San Diego has long played host to the world's most ardent fitness fanatics and some great competitive runs including being the origin of the very fun and popular Rock 'n' Roll half and full Marathon.
Some forty years ago, this postcard-perfect setting also spawned the very first triathlon at Mission Bay's Fiesta Island. The entry fee for that event was all of $1! Entry fees have risen, as has the passion for the sport. Weekend warriors, seasoned marathoners and triathletes alike have fallen in love with San Diego's varied training routes.
Below are several tried-and-true bike, hike or run routes that won't disappoint.
If you're looking for a good 7-10 miles on bike or foot, a local favorite is the Mission Bay loop. Your starting point is up to you but a great meeting spot is at Mission Bay Park. The loop is about eight miles and passes by Fiesta Island, Sea World, takes you over the bridges along Ingraham Street, runs along Crown Point Drive, and by Mission Bay High School. It's a nice mix of grass and bike paths around the bay. For runners interested in adding some grassy miles, hop off at Ski Beach Park on Ingraham and log a few. Cyclists or runners looking for added road miles should give the big or small loop around Fiesta Island a try - it won't disappoint.
Del Mar and Torrey Pines are some of the most picturesque spots on the planet. There are a host of options for a run or hike on this oceanfront route, depending on your preferred distance. A popular starting point is at Powerhouse Park where there's parking and bathrooms. Run south and you can run along the sand or there's an option up on the bluff that requires careful passage but grants fantastic views. If you continue to the south you'll reach the big climb to Torrey Pines State Park (part of the La Jolla Half Marathon course). Once atop the climb, there are six separate trails inside the park, take the time to explore each.
If a flat route is what you're after, make your way from Powerhouse Park out to the sand and head north, a task that's always easier at low tide. Here you'll run past some great local restaurants and beachfront homes until you reach the San Dieguito River. Stay to the right and follow the path to Camino Del Mar, head north to Via de la Valle, cross to the east side of the road, and finally to the north you'll find the Coastal Rail Trail, a 1.5 mile groomed dirt path, that runs through Solana Beach to Cardiff by the Sea. Add distance to the north through Encinitas to explore this coastal community.
Peñasquitos Canyon is a popular spot for those who love biking or running the trails. There are options off I-5 at Sorrento Valley, and I-15. On this route, beginning at Canyonside Park, you'll find soft surfaces, an occasional waterfall, and 11-14 miles of running. Bathrooms and playgrounds are near the parking area. It gets toasty here in the summer, so stay hydrated and have fun!
Lake Miramar is a great five-mile loop reserved for runners, walkers and cyclists. Every mile is marked, so with or without your GPS watch you'll know your splits. Competitive runners frequent this loop as a tune-up spot in preparation for their major races.
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