You’ve signed up to run a race, and now the training begins. But where should you run? While you likely know about the famed Lakefront Trail along Lake Michigan in Chicago, there are plenty of other places to squeeze in a short run after work or a longer run on the weekend. From indoor tracks to outdoor trails that take you throughout the neighborhoods of Chicago, there’s no lack of options when it comes to finding a place to run. Pack your gym bag, tie your running shoes and make plans to run at these locations in the city and suburbs.

Chicago Park District
(312) 742-7529

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Speed workouts, anyone? Kick your workout into high gear by running on one of the tracks in the Chicago Park District system. There are more than 20 tracks located in parks throughout the city, including those in Lake Shore Park (808 N. Lake Shore Dr.), Lindblom Park (6054 S. Damen Ave.), and Norwood Park (5801 N. Natoma Ave.). The tracks also help you squeeze in a run without having to dodge traffic. Before you head out the door, you should contact the park regarding operating hours for the running track.

Forest Preserves Of Cook County
(800) 870-3666

Schedule a run in the great outdoors when you check out the trails of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The organization boasts both paved and unpaved trails throughout Cook County, giving you plenty of options for training. Do you have a marathon or even an ultra marathon on the calendar? Then consider taking a look at the forest preserves’ list of trails, many of which are more than 10 miles long. Before you go on your next run through the forest preserves, take a look at the organization’s trail rules and regulations posted online so you can have a fun and safe time.

Park Center Health And Fitness
2400 Chestnut Ave.
Glenview, IL 60026
(847) 657-3249

Located in the suburb of Glenview, Park Center Health and Fitness has an indoor walking and running track as well as a number of cardio machines so you can get up to speed before your next race. You can also shake up your workout routine with some cross-training, too, by registering for a group fitness class. Zumba, spin, Pilates, and strength options are among the classes available, and you can check out the class schedule on the Glenview Park District’s website. Early birds can squeeze in a run before the day gets too hectic, as the fitness center opens at 5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, and at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
1250 W. 119th St.
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 995-0151

You don’t have to worry about Chicago’s fickle weather when you work out at Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center located in the city’s West Pullman neighborhood. The center boasts an indoor track and a number of treadmills so you can use just the right equipment to meet your training goals. If you’d like to take a day off from training, then consider going for a swim in the center’s competition pool. Other amenities include indoor basketball courts, tennis courts, and even volleyball courts. Got kids? The center provides a drop-in child watch area that’s for kids between the ages of six months and six years.

The 606

Check out the neighborhoods of Bucktown, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, and Wicker Park on your next run when you include The 606 as part of your route. The trail, which is approximately 2.7 miles in length, takes visitors through all four of the Chicago neighborhoods. Artwork lines the trails, and visitors can check out the interactive map online to learn more about the history of the area. The 606 has 12 access points, allowing runners to enter the trail from a number of locations. If you’d like to learn more about the trail and the area around it, then make plans to check out the Trail Mix Event Series.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at

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