Train Like an Olympic Athlete in the City of San Francisco


With its sprawling hills, intense running trails, and an ocean bay where only the bravest dare to swim, it's no wonder that dozens of Bay Area-bred athletes go for the gold in the Olympics. In lieu of the Rio 2016 Summer Games, here are some of the best places to train for the Olympics in San Francisco.

Twin Peaks

Literally the highest point in the city, Twin Peaks is a great workout if you hike all the way up to the summit and back down. It does attract a good amount of traffic, but the trails are open for anyone to come day or night. At roughly 922 feet, be prepared for a good hike with steep inclines. And make sure you're dressed warmly because the top of the peaks are quite windy. If you want to conquer both peaks, turn your hike into a 6-mile run.

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Held annually in San Francisco since 1981, 2,000 of the world's top athletes, including this year's Rio-bound Ben Kanute, Joe Maloy and Katie Zaferes, gather for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon every year. "The Olympic course is going to demand a similar type of effort, so Escape provides a singular opportunity to practice those skills," says Joe Maloy, who won first place honors with Holly Lawrence in this year's Triathlon. Racers swim 1.5 miles from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shoreline, bike 18 miles out to Golden Gate Park, complete an eight-mile trail run out to Baker Beach and Sisyphean climb up the Sand Ladder, making the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon one of the toughest courses in the world.

Water World Swim

Water World Swim is an open water swimming expert, providing brave swimmers with guided excursions across the San Francisco Bay. Water World Swim has led more than 900 Alcatraz crossings across the Bay, where the water conditions always pose unique challenges, such as non-cooperative currents and unexpectedly choppy waves. Water World's Head Coach, Pedro Ordenes,' swim clinics program has trained thousands of Escape from Alcatraz Triathletes to smoothly navigate and quickly exit the Bay's unpredictable waters.

Lyon Street Steps

Lyon Street Steps is the first thing that appears when you google, "San Francisco Best Stair Workout." The steps are low and flat, but if you run up and down the stairs in several sets, you will feel quite winded and exhausted. After you work those leg muscles, you can decide to proceed on to several other walking trails from the park entrance at the top of the steps. Don't forget to enjoy the incredible view of the city!

Marin Headlands Loop

Bike the 20-mile Marin Headlands Loop for spectacular views, sweeping curves, intense inclines, and on and off-roading opportunities. For a more intense ride, make your way to Townsley loop, going clockwise from the Marine Mammal Center.


Christina Wong is a Bay Area native who loves to travel the world, but has strangely never been to Rio. She always finds her way back to California.