How to Build a Running Track

Ryan Angus

A running track at your home can be a convenient alternative to your local track or gym—it is always nearby and, best of all, there are no crowds. Perhaps the best news about a running track is that it can be an easy and inexpensive project that will add unique flair to your yard.

Your running track can be as simple or elaborate as you wish to make it.

Build a Grass Running Track

  1. Find a mostly level area of your yard that will fit a running track of the length you desire.

  2. Walk through your yard with a measuring device to determine the path that your track will follow. This may take a few attempts to get the distance right.

  3. Walk this path again, this time marking your route on the grass with lines of spray paint.

  4. Set the mowing deck on your mower as low as it will go and mow your grass, following the spray paint lines. Mow along the line for a narrow track, or mow to the left of the lines and then the right to make a wide track. Let the grass around and inside the track grow longer than grass on the track to make it distinguishable from the rest of your yard.

  5. Mark the track boundaries with rocks, bricks, or boards if you wish.

Build a Dirt and Gravel Track

  1. Follow Steps 1-4 in Section 1 above.

  2. Break up the soil of the track with a tiller or a rake. The objective is to remove the layer of grass from the topsoil of your track in preparation for the dirt and gravel.

  3. Line the borders of your track with bricks or boards to contain the dirt and gravel within the track boundaries. Sink the bricks or boards into the ground a few inches so that they will not move.

  4. Walk over the loose dirt of the track to tamp it down as much as possible.

  5. Add the fill dirt to the track and top it off with a layer of pea gravel. This gravel will eventually compress itself into the dirt providing you with a very forgiving running surface. The gravel will also help to minimize the effects of rain on your track.