Girls Run Wild

Archive for June 2011

With just over 8 weeks left until the Giant Race on August 27, I finally got around to posting my official training schedule on a calendar.  This calendar is public and is available on Google Calendars by searching for  I have color-coded the workouts to draw the eyes to the running (yellow), non running (blue), long runs (purple), and rest (green) days.

This schedule assumes that at the training starting point I am already comfortable running almost 20 miles a week.  If you’re completely new to this whole running thing and have not been working out for the past couple of months, it is inadvisable to ramp up your mileage too quickly.  If you’re body isn’t ready, you can sustain injuries pretty quickly.  Even shin splints, as common as they are, can set your training back a week or so.  One of the most common mistakes for new runners is the idea of “too much, too soon.”  If you’re really motivated to run run run and have a hard time telling yourself to stop (even when you’re in pain), your body might break down for you. has a great section for beginner runners, including a training plan for getting started on the right foot.  If you are comfortable with increasing your mileage and workout intensity today, just remember to also know your limits – and keep those blister band aids and anti-chaffing sticks handy.

My training regime will require a mix of running, cardio, weight lifting, core exercises, and yoga.

  • My mileage will not increase significantly from week 1 to week 9 and I will peak with 27 miles in week 7.
  • I have 4 designated running days per week with the shortest run on Tuesdays and the longest on Saturdays (or Sundays).
  • Long runs will ALWAYS be done outside
  • Monday and Thursday runs may involve a combination of stairs, hills, and flat ground.  A track, like Kezar, is perfect for integrating all three.
  • Cardio exercising will be done on either the elliptical or bike and will go uninterrupted.
  • Weight lifting is still important for runners.  Just ask Thomas Woodward.
  • Core training will be done using the Nike Training Club App, Jillian Michaels videos, or an interval training class at the gym.
  • Yoga will be done once per week as a compliment to all of the cardio and weight training.
  • My one rest day per week is mandatory.
  • My goal is to go for distance over time.  I would like to clock the race in under 2 hours, which is about 9:10 minute miles.

Looking for a template for your own training regime?  Check out my training calendar – search for through Google Calendars.  Got any training suggestions?  Let me know.


The average running shoes can clock about 300-500 miles before needing replacement – which can be anywhere from a few months to even years.  Working out on cardio equipment such as an elliptical machine does not wear as quickly on a pair of running shoes either – each mile on these machines wears down your shoes at only a fraction of the rate of actual running mileage.  As someone who probably logs about 80-100 running miles and a few dozen hours on cardio machines each month, my rule is come about 6 months, it’s time for a new pair of kicks.

With so many styles and types of running shoes out there for every foot “condition” possible, how does one find the best shoe for his or her feet?  Well, that really depends.  If you’ve been running for a while now and know what brand of shoe you like, it’s easy enough to walk into any shoe store (or even online) and walk out with a new pair pretty quickly.  I don’t spend too much time thinking about how a particular shoe may or may not help with my overpronation or if it really will give me more energy when I run  – I usually stick with what feels comfortable and what, after years of experience, won’t give me blisters.

The debate is out there over whether more cushioning or none at all is better for runners.  I don’t see myself running barefoot anytime soon – or even in these hideous monstrosities (sorry to offend) – but I’m also not going to spend too much time focusing on how my running “equipment” is going to make or break my performance.  However, I do know that a good pair of running shoes need to actually fit or they could just be a waste of $100.

For those of you looking for a little more guidance in the running shoe purchasing department, San Francisco has a few stores that specialize in selling all things running. also has an online “shoe finder” and their monthly magazines often offer reviews of the newest shoes out there.  If you feel like you would benefit from a more high level evaluation of your stride and foot placement before purchasing your next pair of runners, California Pacific Medical Center offers a Running Clinic in which physical therapists provide gait analysis, individualized exercise programs, and recommendations for achieving running goals.  If you are new to running or are curious about what your body really looks like when you run, this clinic can be a great way to evaluate your form and possibly address how your technique may be contributing to pain or injury.

For those of you just looking for a store to find your next pair of running shoes, below is a list of the best stores for doing just this in the City.  If you’re not looking to spend upwards of $100-$120 right now, don’t ignore the sale rack.  You can often get last season’s styles for half off (and the difference in shoes between seasons can often be unidentifiable) or try shopping online at where shipping on returns is free.  I know running shoes sound like an investment, but just remember that they are going to get you through 300-500 miles.  That’s a lot of wear and tear for $100.

Running Shoe Stores in San Francisco:

  • On The Run (1310 9th Avenue x Irving – 415-665-5311)
  • See Jane Run (3910 24th Street x Sanchez – 415-401-8338 )
  • Fleet Feet Sports (2076 Chestnut x Steiner – 415-921-7188)
  • Sports Basement (2 locations: 1590 Bryant – 415-575-3000 & 610 Old Mason – 415-437-0100)

Have a favorite running shoe store in the Bay Area?  Please share!

The countdown to The Giant Race continues…just over 60 days left to kick that training regime into gear.  One important aspect of half marathon (or any distance) training is running part of the actual race route at some point during your weeks leading up to race day.  Once your feet get a chance to test part – if not all – of the route, you can better anticipate the twists, turns, and vertical changes come race day.  Knowing what to expect too can also help you adjust your training regime.  Hill running is always a good addition to your training schedule – even if your race is completely flat.  However, in San Francisco, hills can jump up on you, even on race day.  The first time I ran a half marathon I knew that I would have a pretty long, albeit gradual climb, about one-third of the way into the race.  However, I did not realize that around 12.5 miles I would have another hill to battle.  I made it, but I was not prepared.

This week’s run introduces you to part of The Giant Race’s half-marathon route.  It also includes a hill around mile 7.  During the actual race, this hill pops up at mile 4…and then there’s another, much less steep climb at mile 9.  I have adapted this week’s run to just 8 miles – and I have purposefully avoided running along Pier 39 and Fisherman’s wharf (unlike the actual race).  Why?  Well, it’s hard enough to walk along Jefferson St. let alone run it unless you’re out at 6am or into the night hours.

This week’s 8 mile run will take you from Fort Mason (chosen because it has free parking) to the ballpark and back.  Much of the run is along the Embarcadero, which is an excellent path for uninterrupted (read: no intersections – just a few driveways to be careful of) running.  If you do head out in the direction of the ballpark, check the Giant’s schedule first.  Running around the stadium on a game day might not be as fun as it sounds.

1. Start in the parking lot next to Bay and Laguna Streets.  Head east through Ft. Mason to Van Ness and Bay.  Follow Bay until it dead ends at the Embarcadero.

2. Head across the street and make a right on the Embarcadero.  Follow this until you get just past the ballpark.  Make a left before the intersection and follow the ballpark around back to the water.

3. Head back towards the Embarcadero.  Continue on the same route from which you just came until you hit Van Ness.

4. On the Fort Mason side of Van Ness turn right and head towards the water.  Just before the entrance to the pier, look to your left and you’ll see a road heading up-hill.  Take this street.  At the top of the hill you will come to a grassy area – almost a clearing.  Follow the foot path to bathrooms up ahead.  Just beyond this building is the parking lot (and your starting point).


8 Mile Fort Mason to Ballpark Run

I’ve blogged a few times about running stairs in San Francisco because, well, there are so many stairs to run!  And even though charging up those steps makes your legs burn, your knees feel weak, and your heart pound harder than you thought it could, once you’re at the top you often discover a view of San Francisco that will take your breath away.  Between the 670 sets of stairs and 4 dozen + hills in our 7 square miles, San Francisco is a paradise for running strengthening.

Grand View Park, also known as Turtle Hill (though I grew up calling it Moraga Hill), stands some 666 feet above sea level at the intersection of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Heights and Sunset District neighborhoods.  From the top one sees the Outerlands: perfectly gridded blocks containing rows and rows of nearly identical homes that end just as the expanse of the Pacific Ocean begins.  On clear days (it’s the Sunset – remember “clear” is a loosely used term in this part of the City) you can see the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.

At the bottom of Turtle Hill along 16th Avenue between Moraga and Noriega Streets lies a set of 163 stairs that aren’t your average set of City steps.  For two years, artists Colette Crutcher and Aileen Barr, in addition to over 300 neighborhood volunteers, tiled this staircase with an incredible mosaic tribute to the sea and its residences.  How often can you say that you’ve done a stair workout on a public, work of art set of stairs?  Head on over there this weekend and check them out for yourself – not only is the mosaic masterpiece a treat, but the view is worth the climb.

The Moraga Steps

A couple of weeks ago I shared my favorite Bay Area hike in the small West Marin town of Inverness.  Hiking is a great weekend activity and is an excellent excuse to ditch the nasty City weather and head elsewhere for some real summer heat.  If you keep a decent pace, aren’t afraid of hills, and have enough time for a 5-10 mile hike, hiking can prove to be a great workout.  Or, if you really want to push yourself, run a hiking route instead.

If you’re new to the Bay Area or just haven’t spent much time exploring the natural areas outside of the City, there are several hiking areas and resources for hikers within just minutes of the City’s borders.  Bay Area is one of the best websites I have found for discovering hikes.  Each hike is detailed with driving directions, trailhead information, difficulty rating, and any additional must-knows.  You can also find books devoted to hikes in the Bay Area – however, be aware that trails can change after a book has gone to print with different weather and erosion patterns.

Looking for a fun hike for this weekend?  Try the Muir Woods-Mountain Home 4.7 mile loop.  This hike begins at the top of Mill Valley along Panoramic Highway (parking is available on the side of the road here) and brings you down to the base of Muir Woods.  You’ll follow the redwoods back up to Panoramic.  And when you’ve made it back to the top, The Mountain Home Inn’s back deck is the perfect spot for a post-hike beer and snack.  This hike is a great excuse to see Muir Woods without having to deal with the parking lot (and lack of parking).  Complete details of this hike can be found here.

Muir Woods

What to bring on a hike: I know you’re probably thinking, how hard is it to go on a 5 mile hike?  Well, you never know what the wilderness might bring, so it’s always best to err on the side of preparation.  Wear good shoes AND socks.  Flip flops are really dumb for hikes.  Not only do you open yourself up to injury (stepping on a rock, a twig, stubbing a toe), but your feet are bound to hurt afterwards.  Bring water with you.  Unlike working out at the gym or going for a walk in the City, there’s no corner store or water fountain on wilderness trails.  Bring your phone with you AND make sure it’s charged.  Even though cell phone reception might not exist where you are, it’s always best to have your phone just in case.  Bring a snack.  Eat breakfast (or lunch) before your hike, but if you’re going for more than 5 miles it doesn’t hurt to bring an energy bar or a pack of trail mix with you.  Watch out for poison oak and check for ticks.

A Tick

Poison Oak: "Leaves of Three Let Them Be"

And finally…Wear layers – and sunscreen!  This is still the Bay Area, after all.  Even Marin County gets fog in the summer months.  And even though the skies are overcast, you can still get sunburned.

Have a favorite hike in Northern California?  Please share!  Happy Hiking!

81 degrees in downtown San Francisco right now…we all know that the fog could return at any moment so might as well soak in what we can while it’s still here.  With that said, it’s always good to know your limits when the heat is on – high temperatures mean more strain on your body when you’re running.  Don’t just take my word for it – look at what happened at the Chicago Marathon a few years back.  88 degree weather + incredible humidity shut down the race midway through.  Although I don’t expect anyone to venture out and do 26.2 miles today, just keep that in mind if you do want to enjoy the weather (and the first day of summer) for an afternoon run.  Carry water with you and if you begin to feel overly exhausted, slow down – or walk.

With that said, this week’s “Run of the Week” is back over along The Great Highway.  Why, might you ask?  Well, the sand dunes from Ocean beach have taken over the south-bound lanes of the highway and as of right now it is completely shut down to cars.  What more could you want from an afternoon/evening jog than an ocean view, and ocean breeze, and no cars in your way (just watch out for bicyclists!).  The Great Highway section that is shut down stretches about 2 miles from Sloat Blvd. to Lincoln Blvd.  Parking can be found in the neighborhood streets around this area or in the lots adjacent to Sloat and parallel to the Great Highway across from the Beach Chalet.  Enjoy the sun, sand, and the opportunity to run in the street!

The Great Highway

Looking for a way to change things up a bit with your workout routine?  LifestyleF.I.T. over on 15th & Taraval will be offering their Mind Body Classes for the next 2 weeks ONLY.  Want to try Yoga, Pilates, Core Training, Cardio Fusion…try it out here first.  The instructors are excellent and the classes are small so you feel as though you’re getting the benefit of a personal trainer.  Looking to test drive a personal trainer too?  Many of the instructors are also certified personal trainers or provide private classes as well.  Class drop in fees are $12.  Even Yelpers agree that this workout studio is awesome!


June 2011
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