The best run I’ve ever taken was on the bike path in Santa Monica. It was five days before my wedding, and I was more than crunched for time, but I was determined to run the five miles I’d set my mind on before skipping town to get hitched.
It was worth it. The flatness of the path, the sunshine with a light breeze, the lack of interruptions and, of course, the beautiful scenery made each mile special. Around the halfway point, a blond toddler with a face full of ice cream smiled and waved as I ran by. It felt like the whole beach was celebrating with me.
While not every run can be that special, setting out for a jog by the beach can get those good running juices flowing. You don’t have to worry about cars and stop lights, and being in nature while exercising compounds the good vibes of a workout session. Research has shown that “compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Yep, that sounds about right for a run by the beach in Los Angeles.
That’s because this city is blessed with miles of coastline featuring bike and pedestrian paths. The most notable is the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, also known as the Bike Path and the Strand. It stretches 22 miles from the Pacific Palisades to Torrance. And though there are a few interruptions along the way,the path hugs the sand directly the vast majority of the time.
The elephant in the room: Can you really jog on a bike path? According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, the Marvin Braude trail is a “shared-use path,” which means it’s intended for bikers, runners, walkers, and others. One caveat is that when there is an adjacent pedestrian path — as there is in sections of Santa Monica and the South Bay — joggers should use that path whenever it’s available.
Of course, bike path etiquette is what makes this amalgamation of activity work. While you’re jogging, stay to the right-hand side of the path, so bikers can safely pass you on your left. If you want to pass a walker or a jogger who is slower than you, pass on their left-hand side and don’t be afraid to communicate with them verbally to let them know. Safety first!
Joggers: The Los Angeles bike path is your oyster. Here’s where you can hit the sandy trails for beach runs in L.A.