With cooler temps, mountain snowfall and winter right on our heels, many new trail runners are wondering if and how they can continue enjoying the trails throughout the season. Well, I am here to tell you that now is not the time to resign to the boring old “dreadmill”.
Trail running during the winter is possible and in fact, can be quite the adventure.
It’s been a hot week here in Colorado. With temperatures topping out over 100 degrees, many forgo their outdoor training and recreational activities. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat this summer so you can head out into the great outdoors without overheating. Please share yours too in the comment section below.
Hike, run and ride:
Deer Creek Canyon Park Lakewood The trails in this park are diverse, challenging and rewarding. From the lot/trailhead, take the Plymouth Creek trail to the Plymouth Mnt trail around to the Scenic View trail lookout for a tough 6 mile out and back route. For most of the route you will be in rich pine forests.
Windy Saddle Park: Morrison Park at the Lookout Mountain Nature center and take the Lookout Mountain trail to the Beaver Brook trail. This trail boasts 9 miles (one way) of exciting terrain including aspen groves, open fields, thick forests and some rocky scramble sections. The higher elevation offers cooler mountain air for an exceptional long run or hike (no bikes allowed).
Lair o’ the Bear Park Morrison From the lot/main trailhead, take the Bear Creek trail. The first 1.5 miles is a wide, flat dirt path along the creek and then you begin to climb on single track into a thick pine forest. The entire trail is 6.2 miles one way and is shaded most of the time. This is a beautiful trail system close to town that provides an opportunity for a great long run, hike or ride!
With warmer weather here and summer approaching, rattlesnakes are on the move and making their way out of hibernation dens.
Both bull and rattle snake encounters have been on the rise and in fact, just this past weekend a man suffered a bite in a Westminster dog park.
Due to this news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading out on the trails. However, rattlesnake bites in Colorado are fairly rare.
I grew up in the foothills right in the heart of rattlesnake country and in my 30+ years (my parents started me young) of hiking, trail running and mountain biking these trails I encounter a handful of rattlers a year and have been struck at just twice (one time in my teens I was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the warning sound of the rattler just to the side of the trail).
With my firsthand experience and work with Jefferson county open space and city of Lakewood park rangers, I’ve compiled a list of all you need to know about how to avoid rattlesnake encounters and what to do if you do see one of our slithering friends.
Summiting a 14,000 foot peak is no small feat. To us natives, bagging a “14er” as we call them is a right of passage; many of us seeking to one day summit all 54 of these majestic Colorado peaks.
Weekend warriors and veterans alike tend to set the goal of hiking at least one of these Goliaths a year however, many tend to overlook the most important part of preparing for the summit: training!
This is a great beginner ride! Park at the trail head off South Golden Road for a nice easy single track green hill with very few obstacles and little elevation gain. There are only a couple switchbacks and they are nice and wide to help you practice your turns. Once you get to the top of South Table the trail opens up into a great double track that is very flat. Rocks are few and far between, but offer just enough for you to practice on! If you choose to take the Basalt Cap Loop just once you will get a great 5 mile ride in. Do the loop several times to extend your ride and focus on your sighting, shifting and braking skills. Just be aware, South Table is known for it’s rattlesnakes! They love to get sun drunk on the wide open paths, so keep your eyes open and give them their space. For more tips on what to do if you see a snake, read the this article.
I love a good adventure. In fact, you could say my thirst for discovering new trails and desire to see what is around that next bend has been a driving force in my trail running career.
Finding a trail system (or multiple) that have sections of varying lengths you can link together is a great way to add mileage as your fitness level and skills on the trails increase. Check out my recommendations in the front range for beginner to advanced trail runners and please share in the comments below your favorite multi-trail adventures in Colorado!!
This is an oldie but goodie. We are reposting this as it is timely: April and May are “mud” season months for us here in Colorado and that means we might not always be able to get out and hit our favorite trails.
Check out this fun workout you can do anywhere really (although a track is ideal) and the best part is you can bring your kids along too! Don’t have kids? Bring along a heavy weight or sandbag to keep you company….
When is the last time you sprinted? Or ran as fast as you could? (chasing after your kids doesn’t count)
Doing laps around the track may seem like torture to most people however, speed work is an important part of any training regime and is the key to getting fitter, faster.
Here are 3 fun track workouts you can do WITH your kids (or a sandbag) that will help you get through that finish line a little bit faster:
1. 400 meter repeats:
Okay, we lied. This one isn’t fun, in fact, it kind of sucks. But once it is over with you will have this amazing feeling of accomplishment that you haven’t felt since you finished ALL the laundry in one day.
In order to see results, you first need to know where you stand. So let’s start off with a little fitness test:
When most people set New Years resolutions they set goals like “eat healthier”, “lose 5lbs” or “exercise more often”. While quite vague, these goals also lack a certain element of excitement to me. My resolutions take a different shape, in the form of various adventures and races I’d like to accomplish before the year’s end. I’ve compiled a list of some of my all time favorite events that I have completed and others that are still on my list and I’d love to hear about yours too! I included some great beginner friendly races plus some epic events worthy of mountain goat status. Please post links to any events or adventures in the comments section below. Happy training!
Abominable winter obstacle run, February 2nd:
Looking for some adventure this winter? This 4ish mile winter obstacle course includes snow tunnels, walls, a log carry, lots of steep hills and deep snow and even a sledding section, but watch out for the Yeti in the woods! Finish to hot chocolate, a “mountain man” contest and more winter fun. Learn more HERE.