Running high: 5 tips for your next high altitude adventure

If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness (aka Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS), you know that it is not to be trifled with.
Nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath.  All classic symptoms of this condition that can impact anyone at any time, regardless of physical fitness or acclimatization status.

Whether you are training for a high elevation race, adventure run or summit chasing, learning how to prevent and mitigate AMS can mean a more enjoyable and successful experience.

Check out our 5 helpful tips for your next big adventure into the high mountains:

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Best front range trails for beginner mountain bikers

Best front range trails for beginner mountain bikers

As we prepare for this years Beginner Mountain Bike Course for Women now is a good time to showcase some of our rides from the clinic and offer some additional beginner routes that are fun to check out.  Thanks to our partner Switchback Chics of Colorado for putting together this great list!

South Table Mountain – 4.9 mile green route – Fossil Trail to Old Quarry Trail to Basalt Cap Loop

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.

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Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

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 recently due to the toasty temperatures with sightings at Green Mountain and North Table Mountain parks just this week.
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.

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5 exercises trail runners should be doing everyday

5 exercises trail runners should be doing everyday

You love to run.  Or maybe you don’t.  Wherever you are on the spectrum, if you are planning on adding more mileage or training for an event, you need to make sure that your body is adequately prepared to take on the additional stresses running places on the body.

What do we mean by this?
Strength and conditioning!

Many runners neglect to strengthen the muscles they use when running.  And not only those muscles, but the opposing ones too. In order to prevent injury and run at your best, you need to ensure that your body is strong and your training plan is well balanced. We like to refer to this as “pre-hab” work.
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Embrace the brrrr! Tips and tricks for winter running

With cooler temps, mountain snowfall and wintry weather back in force, 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.

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Best Denver area parks for beginner trail runners

Best Denver area parks for beginner trail runners

Trail running is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and for one main reason: it is so much fun!
We are fortunate to live in a place with a myriad of park systems and literally hundreds of miles of trails right in our backyard.  However, not all front range trails are suitable for beginners.  Steep climbs, descents and technical terrain are a veteran trail runner’s delight but those new to trail running may find themselves beyond their ability level and at higher risk for injury.

So how to know where to start?
We’ve compiled a list of 5 favorite trails in Southwest Denver (within 30 minutes of Denver proper) suited for runners looking to hit the trails for the first time.


South Valley Park

90 South Valley Rd., Littleton Read more

The weekend warrior and the future Olympian: Pi-yo is good for everyone!

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The winter Olympics are a myriad of acrobatics.  It is truly amazing what these athletes can do in the air and at high speeds.  We can attribute much of what they can do to their training on the snow, however; it is how they train off the snow that can make the difference between a gold medal and a career ending injury.

Most professional athletes these days include cross training components in their training and many swear by pilates.
The question is:  Do these alternative methods of training work and what can they do for me?  

It is so easy to get stuck in a routine; I have trained people who have been doing the same exercises for 10 years using the same weight and others who swear by doing only cardio.  However, just like anything in life our bodies need balance and moderation when exercising. By doing too much or one thing (like cardio or exercises for the same muscle groups), we can develop muscle imbalances, which can lead to pain, poor posture and alignment and injuries.  

TAKE A BREAK feature

Even our day to day activities can lead to these muscle imbalances: sitting in front of a computer screen at work, driving, and even recreational sports like tennis, golf or racquetball.  All of these activities put our bodies in a very forward position, meaning that our shoulders slouch down, our neck rolls forward, our spine rounds and we stop using our core muscles.

The result?  Tight chest muscles, tight hamstrings and weak/tight hip flexors, weak back muscles, and a weak core.  Translation: Low back pain, chronic headaches, poor posture, and increased risk of injury to the knees and shoulders.  

By incorporating pilates and or yoga into your exercise routine, you will help to undue some of the damage you have done to your body over the years and learn some techniques to increase awareness and improve posture and core strength.  Not to mention perform better in your sport of choice!

Here are just some benefits of practicing pilates/yoga conditioning found in various studies:

1.   Strength and stabilization:

Pilates training focuses on strengthening the bodies stabilizing muscles within the core (scapulae, torso and pelvis).  Doing so has been proven to reduce stress to the joints and reduce the risk of potential injuries due to muscle imbalances. View 3 pilates based core exercises you can try today HERE.

Young smiling girl doing sporty exercises outdoors
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Insights on the ultra training journey

Training for an ultra is not all sunsets and rainbows, it’s a tough endeavor not for the faint of heart and takes a level commitment that the average person cannot fathom. There will be times when you will contemplate throwing in the towel, wonder why you even subjected yourself to completing to this crazy thing in the first place, question your training and if you are really ready to undertake something so daunting.

As you run into the unknown, consider that you are not alone. This is the process all ultra runners go through and not just when training for their first ultra. It is a journey and like life and the very earth we tread on, full of ups and downs: small hills to challenge us, massive peaks to overcome and then the peace of a calm valley when things just seem to click.
If you are taking the leap into uncharted territory and going ultra this year, continue reading. L2S coach Sara Spolrich, who has run the gamut of ultra events and adventures from completing the Appalachian trail solo to 48 hour lapped events, has shared some insights to help you along the way.

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