Running routes in San Francisco?
March 6, 2009 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some new running routes in San Francisco. Ideas? Your favorites?

I've been running on and off for a few years, but in the last 6 months I've gotten more consistent & I've begun training for a half marathon. Up until a few months ago, I'd primarily run on a track. Now that I'm exploring outside the track, I feel like the routes I've been doing have gotten stale. Looking for suggestions!

Specific criteria/what I'm looking for:

-Primarily, I need new ideas for weeknight runs in SF that are between 3.5-6 mi. I am a woman and I run by myself, usually after dark/around 7 PM on weeknights, so having non-sketchy pedestrians around+feeling moderately safe is an issue. Quiet, super safe residential areas work too. (I'm not too easily shaken, but I don't really want to run in Bayview/Tenderloin/etc by myself at night.) Must be public transit accessible.

-Also of interest: long runs, 6-14 mi. These are daytime/weekend runs and I go with friends, so safety is less of an issue. Public transit accessible is good but not necessary. We're just getting to the 8+ mi part of things. A portion of these runs have been/will be in the East Bay too.

-I'm a big wuss about hills. Easy/moderate level of elevation change preferred. (This has been my main problem when I just go out and try to make up a route in SF - huge hills/long uphill portions in the way.) I am open to doing more hills, but ways to start gradually is what I need.

-If it's useful, I live in Duboce Triangle and work in the Inner Sunset. But starting near those areas is not necessary.

(Note: I've played with walkjogrun, nike+ user routes, and a few other tools, but finding/making up routes that fit both safety & elevation criteria has been time-consuming. And obv. no info about safety is included. I wish there were a running equivalent of Bay Area Hiker, sigh.)

Here's where I run already:
-Embarcadero/ATT Park/Fisherman's Wharf (various permutations)
-Powell/Embarcadero/Columbus/Montgomery loop
-the Wiggle/panhandle, often laps
-Golden Gate Park from East to West (on weekends, daytime)
-Carl St/Irving St out to Ocean Beach
-Kezar track
-Berkeley Marina

Any suggestions appreciated! Thank you!
posted by soleiluna to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
While not from San Francisco, I typically use this site to find running routes near me. If you click on "Find a Route" and then "Advanced Search" you can enter in all the variables you'd like, ie. terrain, surface, route type, distance. I've found a number of good runs this way.

Good luck with the half marathon!
posted by whitetigereyes at 11:43 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, whitetigereyes! This is like the easier-to-use, more informative, ad-free version of the various run mapping sites I've been trying!
posted by soleiluna at 11:52 AM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: For longer runs; down the Panhandle/GGp to the Great Highway, South to Lake Merced, laps around the lake. Repeat.

Valencia > 30th St > Chenery > O'Shaughnessy (yes, it's a hill) > Sloat (or go into Forest Hill, it's nicer and fun to explore) > Great Highway > GGP > Panhandle

The best advice I can offer though, is to get over your reluctance to run hills (or just walk them); it will open up a whole world of fun runs to you.

Have fun!
posted by dolface at 12:41 PM on March 6, 2009

My friend recently posted about his running strategies in San Francisco. I'm not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for, but it may be interesting/helpful.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: If you like mixing street running up with a little cross country action, you might find the Bay Area Hiker to be of help.

Bay Area Hiker is an almost indispensable resource for trails in the Bay area. It breaks them down by mileage, popularity, and level of difficulty. It has pictures of trails, what to expect in the different seasons, and estimates on pedestrian traffic. While it may not be exactly what you're looking for, it might be a helpful resource.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by SocialArgonaut at 1:31 PM on March 6, 2009

As an additional note, hiking seems to be a potential misnomer in the Bay area. There seem to be a lot of trails around well-suited for walking/running.
posted by SocialArgonaut at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: dolface: I'll give the routes a shot! I'm in the process of trying to figure out what hills I am capable of, and slowly building it up.

SocialArgonaut: GREAT point about Bay Area Hiker. I'd never thought about using it for runs, and I should start. BF just suggested Sawyer Camp Trail for this weekend's run as well.
posted by soleiluna at 2:25 PM on March 6, 2009

Have you looked on Several users have posted their favorite runs in San Francisco.

Also, (for cyclists) allows you to calculate elevation changes since that's one of your concerns.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 3:48 PM on March 6, 2009

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