Reasons to Come to SLO for Endurance Training

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Originally posted at

Written by: Hank Wethington

As an endurance athlete, I love San Luis Obispo. Here’s why you should train in SLO too!

10. Hills, glorious hills. Whether on the bike or on the run, there are hills everywhere to challenge even the fittest of athletes. Are you looking for a leg burner? Cuesta Grade has a 1000ft elevation climb over 3 miles. High Mountain Road has an 11% grade for a quarter mile that will have your heart coming out of your chest. If you’re planning to run in either the San Luis Obispo Marathon or the SLO Triathlon, make sure to train on Johnson St. hill, a half-mile 4.4% grade.

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9. Go Off-Road. Take a break from training on asphalt and enjoy the many trails around SLO. From Johnson Ranch and Irish Hills to Shooters and Poly Canyon, there’s something for everyone. Would you like a hill-trail challenge? Test your fitness by running the Madonna Mountain, Rock Garden Trail in less than 11 min.

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8. The Happiest City in America. What’s not to love about happy, smiling people around you while you train? From happy waves to unplanned running buddies, training in SLO keeps a smile on your face. Looking for a running group? Check out SLO Roadrunners, or join the Running Warehouse crew on Thursday nights. For biking buddies check the SLO Bicycle Club. They have rides within the county every day!

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7. Get your swim on. Located only 8 miles from Avila Beach, SLO is excellent for open water training. With ocean water temps on the chili side of 55°F, just remember your wetsuit. Want to jump in a lake? Lopez Lake is only 16 miles away and has water temperatures approaching the 70’s in the summer. Don’t forget about Lake San Antonio, home of the world famous Wildflower Triathlon. Located an hour from SLO, it’s worth the drive to get in some Swim/Bike/Run practice before the big race.

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6. Wanna Race? From 5Ks to Marathons and Sprint through Long Course Triathlons, SLO is home to some great races. Some of my favorites include;the SLO Marathon, City to Sea Half-Marathon, the Pozo 5k, Scott Tinley Triathlon, SLO Sprint Triathlon, and of course, the Wildflower Triathlon.

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5. BEEP-BEEP! There are many benefits to living and training in a small town, and one of the greatest is the lack of traffic. Once outside of the heart of SLO, traffic becomes sparse and SLO country has done a great job of providing bike lanes just about everywhere. As always, for safety, wear bright colors, use lights at night and remember to run against traffic and ride with traffic.

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4. Time to relax. With over 130 wineries, 15 breweries, great restaurants, and natural hot springs; it’s easy to relax when you’re all done training. With so many wineries, it’s also fun to do a bicycle winery tour with friends.

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3. City to Sea. Named after conservation activist and environmentalist Bob Jones, the Bob Jones Trail runs from the edge of the SLO to Avila Beach. This trail gets it’s own entry as it’s a beautiful 3-mile trail that follows the San Luis Creek and runs through the oak covered hillside all the way to Avila Beach. Well paved, it is an ideal trail for including family or any training run you throw at it.

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2. Surf and Sand. Besides swimming and surfing at the beach, running along the beautiful coastal beaches is not just amazing, it’s good for the soul. Thinking about going long? Run from Pismo to Oceano and back for a quick 6 miles. Want to go really long? Pick your distance from Pismo to Gaudalupe, a 15 mile one-way run. Why not mix things up and run in the deep sand for a quad-burning workout that will leave you breathless and finish watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

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1. Train Year Round. With an average high of 69°F and a low of 49°F, SLO is the perfect place to train year round. No snow and rain fall from 2-5 inches per month (November through March) it’s easy to never spend a training session in the gym. Truly paradise! (All pictures taken during the November – March months)

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(All photos by Hank Wethington unless otherwise linked to the original photographer)

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