The best places in the front range to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat!

The best places in the front range to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat!

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).

Getting through a rocky section at Lair o’ the Bear park.

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!

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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 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.

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3 multi-trail adventure runs in front range Colorado

3 multi-trail adventure runs in front range Colorado

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!!

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Sprint through the finish: 3 fun track workouts you can do with your kids (or sandbag)

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: 

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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:

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Resolution Bucketlist races and adventure events

Resolution Bucketlist races and adventure events

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.

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3 tips to make your outdoor winter training more fun!

WINTER IS COMING…….
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.

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Training for the long road ahead: Tips and places to train for long ascent races

Training for the long road ahead: Tips and places to train for long ascent races

Back in 2010 I decided to run my first marathon. Unlike most people who pick an “easy”,  flat road course, I decided to go the opposite direction and chose one of the toughest ones in the country: The Leadville Trail marathon.
With the starting line at over 10,000 feet, course elevation gain total over 7500 feet (including a 13er summit) and loose, rocky terrain I had my work cut out for me.
When race day arrived I thought I was prepared. I had been trail running for over 10 years at that point, fit in all my long runs and did several 14ers for high altitude training.
However, I distinctly remember my greatest weaknesses on the course: my power hiking skills and ability to run long, sustained climbs.  I had done a ton of trail running to train but very little power hiking.  “Why hike when I could run?”,  I wrongly assessed.

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Discover new front range trails. A quiz and resources to find terrain appropriate for you!

Discover new front range trails. A quiz and resources to find terrain appropriate for you!

Depending on who you talk to whether it be a city dweller or suburbanite the definition of a “trail run” can sound quite different.   Does a flat gravel trail winding through a city park for example “count” as a trail run?

In my definition there are several distinctive factors that determine whether or not you are a true trail runner, take the test below to find out where you stand and then check out our tips for finding new trails and terrain appropriate trails for your fitness and comfort level below:

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Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

We are fortunate to live in a state with so many beautiful trails and a myriad of trail races to choose from.   If you are new to the state or just getting into trail running and looking to take on your first trail race, choosing the best one compatible with your fitness and ability level can be a daunting task.

Our 2018 lineup has been broken down into four categories including our favorite races and events for beginners and also those seeking a little more adventure and/or quad busting action.  Check out our recommendations below and happy training!

Beginners:

Xterra Phillip S Miller Park,  August 5th:

  • Includes a 5k/10k and 20k course options.

The 5k course contains just 300 feet of climbing, enjoy rolling hills with short climbs and quick descents, perfect practice for those new to the trails.   The trails are smooth and wind through bushes and brush with occasional scenic views of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock.
There is plenty to do for the entire family at this venue post run.  The Philip S. Miller Park’s outdoor space includes a playground with 60-foot slide, a 200-step challenge staircase, a turf field, and the Headrush Towers—40-foot and 80-foot towers that kids can climb up, repel down, or even free fall from.

Elk Meadow trail race, June 2nd:

  • Includes a 5k and 10k option

The trails at Elk Meadow park are relatively tame and any climbing is done gradually through a series of switchbacks winding through the thick evergreen forests.  The 5k course will mainly keep runners along the base of Bergen peak where you will run through beautiful open meadows filled with yellow and green grasses and wildflowers.  The elevation here is the greatest challenge so make sure those lungs are ready for the higher altitude (around 8000 feet).

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