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 5 favorite trails in Southwest Denver (within 30 minutes of Denver proper) suited for runners looking to hit the trails for the first time.


South Valley Park

90 South Valley Rd., Littleton Read more

The weekend warrior and the future Olympian: Pi-yo is good for everyone!

bigstock-SEEFELD-AUSTRIA--JANUARY---48264218

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.  

TAKE A BREAK feature

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.

Young smiling girl doing sporty exercises outdoors
Read more
Colorado resolution races and adventure events

Colorado resolution races and adventure events

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.

Read more
Back on track

Back on track

Sometimes life throws you a curveball (or several) and training just doesn’t happen.

Sometimes the only thing to do when this happens is double down and welcome the opportunity to start fresh.  Build back your fitness from the ground up, literally.

It’s time to get back on track and we all know that for any kind of goal, whether it be weight loss, training for a race, or saving money consistency is king.

Read more

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 starting to heat up here in Colorado. With COVID restrictions easing, people are flooding to local parks and trails, eager to spend time in the wilderness.
Check out our recommendations of places close to the Denver area that you should visit on a hot day for your outdoor adventures.
And please share your favorite places to stay cool in the comment section below too!

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 Mountain 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 and thick 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 and fragrant 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!

Read more

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!

1434
At the top of Mount Massive

Read more

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!!

Read more

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: 

DSC05201

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:

Read more

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.

Read more

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:

Read more