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Gus’ 7 Best Running Tracks in Melbourne

As a Podiatrist based in Melbourne let me share with you my favourite & the best running tracks in Melbourne. There is nothing better than being able to get out and go for a run after a busy day in the clinic. Like many others, I find running really helps not only to maintain a healthy fitness base, but also to clear and refresh a weary or muddled head. 

If you’re a Melbourne runner our podiatrists are here to help you overcome any injuries and achieve your goals.

With 5 clinic locations across Melbourne you can get started today.

Being privileged enough to be able to experience a majority of the great public tracks and trails throughout the city, I thought this might be a great opportunity to introduce 7 of my favourite running tracks in Melbourne. As well as what sessions I use them for and a sneaky insight into the shoes I’m training for the session.

I’ll break this down to a compare shorter, flatter tracks; for speed sessions or even an easier 30 minute jog, to long my run 30km+ options. 

By the end of this I hope you’ll find a new favourite running track in Melbourne or maybe we’ll bump into each other on a long run. You could even pick up a new running track to break up your running habits. We do know variety (along with a few other things) is essential to maintain an injury free runner’s workload.

So here they are.

Melbourne’s Best Short Running Tracks (~30mins)

The following tracks are shorter and all a loop. They’re perfect for beginner runners or those looking to go fast. Basically any fitness level can get something out of these running tracks in Melbourne.

The Tan

Everyone’s favourite running track.

The Tan is a great 3.8km gravel track surrounding Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens that is busy and filled with runners and walkers year round. 

You’ll find it a relatively flat course apart from the heartbreaking 500m stretch up Anderson Street Hill. Perfect for those looking for a hill repetition spot. 

Whilst on the run you’ll pass by the famous Shrine of Remembrance, Arts Centre spire, Sidney Myer Music Bowl and NGV. In the evening you’ll get great views of the city skyline as you swing through the gardens. The track is suitably wide so even when busy there is enough space on the walking tracks for runners and walkers alike.

The tan also has a couple of races a year, including as part of Sole Motive sunset series. It’s a very popular race and a recreational runner’s go to event. For those ultra quick and ultra competitive, you can check out the Strava leader board for some serious times for Men and Women Elite and Sub-Elite runners.

Albert Park Lake

albert park lake one of the best running tracks in melbourne
via Strava

A personal favourite of mine. The Albert Park lake running track is a 4.8km flat, gravel track located around the outside of the lake track and inside the Formula 1 circuit. 

The track, lake and parks are filled with native bird life. You’ll find both swans and rowers strutting their stuff on the lake.

An added benefit is 500m markers around the entire lake. This can be handy for those looking to do some tempo work or those just starting and building up their fitness.

One word of warning from a regular runner… Strong winds can whip up around the lake and it can be quite exposed and windy at times.

If you’re interested every Saturday at 8am park run hosts 5km loop.

Princess Park

princess park is one of the best short running tracks in melbourne
via Strava

Princess park running track is a 3.2km round loop which is a favourite of a few of my podiatry colleagues who live nearby.

The gravel track loops around the outside of the Princess Park sporting ovals and Princess Hill tennis club. One side of the track is straight all the way along Royal Parade and the other side twists pasts the cemetery in Carlton North.

The course is flat and has no significant incline.  Just like the Albert Park lake track there is signage for 500m blocks making this a perfect spot for specific speed work or interval training. Throughout the park there’s numerous fitness challenge stations where you can do some bodyweight resistance training on chin up bars or other work out equipment. 

For those who like a little of extra distance and variety there is an extension of the track which loops around and through Royal Park. If you take this you’ll be running around the Melbourne Zoo where you can hear the Lion’s yawning at dusk and dawn.

The Princess Park loop is a great spot to try out your new lightweight and responsive race shoe. For me it was the new On Cloudboom Echo.

Just like the Tan track, Princess Park and Royal Park / Melbourne Zoo plays host to a couple of races a year. All are part of Sole Motive sunset series.

Maribyrnong River Loop

Maribyrnong River Loop best running tracks in melbourne
via Strava

Following the palm-tree-populated banks of the Maribyrnong river lies a 4km track.  

The loop is relatively flat, comprising both footpath and grass with only a few small inclines along the way.

Right in the heart of the busy North West of Melbourne this is a popular route for those looking to get in a shorter easy run. If you have some more time or looking to go further you can extend to a 7km track. 

A highlight of the area is the local post run refreshments. Why not reward yourself with a coffee or treat from the nearby cafes. Like me, you won’t be disappointed.

Melbourne’s Best Long Running Tracks (~60min+)

These running tracks in Melbourne are for when you have more time or a good fitness level ready to challenge yourself.

Beach Road & The Esplanade

beach road and the esplanade is one of the best running tracks in melbourne great seaside views
via Strava

Feel the sea breeze!

Beach road and the esplanade provide the perfect canvas for any run. 

With kilometres of specific paved footpath and bike track along the coastline and beaches this provides an iconic run through the south coast of Melbourne.

Whether it be starting at Port Melbourne, St Kilda, Elwood or Brighton Surf Life Saving Clubs and making your way South east or North west, you won’t be disappointed with the panoramic views.

One caution. I’ve found that it can get really busy during peak summer times. You’ll also be exposed to the elements and wind. Prepare accordingly.

This course plays home to several triathlon and fun runs courses throughout the year. The Carmen’s Women’s Fun Run is a highlight.

Capital City Trail

capital city trail melbourne running track
via Strava

The Capital City Trail follows the south bank of the Yarra River through the city and loops up around Melbourne’s inner north. 

The trail links several of the above listed shorter trails together to create a 32km track around some of the most picturesque and popular areas of Melbourne. This includes sections of the Merri Creek, Moonee Ponds Creek, Main Yarra and Inner Circle Rail trails. 

When you’ve got a 30km long run scheduled into your program this is definitely a track you should consider.

I armed myself with a pair of Nike ZoomX Invincible Run’s to provide a bit more cushion and ride throughout the kilometres.

Yarra Trail

the yarra trail is one of the best running tracks in melbourne with plenty of hills and variation
via Strava

A great run with plenty of variety. You’ll find that this loop is roughly 12km and mostly paved pathways throughout. 

This track will take you through the Yarra Bend Park, past the Collingwood Children’s farm and Abbotsford convent. You’ll follow the Yarra River, and duck in and out of Yarra park around the Yarra bend golf course. Experienced runners like to use some of the Hill’s around Studley Park for their training sessions and they provide good variation.

As you swing up to the highest climbs of the Yarra trail you’ll be amazed how good the panoramic views of the city of Melbourne are. 

 My Takeaways on Running Tracks in Melbourne

When it comes to running tracks in Melbourne there’s a few key takeaways to remember. 

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of hills – especially if you’re new to running. They help build speed and endurance.
  2. Find a route that suits your pace and ability. Some people prefer fast paced routes while others enjoy longer slower ones.
  3. Be prepared for weather. It may rain on occasion but don’t let that stop you. Just make sure you bring enough water and wear appropriate clothing.
  4. Running injuries are not trivial. If you get sore during or after a run come and see us podiatrists who can get you back on track with your running goals.
  5. Have fun and remember to smile 🙂

About the Author

podiatrist gus mcsweyn is available for consultations in melbourne CBD and pascoe vale

Gus McSweyn

A keen runner and experienced Melbourne podiatrist. Gus loves running nearly as much as running shoes. If you have a running related injury or goal you can book in with Gus or his colleagues.