Trail running. It’s the leg burning, heart pumping activity that can be so exhausting yet so exhilarating at the same time. If you are just getting into the sport, imagining running up those steep, rocky trails that must be only meant for hikers seems like an intimidating endeavor. Knowing where to go is key so that you can train your lungs and legs for those high grade climbs and technical descents. After mastering our second round of trails appropriate for beginners you will be ready to to conquer any adventure this summer!
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.
So we’ve made it easy for you!! We handpicked the best trail races suitable for beginner to intermediate trail runners in the front range and central mountains. We didn’t include races in Colorado Springs, the Western slope or southwest Colorado so feel free to share your favorites in these ares in the comments section below.
Elk Meadow trail race, June 3rd 2017:
- 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)
Learn more HERE.
Xterra Phillip S Miller Park, August 6th 2017
- 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.
Learn more HERE.
You’ve conquered all of the beginner trail runs across the front range. Now it is time to raise the stakes a bit and try out some more technical terrain. In this post, we will highlight our 5 favorite trails appropriate for intermediate trail runners.
These runs were chosen because of their proximity to the greater Denver metro area (all within 20-40 minutes). There are many more amazing trails to explore further west (Conifer, Genesee, Idaho springs) north (Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins) and South (Monument, CO springs) which we hope to cover in future posts.
Please share your favorites in the comment section below!
Running, and even trail running in the winter CAN be done and in fact, can be quite the adventure.
Have you ever ran on a trail that had a lot of gravel and loose rock where it felt like your feet were slipping out from underneath you, kind of like a car on slick ice?
I like to use the analogy of our body as a car when talking about trail running. Your backside is your engine, your quads are your breaks and the type of “tires” you put on your feet will determine how well your body manages different trail conditions.
Choosing the right trail shoe can make or break your trail running experience, we hope these tips help to “steer” you in the right direction!
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller
A “Buddy” AKA: A rock, log or hand-weight that is 10% or more of your body weight.
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING WITH YOUR “BUDDY”
Standard Strength warm-up and then….
- 3 mile hike/run
- 50 walking lunges
- 50 overhead presses
- 50 russian twists
- 50 ground to overhead squats
—-> The workout can be completed in any order, just don’t drop or put down your Buddy the entire workout!
—-> If you are really looking for a suffer fest, repeat the workout twice!
*A note from Lauren:
I came up with this workout when I was training for the Warrior Dash World championships race last summer. We drove up to Guanella pass (near the base of Mnt Bierstadt, a front range 14,000 foot peak) and I completed this workout at altitude. Whether you are training for an OCR event or just love trail running, this workout will help you gain strength and fitness to run stronger, longer!
Are hills your nemesis? Maybe you just can’t seem to catch your breath on the ups or are tentative on the downs. Try out these workouts to improve your skills and fitness so you can conquer those hills with confidence!
You need to find a location that has multiple flights of stairs. An office building, stadium or if you live in the Denver metro area Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Stair work is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness but more importantly it helps to improve your motor skills and turnover (or cadence).
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:
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!!