Whether you live in San Diego or are just visiting, you can’t beat this place when it comes to finding a great place to run and meditate at the same time.

Because of the moderate climate, any season is a good time of year for running in San Diego, This, coupled with the beautiful but varied terrain around the county, puts San Diego among the top running cities in the world.

For those who like to practice “inner running” while physically churning out the miles, here are some tips…

5 Ideal running spots

You can incorporate meditation into your run no matter where you choose to do it, but following are five top spots where the natural beauty will no doubt inspire your spirit.

1. La Jolla Shores at low tide—The flat-packed sand is perfect for a barefoot run, and you’ll see why this area was named “the jewel.”

2. San Elijo Lagoon in North County—Run along dirt trails while enjoying the scenic beauty and bird calls of this nature reserve.

3. Cowles Mountain—You might need to walk some of this uphill trek but what a view, and all within the city limits of San Diego!

4. Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach—This short but breathtaking trail along the cliffs is guaranteed to remind you that life is good.

5. Lake Miramar—Enjoy the scenery and friendly athletes on this flat, winding 5-mile loop on asphalt (mostly free of traffic) around the reservoir.

Techniques for combining running with meditation

• Chant a mantra while running up a hill. When the going gets tough, invoke a higher power to give you some assistance.

You can repeat a simple mantra such as “peace” (or shanti, the Sanskrit mantra for “peace”) or you can create a phrase that feels personal to you—for example, “I have infinite energy.”

The power of a mantra is its ability to focus your mind on one image or intention—very helpful when your run gets intense.

• Visualize. In a wonderful booklet of aphorisms titled Meditate On, spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy gives some visualizations for creating specific emotions and experiences. They’re phrased as a back-and-forth conversation. Following are three of the visualizations well suited to running…

What do you want?
I want speed.
Meditate on a deer.

What do you want?
I want inner strength.
Meditate on climbing flames.

What do you want?
I want power.
Meditate on the indomitable waves of the ocean.

• Cool down with meditation. Many people like to listen to pop or rock music while running. This makes sense, as the upbeat tempo helps runners find the energy to churn out the miles. To get even more fulfillment from your workout, try this: Toward the end of your run, play some meditative music. Then, once you’ve stopped running, sit down for a few minutes to meditate.

This is an excellent way to wind down and to experience gratitude for your health—and for spending time in a place as wonderful as San Diego!

“There is only one perfect road
And that road is ahead of you
Always ahead of you.”
—Sri Chinmoy