Miami is not viewed by many as the most runner friendly city. It’s true that we do lack the plentiful running areas that many other US cities offer; however, I have found during my 25 plus years of running here that there are some locations that I can’t imagine not running through. I like to tell people that the best way to fall in love (again) with your city is to run on its floors. The views from the ground are so different than from a slow moving car in traffic, not to mention that there are distinct sounds and scents that you don’t get with your windows rolled up and the AC cranked to high.
Some of the spots I list below provide different experiences at different times of the day or year so try to experience them at various times. One other thing that I must mention is that I encourage you to be as relentless as possible and continue looking for new favorite spots. Your tastes as a runner can evolve and finding new favorite spots can help keep you excited. I like Miami but I LOVE to RUN MIAMI.
1. HARDPACKED SANDS OF SOUTH BEACH
By far my favorite route! Running any distance from 22nd Street south all the way past 1st Street to Government Cut. These hard-packed sands provide the best viewing stage for all that is Miami and its beaches. On Sunday and Friday afternoons you’ll be able to see the giant ships pulling out of port, so I try to time my runs during these times. The footing is just the way I like it, with some cushion for my stride and some resistance for strength building. This run is good in the mornings or afternoons, although in the afternoons you may have to dodge some of the beachgoers going home. The best part of this run is that after you’re done you can go for swim!
2. TAMIAMI TRAIL LEVEES
I head out to this gravel road that sits atop the levee that contains the seemingly endless River of Grass of the Everglades when I want to decompress and just run without any worldly distractions. Except for the occasional bird or even deer crossing your path, this is a very peaceful stress-free setting. The ground can get a little uneven at times but overall you can set a nice pace on this path. I enjoy this run just as the sun starts to set and in the summer this can be quite the colorful spectacle in the sky after those famous Miami thunderstorms. You can park along the canal road and just run north for miles on end. There aren’t any bathrooms or water fountains so make sure you bring your own support. You also have the option of the trail that runs south on the south side of Tamiami Trail. Be on the lookout for some Alligators too!
3. MIAMI BEACH WOODEN BOARDWALK
The boardwalk is one of my favorite spots because of the perfect blend of the ocean breeze and the elevated views of the ocean. It is here where, regardless of the time of year, that you will have to meander around tourists and the locals, which gives you that feeling that you are on vacation. The footing is pretty good because the wood absorbs the impact of each stride. I usually park on 22nd Street and start the boardwalk north up through 47th Street but starting from the north heading south is also a good way to run it. There are a few spots where you might even stop to wet your head from a hotel or public shower if the day is too warm.
4. OLETA STATE PARK
When I want to completely shock my legs and give them a totally different workout, I hit the park’s network of over 15 miles of multi-use trails for some long runs. When running of the weekend, be careful with the mountain bikers because this is a favorite spot for them as well. One neat aspect that I like is that the trails actually have some change in elevation with some man-made dredging. There is also a nice canopy of foliage, although the State is working on removing much of the invasive exotic species that provide most of the shade so the park will be entering a sort of balding soon. Keep in mind that there is a park charge per vehicle for entry. Best kept secret: The bathrooms located in the campground about midway through.
5. VENETIAN CAUSEWAY
This place blows me away every single time I run it. There are 360-degree views from the bridges connecting the man-made islands that make the mileage just fly by. The sites of the multi-million-dollar homes and the yachts driving by can certainly help the mind wander. Be careful, though, because these sidewalks and bike lanes do get crowded at times due to their narrowness. Also, be prepared to take a mandatory break if the drawbridges go up to let a boat pass through. Best kept secret: Take a side route on De Lido Island (the largest of the island chain along the causeway) to see some of the most amazing and expensive homes along the water.
6. TROPICAL PARK TRACK AND FIELD STADIUM
7. OLD CUTLER ROAD
8. TROPICAL PARK
9. BRICKELL AVENUE AND BRICKELL KEY
10. SOUTH BAYSHORE DRIVE & RICKENBACKER CAUSEWAY
By Frankie Ruiz