Girls Run Wild

Archive for the ‘San Francisco Running Routes’ Category

With the Giant Half Marathon coming up in 18 days, I’ve decided that it would behoove me to move my shorter training runs outside and off the treadmill.  Yesterday I set out after work to see if I would be able to tolerate an evening run through the financial district and along the Embarcadero.  My long training run from a few weeks ago during which I battled thousands of tourists for sidewalk space had left a bad taste in my mouth.  But I knew that with such a runner’s playground at my doorstep, I had to at least try it once.

I headed out the office door around 7pm and the setting sun made for a shaded and cool route.  Once on the Embarcadero, there are very few places where a run can be interrupted by a passing car.  This makes for a great opportunity for keeping pace and zoning out.  The Giant’s were in town yesterday, but by the time I reached the ballpark, most of the fans were in their seats.  Pedestrian traffic wasn’t too bad, the views were amazing, and I was very happy that I gave the Embarcadero a second chance.

Yesterday’s run covered about 5 miles with a slight detour through Telegraph Hill, North Beach, and the Jackson Historic district.  The Financial District and Embarcadero are almost completely flat, but Telegraph Hill gave the run a much-needed challenge.

SF Downtown 5 Mile Run

Directions (from the foot of Market Street):

1. Head towards the Ferry Building and make a right along the Embarcadero.  Once you’ve past the Java House (NOT to be confused with Red’s Java House), stay left on the path.  This will take you to the back of the Giant’s stadium.  There will be a public bathroom on your right (this was closed yesterday, but there is an outdoor water fountain attached). This is your turn around point.

2. Head back along the Embarcadero and continue past the Ferry Building.  When you come to Pier 23 (it’s a bar), head across the street to Levi’s Plaza.  Meander your way through the plaza to Filbert Street.

3. Continue on Filbert – you will see a set of stairs up ahead.  Get your lungs and your legs ready.

4.  Head up the set of stairs.  The cement flights will turn into wooden stairs – to your left and right be sure to check out the homes that dot the hill.  This big set of stairs will break at Montgomery Street.  Look up – Coit tower will be right above you.

View of Coit Tower from Montgomery and Filbert Streets

5.  Make a left onto Montgomery.  Head up the hill (don’t worry, it’s short), and continue onto another set of stairs (this set heads down).  The Transamerica Building will be in front of you.  Follow Montgomery to Market Street.

View of Montgomery Street from Union & Montgomery

6.  Make a left onto Market and head back to the starting point.

One of the more difficult aspects of longer race training in San Francisco is plotting long distance training courses given the limitations of the city’s geography, traffic, and terrain.  Whenever I have to set out on a long run, like this past weekend’s 9 miler, I use the website walkjogrun.net to figure out the proper distance over an area of the city where I know I won’t be interacting with too many hills, cars, or people.  Finding an area that foots the bill for all three isn’t easy, but I’ll do what I can with what I’ve got.

This past weekend I scouted out a long run that meandered around Ft. Mason, the Marina, and the Embarcadero to the ball park and back.  It.was.a.long.run – and yet still 4 miles short of The Giant Race in 5 weeks.  The course was relatively flat with a steep hill around 1.25 miles and another a few blocks shy of the finish line.  My big regret is that I didn’t set out earlier for this exercise – I hit the Embarcadero around noon and found myself in a four mile battle with San Francisco’s summer tourist scene.  The Embaracadero is a wonderful place to run – it’s flat, scenic, and did I say flat?  But any time you’re trying to run and a group of 20 tourists scratching their heads appears every 10 feet, you want to scream.  I survived, though, and next week may cover some of the same asphalt for my -gasp – 10 mile run.

For anyone interested in the route I took, see my directions and map below.  I designed the route hopeful that I would be avoiding the weekend crowds around San Francisco’s waterfront.  I was overly optimistic, but I know that if I’d set out a couple of hours earlier (read: 8am-9am) my path would have been void of a lot more foot traffic.  If you try this out, don’t forget the sunscreen.  Most of the route is void of shade until the late afternoon.

9 Mile Run

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Start in the parking lot adjacent to the Ft. Mason homes (along Bay at Octavia).

2. Head west on Bay and North on Laguna.  Follow this as it turns into Marina Blvd.  Stay on Marina until you hit Casa Way – and then turn around and head back towards Ft. Mason.

3. As Marina Blvd turns into Laguna again, take the foot/bike bath to your left (uphill) through the grassy area of Ft. Mason.  Stay to the path on the left and follow this until you hit the water at Van Ness.

4. Look for the foot path on your left that follows the water around past Ghiradelli Square.  Stay on this as it becomes Jefferson St.  Make a left on North Point.

5. Follow North Point to the Embarcadero. Cross the big boulevard and stay right on the foot path, also known as Herb Caen Way.  Stay on the Embarcadero past the Ferry Building, under the Bay Bridge, and all the way to the ball park.  Once you’re at Willie Mays Plaza, make a left and follow the path around the back side of the park.  This will connect you back up with the Embaracdero.  *Note that there is a public water fountain along the Embarcadero in between the Ferry Building and Epic Roasthouse/Waterbar.  There is another one on the backside of the ballpark just outside of the public bathrooms.

6.  Follow the Embarcadero back to Bay Street.  Make a left onto Bay and stay on this until you hit Van Ness.  Van Ness and Bay will be the 9 mile marker.  It’s another .3 miles back to the starting point.

This showed up in my in-box this morning.  For those of you training for The Giant Race on August 27, August 6 is a good day to spend doing a long 10 miler.  Participants get a complimentary post run breakfast and access to Club One for the day!  And if you missed out on signing up for the race, RSVP to the August 6 run (and attend it, of course), and you might just win two race registrations.

GIANT RACE FAQ & CLUB ONE TRAINING RUN

When: Saturday, August 6th – 8am-10am*
Where: Club One at Embarcadero Center »

Join Race Director JT Service at Club One for a Giant Race Q&A Session, followed by your choice of a 4 or 10 mile training run. We’ll end back at Club One for stretching, breakfast treats and complimentary day use of the club, locker rooms, and amenities.

Added perk – we’re giving away TWO Giant Race registrations on 8/6! Just RSVP and attend for your chance to win.*

Please email rsvp@clubone.com by August 2nd with names of yourself and your guests.

With less than 2 weeks to the San Francisco Marathon (which includes 2 half-marathon routes as well as a 5K race), there’s little time to start training.  However, regardless of your running goals, the 5K option is a great way to get you out of bed and running on a Sunday morning.  And for those of you who don’t do metric, 5 kilometers is only about 3.2 miles.

According to the race organizers, the 5K race is almost sold out.  Registration fees are only $30 The race is flat and easy and starts/ends right near the Ferry Building.  The 5K race starts at 7:45am and you have 1 hour to complete the course (which equals about a 20 minute mile).  If you’ve never run a race before, this is a great chance to start!

Crissy Field is a runner’s paradise.  Flat, scenic, and expansive, not only does it serve as the gateway to the Pacific Ocean, but also provides a plethora of training options for runners, bikers, and even swimmers alike.  Although the paths around Crissy Field (and the Marina Green) are surprisingly flat for San Francisco, the area is bordered by cliffs and hills that will bring you up to greater heights – and greater views – of the north-western tip of the City.  At the edge of Crissy Field as one snakes past the Warming Hut and nears the road entrance to Fort Point lies a set of stairs.  Climb to the top and you’re at the Golden Gate Bridge.  What better way to experience the bridge than to get some exercise running to it!

This area remains one of my favorite places in the city to go for a long run.  I’ve blogged about it a couple of times, giving a 7.5 mile course idea in addition to a shorter 4-5 miler.  Whatever your distance goal, spending some time jogging around the area first and THEN running up the Crissy Field stairs will give your workout that extra umph.  Parking is generally easy enough to find in the evening hours during the week.  I’ve found that this is the best time to run in this area – during weekends you’re competing with tourists (especially on bikes) and events for space.  Depending on the desired length of your run, park a good distance away from the stairs, run there, and (try to) run back.  I usually park at Ft. Mason, which has a lot with 2 hour free parking (the lot is on the western edge of the Fort and is bordered by Bay and Octavia Streets).  Check out Walkjogrun.net to figure out a good distance before you set out on your run.

Crissy Field Stairs Entrance

The stairs are located past the Warming Hut where Marine Dr. and Long Ave meet.  Look for the stairs on your left just past the parking lot.  If you find yourself at Ft. Point you’ve gone too far.  Head up the stairs and it’s about 0.4 miles to the top.  If you don’t want to take the stairs back down, follow the bike trail instead (though be careful of cars!).  Also, don’t worry – the stairs themselves are not 0.4 miles long…at some point you will hit a walking/biking trail which will take you up to the Bridge.  If you want to challenge yourself, try running the stairs a few times before heading up to the Bridge itself!

The Giant Race is approaching quickly so this week’s Run of the Week is a little bit longer to help get that mileage up.

Golden Gate Park was founded in the latter half of the 19th century as San Francisco began to feel the need for a large urban public park like that of Central Park in New York City.  Today, the park covers over one thousand acres and is host to some of the City’s most visited attractions: The De Young Museum, The Academy of Sciences, and The Japanese Tea Garden, to name a few.  The park also boasts mile after mile of relatively flat running (or walking) paths, generally cool temperatures, and a scenic atmosphere.  And, what better way to see the park than to run through it?

7.75 Mile Loop Around Golden Gate Park

7.75 Mile Golden Gate Park Run

Starting Point: Choose your own.  The map above starts at the intersection of 6th Avenue and the Park.  Parking is available throughout the park but can be difficult to find on weekends and on really nice summer days.  The route below is outlined as if one is starting at 6th Avenue and the Park.

1. From 6th Avenue enter the Park and run through the roller skating area to John F. Kennedy Jr., Drive (JFK Dr.).  Make a left onto JFK and follow the path past the Conservatory of Flowers to Stanyan Street (this comes in perpendicular to the park).

2. Turn around at Stanyan and follow JFK Dr. back towards the Conservatory.  Make a left at Middle Drive and follow this past the Tennis Courts.

3. Just past the tennis courts you will come to a Y in the road – veer left towards Bowling Green Drive.  If you find yourself passing the back of the Academy of Sciences you’ve made the wrong turn.

4. Stay on Bowling Green Dr., which will turn into Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive.  Follow this road around Big Rec Playground.  When you come to  a T intersection, stay right on MLK Dr.

5. Continue on MLK Dr. for another couple of miles.  This road will end at the Great Highway.  Make a right at the Great Highway and follow the running path past the Beach Chalet.

6.  Make a right onto JFK Dr.  When you come to a Y intersection, stay right and continue on JFK Dr.

7.  Stay on JFK Dr. all the way back to the starting point at 6th Avenue.

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


Calendar

July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Archives

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 26,605 hits

Follow Me on Twitter: @girlsrunwildsf

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

%d bloggers like this: