UPDATED: January 2018
Considering our year-round warm weather and surplus of green parks, it’s no wonder that running is the exercise and hobby of choice for many Miamians. Chances are you yourself have at least taken up running on a casual basis or even participated in a 5K for charity. If you’re already the leader of your local run club or a frequent marathoner, you’ll probably already know most of this info. But for those who are just starting out, this guide is especially for you.
First thing’s first. You can’t start running regularly without buying yourself an effective pair of kicks. These days, there are tons of specialty running gear shops run by friendly staff who will measure your gait and recommend the proper footwear.
iRun Company just north of Midtown will sell you a great pair of Asic, Saucony, or Brooks shoes to get you started. They also offer training by way of their Workout Mondays group, their Thursday evening Run Group, and early Saturday morning Long Run Group, for a motivational run out of the Port of Miami with beautiful views of the bay.
Known as the runner’s superstore, Fit2Run is yet another highly-recommended shop for footwear, apparel, and accessories to get you running. They also have a Tuesday run club that takes off from MIA Brewery in Doral.
Go Run is a by-runners, for-runners shop that will set you up with the right shoes for you by measuring your gait and talking to you about your form. Locals will tell you the running community that comes out of this shop is one of the strongest and most closely knit.
FootWorks Miami is one of the longest running (no pun intended) shoe stores in town, first operating as Earth Shoe Store in the early ’70s and then later becoming the runner’s favorite it’s known as today. Located near the Shops at Sunset Place, this running store also features half and full marathon training, and a couch-to-5k style Fitness 101 program for newbies.
Another popular spot is The Runner’s High, out in Pinecrest. You’ll find footwear brands ranging from Mizuno to Adidas. There’s plenty of running apparel to choose from, as well as useful running gear from speed and distance monitors to hydration packs. The staff is also trained in managing running injuries, making it a favorite among serious runners in Miami.
No matter what neighborhood you live in, you’ll likely find a Baptist Health Run Club near you. These clubs cover a distance of 3.5 miles per session, with pace groups that range from 12 minutes per mile to 7 minute miles and up. These social run clubs are favored by much of Miami’s running community thanks in part to their ability to make running much more fun. Not only do they change up the routes frequently (avoiding monotony), but they also frequently host fun events like a Pokemon Go run/walk, photo scavenger hunts, and the occasional party to mix things up. BH Run Clubs are found in Brickell, Kendall and West Kendall, Coral Gables, Old Cutler, South Beach, Homestead, and Weston (for our friends in Broward).
If you want the herd mentality to propel you toward a crazy goal of running the Miami Half or Miami Full Marathon, Team FDC is the ticket. The group is led by a team of certified coaches and meets Saturday mornings for long runs in Coconut Grove and week day training runs during the training season, beginning mid-September, in preparation for the Miami Marathon.
Where To Run
When you think of Miami, you instantly think of beaches, so of course our first recommendations are all on the beach. You’ll often find folks running along Lummus Park, between the Art Deco hotels of Ocean Drive and the ocean itself, though others opt to jog right on the hard-packed sand of South Beach itself.
For those who don’t mind an uphill run with stunning views, there’s also the Rickenbacker Causeway which takes you in and out of Key Biscayne, as well as the Venetian Causeway where you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous beach homes and the ocean breeze.
Running on the mainland? Try jogging down Old Cutler Road for the beautiful scenery and cool shade from the tall trees, or at local parks like Tropical Park, Doral Central Park, Dante Fascell Park, Buena Vista Park, and others that offer public tracks.
And When To Run
Aside from doing some daily running and occasional training, you’ll want to also participate in some large-scale runs from time to time.
For beginners, there’s events like the Turkey Day Run in Tropical Park and the annual ZooRun 5K at ZooMiami. Those in corporate jobs can also look forward to the yearly Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run that takes participants down the streets of Downtown Miami and Brickell.
Plenty of so-called “fun runs” have also become quite popular in town, and you’ll find that at least one of your friends is participating in the next bubble, color, glow, or mud run or spartan race (or other charitable 5K). Check out Groupon frequently for special deals on registration for these events.
If you’re looking to truly push yourself, though, consider signing up for as many 5Ks and 10Ks until you’re ready enough for the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, the year’s biggest running event that takes runners from the American Airlines arena into South Beach, back down through Downtown Miami all the way to Coconut Grove and back again. After completing this, you’ll probably start wanting to train for a triathlon, and soon you’ll truly be running all of Miami.