Suggestions for running in San Francisco

1:34 pm running, work

I’ll be in San Francisco later this month, from March 22nd until the 29th, for OSBC, and I’ll be looking to get in a few training runs to get ready for a marathon I hope to run in May while I’m there.

I am staying in a hotel on Market Street, near the Civic Center, and I have a few runs in the training plan for that period:

  • A 28km long run on the 22nd (which I’ll probably be doing to stay awake early evening to get over jet lag)
  • A 16km run on Tuesday – 5km warm-up plus 2x4500m marathon pace, plus a few kms warm-down – it’d be nice to have a known distance around 3 miles for this one
  • Some speed work (500m splits) on Thursday that I’ll probably skip or swap out for an early morning jog
  • Another 28km long run on Saturday 28th, before flying out on the 29th.

Does anyone have any suggestions for good places to run? I would like to run around Crissy Field and across the Golden Gate bridge while there, if possible, and I notice there are some nice looking hills the other side of it in the Golden Gate park.

Anyone want to join me for one or more of the runs? I’m arriving early and leaving late so I’ll be all on my lonesome for a few days if anyone feels like going for a 2.5h jog together on weekend and show off the city for me. Drop me a line, we’ll work something out.

Update: Another idea which looks like it’d be great, having looked at a map of Marin County, would be to rent a bike for the day and go for a 3 or 4 hour ride. Anyone game?

5 Responses

  1. David Schleef Says:

    San Francisco is a bit limited for long runs that are mostly flat and not endless traffic lights.

    Embarcadero/Crissy Field/GG Bridge/Sausalito is a good run, and can be extended along a bike path (follow the bikes) into San Rafael, or cut short by taking the ferry back. The only other road in Marin south of Sausalito is called “the loop”, and is quite steep in the wrong parts. A favorite of bikers.

    Market St/Hayes St/Golden Gate Park/Great Highway is another long corridor and can be extended by a loop around Lake Merced.

    Going south from downtown along 3rd street is good for a shorter run. It’s mostly industrial and quiet on weekends. I don’t recommend going south of Cesar Chavez unless you know what you’re doing.

    I’d run with you, but I run slow.

  2. Travis Reitter Says:

    Google Earth (or any contour map, I suppose) should give you a good idea of the hilliest parts of the city, if that’s what you’re looking for.

    The sunset (the area south of Golden Gate park, which you mentioned) and pacific heights each have a lot of gradual hills (the pac. heights ones are a little less gradual in some cases). If you had to pick, I’d go with pac heights, since there are some really cool buildings and some great views of northern SF and the bay as you crest the hills. Most of the sunset is kind of bland.

    But if you really want a hill challenge, check out Potrero Hill. It’s somewhat small, so that may rule it out, but it’s got inclines of between 10 and 20 degrees, I think. Also has the *actual* curviest street in the city, Vermont St. (though not as pretty as the curvy part of Lombard).

  3. Ian McKellar Says:

    You should talk to retired GNOME hacker Jacob Berkman. He’s a runner, training for marathons in SF right now.


  4. Scott Bronson Says:

    SF is a great place to run. I normally head through the panhandle, along JFK in GG Park then choose: either head south for an easy 5-10 mile round trip along the beach, or head north for a grueling and spectacular journey north through Land’s End, over the Presidio and GG Bridge. Both are amazing. Crissy Field and The Embarcadero are nice during the week (flat, very few stops) but slammed with people on the weekends. I don’t find the bridge itself very pleasant alas: loud, smelly, too many tourists stepping in front of you.

    I hear the headlands are a spectacular and hilly place to train. I’ll be checking them out more this summer.

  5. Mari Says:

    I am going to in San Fr on the 22nd, i would like to run with you but at 5 or 5 30 AM . I run slow 10:30 pace . i have to at my conf by 9 Am. let me know?/