As summer is approaching and you’re procrastinating to get that summer body you’re still thinking about working towards, why not take the opportunity to take yourself outdoors and enjoy the sun? Here’s a list of my top 5 training spots that I hit multiple times a year when I’m in half marathon training mode:
Lake Chabot, San Leandro/Castro Valley, CA
This trail was probably where I spent 80% of my training, and if you’re lucky, you may see a few elite runners tackling this trail too! A few years ago, on longer summer days, Jr and I usually tackled the steep 9/10 mile loop around the lake, but due to construction, you can’t make it all the way around. It has a many hill intervals within the 2-3 miles going out and back which is a great way to strengthen your legs. It’s heavily decorated with trees so it keeps the trail nice and cool during runs. I usually use this run as a benchmark to determine how much stronger or weaker I’ve gotten during training.
San Leandro Marina, San Leandro, CA
Looking for flat? SL Marina is where it’s at (sorry, I had to…)! Depending wherever you start you can get a mile loop to a half marathon on this trail. There’s plenty of mile markers starting from the actual park side of this trail but if you plan on going the distance you can make your way all the way to the San Mateo Bridge. This trail is also the same course as the Valentine’s Day Bay Breeze 10k that Jr and I ran 2 years straight since we started dating, however we missed this year due to scheduling conflicts. It was my first significant PR so it’s a special course for me. Some perks are that this trail is both paved but also have enough gravel if you prefer a softer surface. You’re practically running alone the bay the whole time, a nicer day you get a beautiful view of San Francisco in the distance when Karl the fog isn’t hanging out.
Marina Green/ Presidio, San Francisco, CA
This course make me miss Nike Run Club Saturday long runs so much! Starting from Nike Union Street, or the Marina Green Parking Lot to Hoppers hands, up a long uphill, through the spooky Presido and down past the Walt Disney museum. This was one of my favorite long runs because you get to experience different elements. You start off in suburbia, next to crashing waves by the bridge, and through basically eucalyptus forrest. Majority of the course is on pavement, other than the marina portion. This is also a good chunk of any San Francisco race courses. Although I would always be grumpy waking up to do these 8am runs, there were probably the most interesting and enjoyable long runs during my training.
Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA
I used to be scared of speed workouts until I was running more consistently. Which brings me to Kezar. It’s located on the eastern side of Golden Gate Park and used to be home of the 49ers. After multiple seasons of running here I went from barely making it through a workout in the slowest pace group to bumping up two pace groups. There’s a little magic in the air here, despite the fact that the center lane could get a little hostile with some run crews.. (we’ll leave it at that). Your workout should consist of interval training to strengthen your legs. You have to start somewhere. Condition your body to work past those uncomfortable speeds and then incorporate it into your mileage.
Coyote Hills, Newark, CA
Right in my backyard lies a trail that goes directly to Coyote Hills. What’s nice is that one side of the creek leading to the hills is paved, and the other has gravel for walkers/hikers, dogs, and sometimes horses. I used to bike it all the time growing up so it’s invigorating to know that I can quickly cover the mileage by feet. I use this trail to do a lot of my meditative runs, or just turn off and clear my thoughts. Life decisions were made on this trail. Usually when Kathleen (whom I ran DC with) comes back to town from Alabama, we go here since it’s super convenient for the both of us to just run out the door. Fun Fact! This was one of the photo shoot locations when we resurfaced Empire and it was Ella and Joey’s modeling Debut 😉
All opinions are my own, and also what I’m exposed to! Hopefully these locations have given you some ideas of new places to run around the bay. What are your favorite running spots? Leave a comment below!