As it’s beginning to warm up, more of us are hopping off the treadmills and into the great outdoors. Whether you’ve been a dedicated outdoor runner all winter or not, the melting of the snow definitely opens up more opportunities to explore the trails and new scenery that springtime has to offer. Trail running can be a great break from pounding the pavement day after day and can also provide some added challenge if you’re getting bored with your current routine.
If you’re new to trail running (or to running in general) it can be a little intimidating to get started. The Park City Trail Series is designed to help people ease into trail running as well as give experienced runners fast, fun courses to push their current limits. Whether you simply run the 5k or take on the whole series, each race is a great goal to work towards and a good way to pace your training if you’re looking to build up your miles.
The first event in the series is a 5k on Saturday, June 21. It’s a relatively easy trail run mostly on dirt roads with little elevation change. It’s followed by a 10k on Saturday, July 12 which is run on a slightly more challenging course. There are more technical parts of the trail in addition to more change in elevation. This run does boast great views of the mountains to motivate you through the switchbacks. On Saturday, August 9, the distance progresses to a 15k with more single-track (think of a single lane, one way street) and a longer, steady climb in the middle of the course. But, after the climb runners are rewarded with a downhill to the finish.
Finally, the series culminates in a half marathon on Saturday, September 20. Running the previous races will prepare you for this, the most challenging course, with more technical downhill portions, switchbacks, and hills to keep you on your toes. With the greatest effort comes the greatest reward as you get beautiful views of the mountains and surrounding Park City area.
There are aid stations throughout each event providing water and support. The 10k and longer events also have one or more stations stocked with ProBar Bolt Organic Energy Chews (which happen to be some of my favorites!) to keep you fueled during your run. All events are run on the Round Valley Trail System and so participants who complete the entire series will have a good familiarity with the area to continue their trail training. Those runners with furry friends are allowed to bring friendly dogs, on leash, to all events.
As you’re training for these runs, check out our blog on the Top 5 Spring Trail Runs for ideas of where to start or come in to any Salt Lake Running location for a great map of the Wasatch area hiking and running trails. The trail series’ website also has a very helpful page on Trail Running 101 with good tips to get you started and keep you going strong.
You’ll benefit from a pair of trail-specific shoes, especially as you work into more technical trails where you will enjoy the greater tread and protection for your feet. It’s also vital to carry plenty of water and fuel as conditions can be unpredictable and home or a gas station is not as easily accessible as when running in the city.
Want to run one of the races for free?! As an incentive to give back, any runner who volunteers at an event will get a free registration for one of the runs! You can either run the event that you volunteer for or choose to participate on a different day. You may also get a free registration if a family member or friend volunteers but chooses not to run.