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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Tips for choosing the right trail shoe

With summer just around the corner, now is the time to start looking for deals on new trail shoes!   If you are new to the sport or seeking to conquer more advanced terrain, there are a handful of things you should know regarding the fit and feel when shopping for yourself or a loved one.

Enjoy this popular post from our archive and happy trails!


Have you ever ran on a trail that had a lot of gravel and loose rock where it felt like your feet were slipping out from underneath you, kind of like a car on slick ice?

I like to use the analogy of our body as a car when talking about trail running.  Your backside is your engine, your quads are your breaks and the type of “tires” you put on your feet will determine how well your body manages different trail conditions.

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Choosing the right trail shoe can make or break your trail running experience, we hope these tips help to “steer” you in the right direction!

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Best front range trails for beginner trail runners, take 2

Trail running.   It’s the leg burning, heart pumping activity that can be so exhausting yet so exhilarating at the same time.  If you are just getting into the sport, imagining running up those steep, rocky trails that must be only meant for hikers seems like an intimidating endeavor.   Knowing where to go is key so that you can train your lungs and legs for those high grade climbs and technical descents.   After mastering our second round of trails appropriate for beginners you will be ready to to conquer any adventure this summer!

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Best trails near Denver for intermediate trail runners

You’ve conquered all of the beginner trail runs across the front range.  Now it is time to raise the stakes a bit and try out some more technical terrain.   In this post, we will highlight our 5 favorite trails appropriate for intermediate trail runners.
These runs were chosen because of their proximity to the greater Denver metro area (all within 20-40 minutes). There are many more amazing trails to explore further west (Conifer, Genesee, Idaho springs)  north (Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins) and South (Monument, CO springs) which we hope to cover in future posts.

Please share your favorites in the comment section below!

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“Me and My Buddy” workout for trail runners and Obstacle course racers

This is a workout taken from Daily Outdoor Workouts, one of our sister sites.  Enjoy!

ME AND MY BUDDY

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.   – Helen Keller

NEEDED: 
A “Buddy” AKA:  A rock, log or hand-weight that is 10% or more of your body weight.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING WITH YOUR “BUDDY”

Standard Strength warm-up and then….

  • 3 mile hike/run
  • 50 walking lunges
  • 50 overhead presses
  • 50 russian twists
  • 50 ground to overhead squats

—->  The workout can be completed in any order, just don’t drop or put down your Buddy the entire workout!
—->  If you are really looking for a suffer fest, repeat the workout twice!

*A note from Lauren: 
I came up with this workout when I was training for the Warrior Dash World championships race last summer.  We drove up to Guanella pass (near the base of Mnt Bierstadt, a front range 14,000 foot peak) and I completed this workout at altitude.   Whether you are training for an OCR event or just love trail running, this workout will help you gain strength and fitness to run stronger, longer!

2 tough workouts that will help you to conquer steep hills

2 tough workouts that will help you to conquer steep hills

Are hills your nemesis?   Maybe you just can’t seem to catch your breath on the ups or are tentative on the downs.  Try out these workouts to improve your skills and fitness so you can conquer those hills with confidence!

Stair add-ons:

You need to find a location that has multiple flights of stairs.  An office building, stadium or if you live in the Denver metro area Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Stair work is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness but more importantly it helps to improve your motor skills and turnover (or cadence).

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Fort Carson Spartan Super race recap: The good, the bad and the reality check

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.

me at fear the deer
Racing in the Fear the Deer trail 1/2 marathon. I placed 6th overall for females!

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