This coming Friday I’ll be leading a group trail run at the base of the Flatirons in Boulder, CO to kick off the Blend Retreat. I’m kind of excited about this…it’ll be the perfect setting to show off some of Boulder’s trails and get a big bunch of IRL friends + internet strangers together for some Colorado sunshine!
While I am the first person to admit I’m no expert on trail running I do have some experience wandering around the Boulder trails and thought it’d be nice to bring together all the questions I’ve gotten about running [and hiking!] the trails from the Chautauqua trailhead.
First, before we get into the FAQ part of this I have one simple request for everyone – practice the basic principles of “Leave No Trace” while you’re out on the trails! Please! During this run the most important thing to do is stay on the trail, even if it’s muddy! We’re dealing with a LOT of rain + spring snow in Colorado this month so there is a really good chance the trails will be muddy in a few areas.
Please go THROUGH mud + water on the trails.
Please do NOT go off the main trail just to avoid mud.
Yes, this means your shoes may get muddy but it will help preserve the trails, which is extremely important in such a well-traveled area. That said, don’t let the possibility of mud deter you – let your inner child come out to play in the puddles! If you really hate muddy shoes…find me post-run, I’ll personally clean them up for you if you promise to stay on the trails.
Now onto the questions + fun chatter about the weekend…
Do I need “trail running shoes”? No. You’ll be fine with any type of running shoe or standard workout shoe. The route we’re taking will not be technical but it may be a bit muddy in spots so don’t bring shoes you’re afraid to get a little dirty!
What should I wear? Wear what you’re comfortable in, something similar to what you would do any other run, hike or workout in. Keep an eye on the weather forecast – we’re headed out to the trails rain or shine!
How will the altitude affect me? How do I prepare? If you’re coming from lower elevations you’ll feel the lack of oxygen – your heart rate will go up more easily, your skin/lips will feel dryer and simple things like running or hiking will seem more difficult. One simple way to off set the effects of the higher altitude is to drink a lot of water! Also, on this trail run…take it easy! It’s not a race and your heart/lungs will thank you if you go out easy.
Do I need to bring water? Not necessarily. If you usually run with a handheld or hydration pack feel free to bring it. If you don’t have the gear or aren’t used to using it don’t worry about it. We won’t be gone more than 45 minutes and I’ll have a pack with water if anything goes really wrong!
Do I have to run the whole thing? Of course not! That’s the beauty of trail running – you can always become a hiker and no one can judge you for it! Slow down for the sake of conversation or stop to catch your breath while taking a photo, we won’t judge – you’re here to have fun! Plus, the loop we’re running will have two bail out options for shorter distances if you’re not loving the trails.
What pace are we going? Honestly, whatever pace is most conversational! The entire Blend weekend is about making new friends and catching up with old friends so don’t feel pressured to run a certain pace. It’s easier to talk when we’re going slow enough to breathe! You’ll fall into step with people around you – if you don’t know them, introduce yourself! [for the people who really want numbers – I’m guessing we’ll end up with an average pace of 12-15 minute miles when factoring the hike-worthy hill]
Will I get lost or left behind? Absolutely not. If you can manage to follow a well worn + obvious trail for at least a half mile you definitely will not get lost. We’re doing this group trail run as “no runner left behind” so every half mile or so we’ll stop as a group, chat it up and give everyone a short breather before heading on.
What if I can’t go the full distance? Don’t let that stop you from showing up! There will be two options to bail out early if you want to.
What route are we taking? We’ll be leaving right from the Chautauqua Park Trailhead and running a 2 mile loop on the trails below the Flatirons. Yes, we’ll be going uphill but we’ll also be coming back down! I’ll have details available [with a map!] on Friday afternoon.
Still not sure if you want to commit to the trail run on Friday afternoon? How about a little trail mix bribery courtesy of General Mills?! They are the generous sponsors of this trail run and they will be hosting a Cereal Trail Mix Bar when we return from the run. There will be a variety of cereals, nuts, seeds and fruits just waiting for you to mix them all together for your next snack break!
Bonus: If you’re taking photos + sharing them on Instagram and/or Twitter be sure to tag @GeneralMills and #runabler so we can share your trail experience! Tell us what you thought of trails, of Colorado and of the Cereal Trail Mix Bar!
Have I covered all your questions? If not…ask! Either in the comments or by shooting me a quick email [firstname.lastname@example.org] and I’ll get you an answer! I’d love to see all the Blend’ers out on the trail for this trail run and if that means i Have to ask 328 questions I’ll happily do just that! We’ll all have fun, I pinky promise!