Irvine’s ‘fearless’ take to the trails

Triathlon coach Ingrid Miller says Irvine’s trails and open space are among her favorite places to train her Fearless Endurance team.

Growing up in Laguna Beach, running was more than a workout – it was a mode of transportation from one beach to the next. I would also run from my family’s home to the campus at UCI with its futuristic buildings. So much has changed, but I’m still banking miles in Ironman triathlons and running local trails.

I started running up Mount Baldy in the 1980s and recently completed a 50K ultra run and crossed the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. But I don’t do it alone.

In 2013, I founded Fearless Endurance, a training team for adults ages 30-75. “I can do this” is our motto, and we meet twice a week in Irvine and nearby to swim, bike, run and ride together.

Irvine has so many trail options, and one of our favorite spots starts at the Quail Hill Trailhead that leads into the Irvine Open Space Preserve. From there, you can amble along several scenic, dog-friendly trails and go all the way to the beach at Crystal Cove. Even if you only have 30 minutes, you can get into Irvine’s wilderness and enjoy the wildflowers and fresh breezes filled with the scent of sage and wild grasses.

For a short, recreational jog, we often start at Bommer Canyon. Parking, water and restrooms are at the trailhead off Shady Canyon Drive, or you can park at nearby Turtle Rock Community Park. There is a narrow, winding trail loop about 4.5 miles long that has something for everyone. There is a nice city view from the top. You stay mostly in sight of others on the trail, so it feels extra secure.

We are so lucky to live in this area where the weather is mild all year and there are trails and bike paths connected to parks with restrooms and water fountains galore.

Trail running welcomes everyone. People of all ages and abilities are out there enjoying nature. Get outside and join them.

Come train with us. Go to for more information or contact me at

About Ingrid

Ingrid Miller, an attorney for 25 years (still recovering, she jokes), founded Fearless Endurance in 2013 and now coaches “middle-aged accountants, schoolteachers and computer geeks” to be skilled and confident triathletes. Her team ranges in age from 30 to 75 and includes athletes that have never done a triathlon, as well as podium finishers. “I am here to teach you to be a faster, stronger and more skilled triathlete,” says the author of five books on triathlon training. “I will help you focus on the aspects of training that are holding you back the most.”

Ingrid’s Trail Running Tips

  • Map it out- Irvine’s trail systems often connect, and a short jog can turn into more than you bargained for if you don’t stay oriented. Plan your run and bring an old-school map or use the GPS on Google Maps.
  • Bring extra water and food- Three pints of water is the minimum for a 10-mile run. You also need to eat about 250 calories per hour. Make it easy to carry and unwrap because chocolate loses its appeal when it’s melted in your pack.
  • Leave the head-phones at home- In the wilderness, you need to hear what is going on around you. Chirping crickets, rustling leaves and the sound of your own footsteps are part of the allure of trail running.
  • Pace yourself- Trail runners do a lot of walking. It is more efficient to walk up and down steep hills, so don’t get caught up in whether you are “walking” or “running.” On hot days, make your clothing wet because covered skin is cooler than bare skin.