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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more
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.
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 some of which I have completed and others that are still on my list.
I’d love to hear about yours too! I’ve 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 22nd:
Looking for some adventure this winter?
This 4ish mile winter obstacle course includes snow tunnels, walls, a log carry, lots of steep hills, 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.
No need to fight traffic for ultimate fall foliage viewing. Check out these recommended runs, rides and hikes closer to the front range with gorgeous fall colors and terrain for all levels.
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
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:
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
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!
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.
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.
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!!