With temperate weather during the winter months, diverse running venues and courteous drivers, Palm Springs, Calif., offers the perfect desert destination for a winter training block.
This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.
Plan your trip around a local winter race or organized ride, such as the Tour De Palm Springs (Tourdepalmsprings.com), to test your winter fitness. Choose from seven ride distances ranging from 1 mile to 100 miles, complete with SAG stops.
Make it a weekend brick by adding on the Palm Springs Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay or 5K (Feb. 10, 2013, Kleinclarksports.com). The flat and fast course winds through residential areas, all within view of the surrounding snowcapped mountains.
To get in some swim training, head to the 50m pool at Palm Springs Swim Center ($5 per day for nonresidents), says Jonathan Cane, a New York City-based multisport coach who spends a few weeks a year in Palm Springs. “Breathe in one direction to see palm trees; turn the other way and see mountains,” says Cane.
Start your mornings off at Koffi Coffee on North Palm Canyon Drive (Kofficoffee.com) for a good cup of Joe, tasty pastries and nice outdoor seating. Just up the street is Cheeky’s (Cheekysps.com), a fun spot for post-run brunch.
For a challenging, hilly run, Cane recommends South Lykken Trail (Hiking-in-ps.com), which climbs 900 feet in elevation over the first 3 miles.
Cane recommends staying at the Spa Resort Casino (Sparesortcasino.com) in downtown Palm Springs. Not only does it have a gym and spa, it also features an all-you-can-eat buffet for post-workout feasting.
If you can’t make it out to Palm Springs in the beginning of 2013, this fall features some great local events including the Palm Springs Tram Road Challenge (October 2013, Kleinclarksports.com), a 6K uphill run that climbs 2,000 vertical feet in less than 4 miles. Or later in the year, compete in one of the five race distances of the HITS Triathlon (Hitstriathlonseries.com). If you sign up more than four months in advance, the iron-distance race costs only $150.
PHOTOS: Inaugural HITS Palm Springs Triathlon