It’s spring on the Central Coast – some say it’s the prettiest time of year here. The hills are bursting with green grass and wildflowers, and the morning fog is still a few months off. Spring, though, often means rain and wind. To help you enjoy running in the Central Coast spring weather, we have some tips on our favorite Central Coast spots. You can go short or long on any of these loops, so whether you’re training for the City to the Sea half-marathon or 5K, you’ll have plenty of options to keep your legs and lungs in prime shape.
Avoid the wind
If you run frequently in San Luis Obispo, you know that one of your biggest battles is not tired legs but the wind. The unique geography of SLO – flanked on both sides by mountains and close to the coast – means that as the warm Eastern air converges with the cool coastal air, the winds can really pick up.
Fortunately, the winds are fairly predictable and become stronger in the afternoons. Our tip? Run in the mornings. The earlier you go, the less wind you’ll have to contend with.
If you can’t swing a morning run, head for the hills. The Lemon Grove Loop around Madonna mountain and the Poly Canyon trails are often your best shelter from the high winds. Basically, any spot that has trees is going to dampen some of the wind.
Take advantage of coastal views
One of our favorite spots for a weekend run is Montaña de Oro. If you’re looking for a flat, incredibly scenic run, hit the Bluff Trail, which winds along the coastline. If you follow the singletrack, it’s easy to get in anywhere from 4-10 miles along this beautiful stretch of trails.
If it’s a windy day out at Montaña de Oro, duck into Coon Trail, which is sheltered by high brush and the beautiful canyons. This is a great trail for a longer run. And, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, hit some of MDO’s famous hills: Hazards, Islay Creek, or Baranca are just a few of the challenging climbs you’ll find.
Go slow and enjoy the ride
The City to the Sea Half-Marathon is still six months away, so unless you’re training for spring or summer races, now is the time to go slow and enjoy the run. Building base miles and your endurance is key when a race is far off – as the race gets closer, you can start incorporating speedwork, but for now, slow miles will help you build the base you’ll need for the harder, faster workouts that will start in a few months.
Have you registered? It’s simple, and if you register before May 1st, you’ll get the Early Bird rate!