With the Nike Women’s SF Marathon next month, training should be in full gear. Below are a list of free running clubs to help whip us into shape. We always prefer running outdoors (no hamster-style on the treadmill) and this is the perfect way to make running fun and enjoyable.
It’s a great way to meet new friends with like interests, there are multiple distances (5K, 5 miles, 10K) and paces, refreshments and most importantly, it’s absolutely free!
Some of our favorites:
Nike & Niketown
Every Nike store has a run club. Based on the area, some stores hold run clubs twice a week. Check with your local store for their schedule.
I LOVE their clothes! Lululemon also holds free yoga classes and run clubs every week. Check with your local store for their schedule.
Running retail stores
Usually running stores like Top to Top and Road Runner have their own run club. Check with your local store for their schedule.
Live in West LA?
Top to Top (2621 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403)
Wednesday at 6:30pm
Enjoy 3 distances of 5k, 5 miles, 10k, multiple paces, raffles (shirts, socks and even shoes!), and refreshments. I’m a proud member of the run club, since the days of when Ryan Greene and Paul Shanklin ran the run club–the best of times!! Also, at one of the anniversary celebrations of run club, they had a full-blown celebration! They invited the Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwich Truck out (ate unlimited ice cream sammys), mariachi band, donkey pinanta filled with GUs, coupons and loot and pairs of shoes! They take care of their running family. Competitor Magazine rated TTT “BEST RUNNING STORE, Southern CA” & “BEST RUNNING STORE, Southern CA”. that HAS to say somethin’!
Niketown Beverly Hills (9560 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212)
Thursday at 6:30pm
There are distances of 5K, 5 miles and 8 miles. Sometimes they have athletic, beverage and beauty brands sponsors present. In the past, Neutrogena was there providing sun protection kits for all the runners! KeVita Probiotic beverage was also there sampling and giving away bottles. They always attract a good amount of runners and it’s fun to hang out afterwards.
Parking: On the street.
Brentwood Country Club Running Loop (793 Gretna Green Way, Los Angeles, CA 90049)
I love this 2.1 mile loop. You can loop it however many times to build your miles. The mostly dirt path is easy on the knees and has slight inclines and a mini hill. Just becareful of the tree roots. Some of them protrude out from the dirt and can cause trippings for tired legs (or if you aren’t careful or if it’s too dark). Don’t run this after sun down. Paths aren’t lighted. Guarantee adventure if you do.
I usually start on Gretna Green Way, heading south and making a right on Montana, then right on Burlingame, right on San Vicente, right back onto Gretna Green Way.
Here is a map of the route via MapMyRun – http://www.mapmyrun.com/…
Parking: Free, easy parking along Gretna Green Way (btwn San Vicente & Montana), across from the Brentwood Science Magnet school. Please note: No parking along Gretna Green Way every Sunday morning because of the Brentwood Farmer’s Market.
Santa Monica Stairs (4th St & Adelaide Dr., Santa Monica, CA 90402)
SM Stairs–equipped with 175 steps of steep, straight-away, wooden stairs. There is plenty of huffing and puffing, paired with sweating and thigh burnings (and @#$%#$@, under my breath).
TIPS: For those, wanting a more challenging workout, take two steps at a time on your ‘up’ or try running it. There is a large grassy island on 4th Street where you can stretch, warm up and cool down–or lay in pain…
Location: You can access the top of SM Stairs at Adelaide Drive and 4th Street (in this residential area). Or access the bottom of the SM Stairs on Ocean Ave.
I normally park my car along San Vicente (few miles away) and run westbound on San Vicente to 4th street then do the stairs and run back to the car. This forces me to run more. I mean, I guess I gotta run back to my car if I want to go home, right?
Parking: Available on the street during daylight hours. Restrictions kick in after 6pm, others 7pm. Be aware of the midday street sweeping restrictions on alternating sides of the street on Thru and Fri (parking even more limited during those times). Parking is often available on 4th St. of San Vicente… just a short walk to the stairs.