Runners running a marathon (credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

I’ve had a constant struggle with falling in and out of shape. I’ll join a gym and get excited about an exercise program and then weeks later, I’ll stop going to class. But there is one sport that I’ve consistently loved and it’s one that will whip me into shape after a few short weeks: Running.I know you’re thinking, “I only run when someone is chasing me.” I used to feel that way, too, but once you get started it’s the best workout in the world.

“Running is like math,” said Top To Top running store General Manager, Garrett Hamilton. People who don’t do it think it’s too difficult, but “you don’t realize the joy of it until you’re doing it.”

How do you find that joy? Here are a few ways to get started.

Get the Right Equipment


There’s not a whole lot of equipment for running, which is definitely a plus. The most important thing is to buy a good pair of shoes. Local runner Alan Culver recommends going to a running store and having a trained professional find the right shoe for you. It can mean the difference between a great run and a hip or knee injury.The following stores will help fit you into the proper shoe:

16545 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 986-8686
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This popular Encino store is named after the guy who ran the very first marathon. When you go to this store, you’ll be fitted by pros for the best shoe for your foot and gait.

Top to Top
2621 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 829-7030
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Their motto is “Running is Life. Pain is Optional.” You can also find great gear at this Santa Monica store.

A Snail’s Pace
Various Locations including: Brea, Fountain Valley, Pasadena, and Laguna Hills
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Runners can go into any of their locations and try on shoes or take a look at their online store.

Top Speed Running
1371 Foothill Blvd
La Verne, CA 91750
(909) 593-7400
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Beginners and experts alike can find everything they need from “runderwear” to protein powder. Not sure what shoe is best for your feet? Their staff will watch you on the treadmill and determine what type of shoe is best for you.

Join a Running Club

(credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

After you get the go ahead from a doctor and find the right shoes you’re ready to start running. A fun way to get started is to join a running group, most of which are free. One of the perks of living in Los Angeles is that the weather allows you to run year-round so the groups meet year round.

Top to Top
2621 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 829-7030
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At Top to Top in Santa Monica, the group of beginning to advanced runners gets together every Wednesday evening. Runners choose how far they run from 5k to 10 k and have a little refreshment at the end.

Locations Throughout Southern California
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Looking for some om with your workout? The Lululemon Athletica stores have run clubs that help you get to 3k to a 5k. The philosophy is “No runner left behind,” said Jessica Edwards, Lululemon’s Western Community Guru. See website for locations and times. In Beverly Hills, runners of any fitness level can go on the runs and stretch out afterwards with a specially designed runners’ yoga class taught by Angie Stewart

Trail Runners Club
Palisades Charter High School
15777 Bowdoin St.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
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Not so fond of the hard pavement? Grab your trail running shoes and head to the trails with Trail Runners Club. They meet every Sunday morning in Pacific Palisades. Trail running can be better for your knees and it will get you away from the crazy LA traffic. Meets weekly at 6:15am

Various locations in Southern California
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Niketown running club meets once a week and does 3, 5, or 7 miles depending on fitness level. These groups are a great way to meet people. Check website event page for locations and times. Runners ready to jump in feet-first can join marathon training groups that will take you from running 3 miles to finishing a marathon. These groups train for months and some have run/walk and running groups. The training starts about 6 months before an event.

Sign Up For An Event

There’s something about paying a fee and getting a race number that makes you committed to your training. The first race can be a little intimidating so it’s nice to start out with something fun and short like a 5k or a 10k.

(credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Turkey Trots

This is a great time of year to find fun races in Los Angeles. Many communities have a Turkey Trot 5k or 10K.

The Burbank Community YMCA Turkey Trot
Date: 11/25
Downtown Burbank
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The Burbank Turkey Trot is for anyone who wants to get outside and walk, jog, or run. Do a 5k, 10k, or kids’ fun run.

Long Beach Turkey Trot
Date: 11/25
Belmont Shore, 2 blocks east of Belmont Pier
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Proceeds for this popular run benefit the non profit, Community Action Team. Best idea ever; there will be pie at the finish line.

Third Annual Ventura Turkey Trot
Ventura Auto Center
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The XTERRA Topanga Turkey Trot
Date: 11/25
Trippet Ranch
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Get ready for some lovely scenery on this 15k, 10k, and 5k through Trippet Ranch

San Dimas Turkey Trot
Date: 11/27
Frank Bonelli Regional Park
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The trot has a 5K, 10K, and a kids’ half-mile run. You might get dirty, but you’ll definitely have fun.

Santa Monica Gobble Wobble
Date: 11/27
Emerson Park, intersection of Lincoln and Wilshire
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The Gobble Wobble is partnering with the Westide Food Bank. Participants are asked to bring canned and packaged food.

LA Center Challenge (credit: ADH Photography/

Charity Races

You can also run for good. There are several races throughout the year to raise money for good causes. A few are coming up soon:

LA Cancer Challenge
Date: 10/31
Veteran’s Administration Building in West LA
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The 13th annual LA Cancer Challenge is a 5k, 10k or kids run to benefit the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Run for Her
Date: 11/14
Pan Pacific Park near The Grove
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Runners and walkers can do a 5k to support ovarian cancer research and awareness.

Make sure to check out our helpful list of upcoming races:

Team In Training (credit:

Go the Distance With a Marathon Training Club

If you want to go all the way, join a marathon training club. “Running with a group gets you to the finish line,” said Alan Culver, who has been an LA Roadrunner volunteer for 13-years. Depending on the day, “a run can be very difficult. Your co-runners are going to encourage you to complete that distance.”

LA Roadrunners
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The Roadrunners meet in Venice to train runners and walkers of all levels to finish the 26.2 mile LA Marathon. Participants receive weekly training schedules and expert seminars.

The Inland Empire Running Club
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The IE club trains in Chino Hills and is part of the LA Roadrunners. Runners and walkers are welcome.

The LA Leggers
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The Leggers meet at the Santa Monica Senior Center every Saturday to train for the marathon. Coaches take the group from walking 1 mile to running 25 miles to finishing the marathon course.

Team in Training
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Team in Training not only raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but trains runners to finish the marathon. You’ll feel great thinking about all of the people you’re helping when you cross that finish line.

When Yvonne Condes isn’t running she’s blogging at YvonneInLA
Comments (5)
  1. o c e a n says:

    griffith park @the zoo is a great place to jog. the dirt trails that outline the 134 and 5 are lined with trees that provide shade and cover for those that dislike jogging on crowded city sidewalks/hazards. the only hazards there are golfballs, horse p**p and lions or monkeys. if the lions or monkeys ever escape from the zoo.

  2. PAUL E, LOS ANGELES says:

    There is also running shoe store in Pasadena. All of their employees are experienced runners who belong to the store’s team / running club, “Club Run With Us”. The staff is very helpful. They will assist you with the best shoe for your running needs.

    Run With Us
    235 N Lake Ave
    Pasadena, CA 91101

    (626) 568-3331

  3. robert says:

    Another great club to join is the Marina del Rey running club. It is free to join, and we meet every Saturday morning at 9am and every Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm. We meet at The Starting Line running store, which is also a great resource for running shoes, apparel and advice. The club is FREE to join. For more details visit and search Marina Del Rey running.

    1. YvonneinLA says:

      Thanks, Paul and Robert, for letting us know!

  4. Trainer says:

    If you’re fat & don’t have adequate ankle mobility you are gonna mess up your knees regardless of what type of “running shoes” you have

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