18 Mile Course Preview Run!

A few weeks ago the San Francisco Marathon hosted a 20 mile “course preview run” around the city, which followed the majority of the marathon race course. Such great practice, right?! I was supposed to run 16 of those miles that day with fellow runner/blogger/San Franciscan Taylor, but I came down with the stomach flu the night before. We were able to re-schedule a run together for this past weekend and decided to follow along that same route. Taylor was running 20 miles, and I would be running 18. So, we set out bright and squirrelly on Saturday morning for our long run!

Taylor ran the first 2 miles solo, and I met up with her at the Sports Basement in the Presido. We used a copy of the course preview map saved on her phone to navigate around the city. It was cool and foggy at first-perfect for running.


Golden Gate Bridge!

The first half of the course is the most hilly. The uphill climb around the Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the longest incline, and it was a good reminder as to how difficult this race can be! After all of the hills, we ran to Golden Gate Park.


I’ve run countless miles through this park, and there is a gradual elevation incline that always gets to me. As beautiful as the park is, I’m looking forward to this part of the course the least. We exited Golden Gate Park (just about halfway through our run) and headed toward Haight Street. The sun was starting to break through the clouds and the temperature heated up quickly.


Haight. Goodbye clouds!

We were treated to a nice long downhill along Haight Street. I will SO be looking forward to this during the actual race! We headed to the Mission District and from then on the rest of our run was relatively flat, minus one hill at Potrero and 16th Street (around miles 22-23 of the actual race).


We crossed under the Bay Bridge with about 2 1/2 miles of our run to go. Other than traffic lights, we had few delays on our run-that is until we hit the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. There were so many people we had to slow down considerably to navigate through the crowd. Thus, we headed in to the neighborhood for the remainder of our run to avoid the tourist trap that is Fisherman’s Wharf.

SFTraining18miles SFMarathonPreviewMap

Our map vs. the Course Preview Run

And at last we were done! We finished with just over a 10 min/mile pace and I felt pretty decent through most of the run (aside from being SUPER hungry in the last 6 miles).

It’s going to be a TOUGH race, but I have a better idea of exactly what I am getting myself in to. Taylor is now done with her long runs, and I have a 20 miler to tackle before I start my taper.Ā I was sick a couple of weeks ago and have had to condense my last few weeks of training just a little, but I’m feeling good about this race. I’m not looking for anything miraculous, I really just want to finish with a smile on my face. 3 MORE WEEKS UNTIL RACE DAY!



16 thoughts on “18 Mile Course Preview Run!

  1. What a perfectly awesome idea for a pre-race run! I don’t know why more don’t do this! I did see my elite buddy ‘previewing’ the Dallas Marathon course a couple years ago – I shouted at him how far he was running – of course he went the full 26.2 and then some. I would love to do a partial preview run before a big race! Good luck, you’re going to crush it!!!

    • I feel like I will have more confidence going in to the race now! I’ve run the first half marathon before, but I wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up for the second part of the race. And now I’m a lot less concerned! Haha I don’t think I will ever run 26.2 as a training run, but getting your legs used to the course is a great idea šŸ™‚ Thank you, we will see what happens on race day! šŸ™‚

  2. Awesome run!! I just read Taylors re-cap also! Fun that you guys could finally run together!! I told her also that I have learned while training for a marathon that I like to eat a little solid something between 18-20 (on the race) or 16-17 on training runs just to keep the hunger away. I like to eat a mini snickers but anything would work a mini payday/clif bar/lara bar. It is nice to have something a little more then a gel. Just depending on your stomach. I ate a whole snickers from miles 12-15(I think) at Big Sur this year and it made a huge difference. Maybe try it on your 20 miler and see how it goes? Just a thought!! Good Luck and then it is taper time!!! You are getting close!!

    • It helped so much to have company with me! Thanks for the advice!! I seriously couldn’t think about anything else but eating for the last 6 miles, I was soooo hungry! This is the first time I’ve run with only gels (and a couple shot blocks), which explains why I was noticeably more hungry. I’ve been trying different things-dried mangos, a date bar-and everything just seems to weigh me down. A snickers sounds amazing to me-just might pick one up before my 20 this weekend! šŸ™‚

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