Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post from one of my newest LA friends, Chris Lam of WhatIRunInto.com. Not only does Chris share my love of fitness and pop-culture but she has a wicked sense of humor. Today just to prove my point about out-and-back runs being something I need to get used to in LA, Chris is going to give her take on where to do (and park) loop runs in LA.
Three Local Running Loops For Beginning Runners
Let’s be honest. I’m not a natural runner. I hate running. But a few of my running friends inspired me to start training for a half marathon. There’s nothing like “I can’t” to make me want to say “Fuck this, yes, I can.”
I weighed about 170lbs when I first started to learn how to run. (I’m 5’3” and yeah, that’s not healthy.) It took me three weeks to figure out how to run a mile without getting frustrated. Then I began to earnestly train for a half marathon. (For the record, I spent 14 weeks training for my first half marathon in 2009.)
In the beginning, my strategy was to run loops because loops would force me to finish to get back to my car. After a while, I just liked running these loops because they let me “zone out” a little and I didn’t have to worry about crossing streets or being run over by cars. Since not everyone lives next to the beach, I’ve come up with three easy run/walk loops on the Eastside of town to start your training!
1. Silverlake Reservoir – 2 – 2.25 mile loop
This short loop around the entire Reservoir of Hipsters and Other-State-Transplants as well as the dog park and community center. You will hit dips and hills as you run/walk your way to two miles of sweat.
On the opposite of the route are lots of single family homes where you can fantasize about living in. Alas, you are not rich so daydreaming is all you can do.
I like this path because it’s been recently re-constructed for runners and walkers, and it has a couple of inclines.
Try to sprint up the hill if you can. It makes for a good cardio workout, plus hills work your butt, and who doesn’t want a shapely butt?
Where to park: Anywhere along the Silver Lake Blvd or the streets that circle the loop. It’s all residential parking, but there are no permits required. Win!
2. Griffith Park Golf Course – 2 – 2.5 mile loop If you like running on dirt, this is the place to be. A large stretch of this loop has been repaved for runners and walkers, and it is pretty much an all-dirt loop. (Before you freak out, dirt is great – it’s easier on the knees. When you weigh as much as I do, dirt is your friend.)
The route is relatively flat save for a couple of small declines and inclines. You’ll run along the golf course where you can watch people hit small balls and/or dodge horses. Yes, when the loop rounds between the golf course and the 5 Freeway, that’s a horse trail!
Note: It’s best to let the horses and their riders pass you, or make sure you give them lots of room. If you want a longer run, you can stretch this loop to behind the Autry National Center and up to Travel Town and back! That’ll get your heart going with that steady incline.
Where to park: Any of the park parking lots. I like the Autry’s parking lot because you can start your loop there. You can also park at the Zoo (across the street) or at the south end of the golf course. There is a park and parking lot near the ranger office, too.
Note and bonus: On Saturday mornings, the Autry hosts the Griffith Park farmers market, so park farther down the lot or somewhere else.
3. Rose Bowl, Pasadena – 3 mile loop
My usual runs (haha! I have the humor of a 15-year old) are over at the Pasadena Rose Bowl – home of the giant flea market and UCLA football games. This is a paved route that runs along the park south of the Rose Bowl and up around Brookside Golf Course. I’ve run into my fair share of bad stroller etiquette and a ton of dog poo. Beware of dog poo.
There are two small inclines to work with. Use those as your warm-ups! My favorite part of the loop is when you come around the bend (running counter clockwise) on Washington to West Drive. This is where I get my groove on and can run all the way to the parking lot.
On weekends, there are lots of activity. Soccer games, walkers, Team-in-Training runners. Once I even saw a huge gathering of youth lacrosse teams competing. Be mindful of the Rose Bowl’s event schedule as some events like UCLA football games will prevent you from parking and using the loop.
Where to park: All along the south side of the loop are parking lots and dirt parking. You can make things a tiny bit further if you park near the Aquatic Center!
So there you have it. One mile starts with one step. Don’t think you can’t do it. You can.
If you’re interested in training or just want to run a mile or three, I recommend the Couch-to-5K program. It’s been praised a zillion times but that is because it’s an easy (and slow) way to get your body used to running without killing yourself or your goals.
Runner’s World is a great resource for Runners 101 and 5K training as well. If you want to train for a half marathon, I recommend Hal Higdon’s website for plans. I trained with the “novice” plan for my first half back in 2009. Good luck and I’ll see you on the paths!
Visit this funny girl’s blog and find out the reason for her blog’s name!