RUNAWAYS: San Francisco

A field guide to "The City by the Bay"

If there's one way to gear up for the Ironman Championships, it's training on the steep, rolling hills of San Francisco, California. San Fran, known for its cool summers, cable cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge, is home to Saucony racing triathlete, Sarah Pimpiano, who will be racing in Kona on October 8th. Check out some of her favorite spots in the City by the Bay!



Mount Tamalpais State Park

Located in Marin County, the primary feature of the park is the 2,571-foot Mount Tamalpais, which contains mostly redwood and oak forests.

"For me Mt. Tam is the ultimate athlete experience. The terrain is rugged and incredibly challenging. The climbing is hard and long, the descents are technical - it is an environment where you have to constantly been alert and responsive to what is going on around you. But when you reach the summit, or you stop for a moment and take a glimpse of either where you just came from or where you are headed, the landscape is this ridiculously stunning backdrop of mountains, and meadows and sea, and sun and clouds - it is pure bliss. I love how it challenges me, but the reward of where that challenge takes me is always better than I could imagine."

Golden Gate Bridge

A suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the one-mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.


Kezar Stadium

An outdoor athletics stadium in San Francisco, California, located adjacent to Kezar Pavilion in the southeastern corner of Golden Gate Park.

Sarah's Top 3 Running Workouts:

  1. A 2.5 hour run at a pace about 10-15 seconds slower than my target Ironman pace (target pace is 6:40), and then the last 45 minutes is at a pace that is about 10-15 seconds faster than my target Ironman pace 
  2. A morning 90-120 minute endurance run with the last 30 minutes at my target Ironman pace; break; and then an afternoon track session with 7x1k with faster speed (typically in the 5:15-5:30/mile pace range)
  3. A run with the main set is 10x through 1 minute at 5:30 pace straight into 4 minutes at 10 seconds under target IM pace. No breaks, just repeat that 10x.

And non-running workout:

"My favorite non-running workout is a session on the bike - 6x6’ in Zone 5. It doesn’t sound too bad, but this session pushes me to my absolute MAX. I almost always reach my max HR during the last 2 intervals. When I am getting ready for Ironman my favorite bike session is a 6 hour ride with 4x1 hour as 50 minutes at IM effort and then the last 10’ of every hour at 70.3 effort."

Dear Newbie Runner, 

"Make sure you get shoes that fit you and are comfortable. I’d also suggest to run with a partner. Starting to run regularly when you are out of shape is tough - it never feels good. But having someone to run with helps navigate through that painful first period. As you get more fit, it becomes easier and easier and your enjoyment of running will sky rocket!" - Sarah

Photos by: Jordan Rosen