You’ve bought new shoes, made a killer playlist, and downloaded a few apps—you’re well on your way to becoming a runner! Running is one of the healthiest hobbies you can take up. It can put you in a better mood, relieve your stress, strengthen your muscles, help you lose weight, and even reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and stroke.
Starting out can be a bit daunting, however. If you’re not sure where to start, consider skipping the treadmill. Running outside exposes you to fresh air and sunlight that you miss out on at the gym, and San Diego has plenty of great trails, parks, and beaches for beginning runners to get their feet wet. Try out these flat areas that are perfect to jog outside and build up your endurance.
Did you know that Balboa Park has 65 miles of trails? Some of them are perfect for newbies. At the Sixth and Upas Trails Gateway you’ll find the beginning of Trail #1, a flat concrete path that runs for about a mile and a half down a tree-lined walkway. The route includes helpful trail markers so that you can stay on course while you jog outside..
Head east to La Mesa for a run at Lake Murray. Walkers, runners, and bikers all enjoy the lake’s picturesque scenery and wide, paved route that runs 3.2 miles one way. Skip the main entrance and opt for the one by the softball fields off of Murray Park Drive. From there, you can choose to go left (a slightly longer route) or right (slightly shorter), which will make it easier to vary your routes and go whatever distance you feel comfortable with.
Unlike Lake Murray, at Lake Miramar you can complete a 5-mile loop around the entire lake. You can choose to jog on paved or dirt trails. Vehicles are allowed on the paved path, so be careful while you’re running, especially if you’re listening to music.
Pacific Beach and Mission Beach
San Diego’s famous beaches are great for swimming and sunbathing, but they’re also good places to jog outside. People-watch while you run on the boardwalk, or give your legs a more intense workout by running in the sand. You can start in Pacific Beach and run down through Mission Beach. End your run at Belmont Park and take a celebratory ride on the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.
Jogging at the Silver Strand means breathing in fresh ocean air and taking in views of Coronado and the city skyline. What’s not to like? Try the paved bike path, which runs for nearly 10 miles from Imperial Beach to Coronado, or run on the sand at Silver Strand State Beach. If you need a rest, walk for a bit and keep an eye out for the silver shells that the area was named for.
Try a Track
Running on a track makes it easy to tell exactly how far you’ve run and provides an easy way of measuring your progress over a period of time. Try out some of the local high school and college tracks to see which ones you like best. They’re an especially good option if you’re looking for a place to run that isn’t too far from where you live.
These paths will help you become a strong, confident runner in no time! Talk with your Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups doctor about other ways to stay active.