. You can use apps like Map My Run or Strava. You can also create routes from GPX or plot them online on Google Maps.
Is there an app to plan running routes?
Yes, there are many running apps that you can use for route planning. Some of the most popular ones include Komoot, Garmin Connect, or Map My run. These allow you to measure distance, find the most popular routes, and more!
Can I plan a route on Google Maps?
Google Maps is a great tool to help you plan a fun running adventure. This app lets you select different waypoints, see elevation changes, and more.
- Deelen I, Janssen M, Vos S, Kamphuis CBM, Ettema D. Attractive running environments for all? A cross-sectional study on physical environmental characteristics and runners’ motives and attitudes, in relation to the experience of the running environment. BMC Public Health. April 2, 2019:(19) 366.doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6676-6
Kate Meier CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1
Kate has nearly two decades of experience working in both the fitness and content industries. On the fitness side, she has worked in a number of settings: youth athletics, owned a CrossFit affiliate, personal training, weightlifting coach, CrossFit coach, and fitness floor consultant at a YMCA. Personally, Kate enjoys competing in weightlifting and stores her barbell in her bedroom.On the content side, Kate’s background is in newspaper journalism. She branched into public relations for the American Red Cross for about five years and then moving into content marketing.Today, her work at Garage Gym Reviews blends her excitement for fitness and love of writing. If she isn’t reviewing fitness equipment, you can find her working out or spending time with her two children.Certifications:NASM Certified Personal TrainerCrossFit Level 1 TrainerUSA Weightlifting Level 1 Trainer
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Of course Strava also offers the possibility to plan routes yourself. The running app MapMyRun also offers runners the possibility to plan their own routes or search for popular running routes nearby. The app also allows users to save favorite routes and access them in the app if they get lost during the run.How do I choose a running route? ›
The key is specificity. “Pick a route that's similar to the event you're training for,” Arnold says. “If you're training for the Chicago Marathon, a bike path or country road would work well. If you're planning on the Runner's World Half, which has plenty of hills, opt for a park or route with those same features.”How do I create a running route on MapMyRun? ›
- Step 1: Open your desktop. ...
- Step 2: Create an account. ...
- Step 3: Open the route map. ...
- Step 4: Create your starting point. ...
- Step 5: Begin your route. ...
- Step 6: Connect the dots. ...
- Step 7: Choose a loop or round trip. ...
- Step 8: Save your route.
According to Olympic marathon runner Pete Pfitzinger, co-author of Advanced Marathoning (Human Kinetics), seasoned runners need a minimum of five days between speed sessions, four days between tempo runs and four days between long runs; less experienced runners may need five to seven days between each.How do I combine running and gym? ›
Run at a slightly faster pace and integrate regular workout intervals. Define the duration and number of your strength-running intervals beforehand and try to stick to the plan. Divide the workouts between your core, upper body, and legs. Do two sets of 10 to 15 reps per muscle group in each interval.How many times a week should a beginner runner run? ›
Most experts agree that beginners should plan to run three to four days per week with at least one day of complete rest and optional cross-training on the other days. The duration of your initial run/walk sessions should be 20-30 minutes, increasing the percentage of time spent running in subsequent workouts.Should I run 4 or 5 days a week? ›
I generally recommend five running days per week for beginners in their first year or two of running, injury-prone runners with a history (or fear) of overuse injuries and many older runners. Young, advanced, durable runners should aim for six days days (or even seven, if planned by a coach).What is the best app to map a run? ›
- ASICS Runkeeper. ...
- Map My Run. ...
- Adidas Running App by Runtastic. ...
- PUMATRAC. ...
- Nike Run Club. ...
- Strava: Run, Ride, Swim. ...
- Couch to 5K. ...
- Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker.
- On your computer, open Google Maps.
- Click Directions .
- Add a starting point and a destination.
- On the left, below the destinations you entered, click Add .
- To add a stop, choose another destination.
Click or tap points on the map to create a route. Drag points to move them, or drag segments to insert a new point. You can also undo or redo changes to your route. To remove a point, shift-click or drag it to the trash button that appears while dragging.
Running targets mainly your legs and butt. The muscles which are used to power you through your run are quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Regular running will definitely get you a toned, fit body including a firm butt.What body type do runners have? ›
A big body type that is ectomorphic or mesomorphic is going to be much better at sprinting as these traits make people much stronger. Shorter runners with thin body types tend to make better long-distance runners than taller runners as long and large legs make it difficult to lift and propel a body forward.What are the 3 principles of running? ›
These foundational principles in running are the pose, the fall, and the pull. The better you can do these 3 principles of running, the better runner you will be.What is the golden rule of running? ›
Don't Eat, Drink or Wear Anything New During a Race
You don't want to risk chafing or GI distress that could derail all the hard training you put in leading up to the big day. The same rule applies to difficult or long training runs, as well as what you eat and drink the night before you toe the line.
Running on toes makes you faster and help you cover more distance without getting tired easily. When you heel strike, your body has to work harder, creating a disadvantage for you. Running on forefoot creates more power and engages more muscles.What is runner's face? ›
What is runner's face? If you haven't heard the term, you've likely seen it. It is the face of a lifelong runner with leathery, saggy skin and a gaunt appearance. It is the result of lots of sun exposure and little body fat.What is the healthiest time to run? ›
According to science, the best time to run is late afternoon (3pm to 5pm) or early evening (6pm to 8pm). Running in the morning or evening shows similar benefits.Is running 30 minutes everyday enough? ›
Running 30 minutes a day is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and a manageable healthy habit for most people. If you're just getting started, commit to running 30 minutes a day 2-3 days a week and build up from there.Is there a running app where you can set intervals? ›
The Runkeeper app
They are a great way to increase the overall intensity and improve endurance or speed without breaking too far out of your comfort zone (or allotted workout time). It's easy to create interval workouts within the ASICS Runkeeper app (our audio cues will tell you exactly when to speed up or slow down).
- Monday: 4 miles.
- Tuesday: REST.
- Wednesday: 5 miles.
- Thursday: 3 miles.
- Friday: REST.
- Saturday: 8 miles.
- Sunday: REST.
- Tap the map icon on your iPhone home screen to launch the native Google Maps application.
- Tap the “Directions” button on the bottom of the map. ...
- Enter a starting point in the Start field.
- Enter an ending point in the End field.
With a Strava subscription, you can create new routes from scratch by clicking the Create New Route button near the top of the My Routes page. Use the panel on the left-hand side to set your preferences, including whether you'd like a mostly paved or dirt route.Is it better to run in intervals or all at once? ›
The bottom line
Interval running is an efficient and effective way to improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as well as your cardiovascular health. Generally, interval workouts require less total time than traditional distance running and allow greater intensities during the workout itself.
Improves Your Running Pace
Interval running often allows you to do more overall work at greater intensities than steady-state running. This helps quicken your pace. For example, if your 5K race pace is eight minutes per mile, you likely wouldn't be able to go out and run 6K at that same pace.
(Reuters Health) - Workouts that mix up a variety of intense exercises with brief recovery periods in between may help people lose more weight than chugging along at a steady pace on a treadmill or exercise bike, a research review suggests.Is it better to run 5 days a week or 7? ›
Many runners will never have to run more than 5 days per week. For most, that will sufficiently improve fitness while minimizing the risk of injury. Some, though, will desire to run more. For those passionate athletes looking to compete to the best of their ability, running 7 days per week may be necessary.What does a good running schedule look like? ›
According to Olympic marathon runner Pete Pfitzinger, co-author of Advanced Marathoning (Human Kinetics), seasoned runners need a minimum of five days between speed sessions, four days between tempo runs and four days between long runs; less experienced runners may need five to seven days between each.What are the 6 phases of running? ›
- Right Loading Phase.
- Right Propulsion Phase (End)
- Left Recovery Phase.
- Beginning of the Loading Phase.
Does Apple Maps have a Route Planner? Yes, Apple Maps does have this feature. The route is optimized to move from your starting point to the next location. It can plan a path between two stops.How do I create a custom route? ›
- Go to Google Maps.
- In the top-left, select Menu (hamburger icon).
- Click Your places.
- Switch to the Maps tab.
- Click Create Map. Your map opens in a new window.
- In the top-left, click Untitled map.
- Here, give your map a title and description (optional) and click Save.
If you're interested in data and exercise a lot - especially when it comes to running and cycling - then yes, there's a lot here that you'll enjoy. For cyclists, the appeal of Segments is probably worth the price alone and for us, it's the subsciption features that we really enjoy, but we're data geeks.How much does Strava subscription cost? ›
Strava has a free and paid version — the paid version, Strava Summit, gives you access to more features. Strava Summit costs $5.00 per month, or $59.99 a year. The free version of Strava offers activity tracking, a social media feed, the ability to find local fitness events, and more.Can I create a route in Strava without subscription? ›
As explained for the first case, Strava allows you to create a route from any of your past activities, even without subscription. So the trick is to upload your GPX file to Strava like it was a real activity you had recorded.