Are you a real trail runner?  How to find a “real” trail…

Are you a real trail runner? How to find a “real” trail…

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:

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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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The long road ahead: Why a long slow climb can make you a stronger, more efficient runner and the best long roads to train on in Colorado

In exactly 5 days I will be running the Leadville trail marathon.  I am not going to lie, I am terrified.  I ran the event back in 2010 and loved every moment of it but due to some health setbacks I wasn’t able to train for the event as I had hoped this time around.

However, there is one silver lining:  I know the course.  Not only by memory but I took the time to really do my research this year.  I calculated the average grade for all 3 long climbs.  I looked at the finishing times for women the previous years and figured out what pace they were able to manage during certain sections of the course so I know what I am up against.  And I have been training based off of this data.

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After finishing Leadville back in 2010

Back in 2010 I distinctly remember my greatest weakness on the course:  my power hiking skills.  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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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 the 7 best trails in Southwest Denver (within 20-30 minutes of Denver proper) for runners looking to hit the trails for the first time.

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South Valley Park
90 South Valley Rd., Littleton Read more

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5 exercises runners should be doing everyday

5 exercises 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 training!

Many runners neglect strengthening the muscles they use when running.  And not only those muscles, but the opposing muscles 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.

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

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:

  • 12 minute warm-up: Do each of the following for 1 minute and then repeat 1 more time through- walking, jogging, walking lunges, leg swings, arm circles, planks.  THEN…
  • Time yourself as you run 1 lap around the track as fast as you can (pushing your jogging stroller if you have one).
  • Take a 90 second recovery and then repeat 4 more times.  Ideally, each lap should be faster than the previous.  *Make sure to take a 90 second break between each set.

Congratulations- you just ran over a mile!

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This is the backwards drag

2.  Pull, drag and carry:

 Okay, so now that you are “warmed up” it is time for the fun stuff.   Before you head out the door, grab a sled.  Yes, a sled, like the one you use in the snow.  Make sure it has 2 handles.  You will also need a rope that is about 10 feet long.
*Don’t have kids?  Grab a sandbag or 2 for this drill

PULL:  When you get to the field, tie the rope through both handles and tell your kids you are going to give them a “ride”.   After they are seated, hold either end of the rope behind you and run as far/fast as you can!  Do 10 sets.

DRAG:   This time face your kids and walk/run backwards, dragging them along as far as you can.  Repeat 10 times

CARRY:  Have your child climb onto your back and give them a “piggy-back” ride for 100 meters.  Try to run as fast as you can, don’t lean forward too much!  Walk back to the start line and repeat 10 times.  *No kids?  Put the sandbag over your shoulders and complete this drill

track workout image3.  Strength, core and animals:

Improving your speed isn’t all about running. You need strong muscles to run faster and to help prevent common running injuries.
Go through each exercise in order and then repeat 2 more times:

1.  Weighted squats and walking lunges:
Place your child/sandbag on your shoulders and do 15 deep squats followed by 20 walking lunges.

2.  Bear crawl: 
Crawl 15 feet down and back with your kids!

3.  Hold a plank:
Have your kids crawl under and climb over your body 15 times OR hold the plank for 3 minutes.

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