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!!
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.
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.
A couple of weekends ago I competed in my first obstacle race of the season and my first Spartan race in the elite category.
There have been plenty of people posting race reports recapping the event so I wanted to compose a post that details more about what worked and what didn’t in my training in the hopes there might be some takeaways that will help others properly prepare and train for such an event.
To start, let me say that you can never be perfectly prepared for any obstacle course race, let alone a Spartan race for that matter. Even if the race is at the same venue year after year, the course and the obstacles themselves can change drastically.
I am also training for some long distance trail races, culminating with an ultra marathon run of the Grand Canyon or the Rim to Rim to Rim. With 42 miles and 11,000 feet elevation gain, this is a Goliath of an event and so running will always take the priority when it comes to training.
My strategy back in 2015 was to train for speed. I was having some pretty major health issues back then so I wasn’t able to really put in the time to build a good running base. So I spent several hours a week doing crossfit classes and speed work on the track. And it paid off, compared to this year I was definitely much stronger and faster.
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.
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.