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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Hiking a 14er this summer? Train your legs and lungs on one of these front range hikes

Summiting a 14,000 foot peak is no small feat. To us natives, bagging a “14er” as we call them is a right of passage; many of us seeking to one day summit all 54 of these majestic Colorado peaks.
Weekend warriors and veterans alike tend to set the goal of hiking at least one of these Goliaths a year however, many tend to overlook the most important part of preparing for the summit: training!

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At the top of Mount Massive

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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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Quick tips and resources for purchasing a used mountain bike

Quick tips and resources for purchasing a used mountain bike

Here is a great post from our very own coach Brie. We call her the “Gear Guru” because she knows her stuff.  If you are in the market for your first mountain bike, going the used bike route can be the best option to really learn what works for you without the expense of investing in a new bike with all the “bells and whistles”.

It can be intimidating walking into a bike store, only be to shown $5000 bikes.  Seriously….you could buy a car for that!  Good news, you don’t NEED to purchase a $5K bike to get a good bike and get out and enjoy some trails.

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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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Lauren’s Super Fun Short Format Hill Repeat Workout

This is a follow-up post from my late summer post “2 Tough workouts to help you conquer steep hills“.   There are many ways to format your hill training workouts depending on your fitness and goals.  My last post focused more on training for an endurance event (half marathon or longer) where you would be encountering long hills (1/2 mile or longer).   This post is more relevant to the everyday runner, OCR athlete and all looking to improve fitness, strength and running form (and more specifically for trail running)!

 

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