Train Smarter, Not Harder!

How do you run strong and avoid injury?

As you continue to ramp up your Quad Rock training, it is important to train smart to avoid injury and go into the race ready to perform at your best!  Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right amount of training that will improve your running performance and not lead to injury.  Unfortunately, many runners tend to overtrain.  Most running injuries are categorized as “overuse” type injuries.  Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, IT band pain, and “runner’s knee”, are common injuries sustained by runners.  The high injury rates are due to training errors, muscle weakness, poor mobility (either from muscle tightness or joint stiffness), or running technique.  Understanding the importance of these variables and improving them will help you maintain your optimal level of performance and minimize your risk of injury.

This article will focus on training errors.  Training errors can include progressing your program too quickly, running too many miles, or not allowing yourself enough recovery time.  It is important to remember that every tissue (muscle, tendon, bone, and ligament) in your body is constantly remodeling itself.  All tissues get stronger when you apply “controlled stress”.  Controlled is the keyword.  Overstressing a tissue by running too many miles, poor running form, not being strong enough, not having good mobility, or not having enough recovery time can lead to tissue breakdown and injury.  However, applying the right amount of stress will cause the tissue to remodel itself stronger.  The right amount of stress will vary from runner to runner.  It will also depend on factors such as your nutrition, sleep, and stress level.  You get stronger during your recovery.  Good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and stress management strategies such as mindful breathing or meditation will optimize your recovery and improve your performance.

It is also important to remember that stress is cumulative.  This means you may be able to get away will high mileage weeks for months or even years, but eventually it will lead to injury.  Other activities such as strength training, fitness classes, and low impact cardiovascular exercise also stress your tissues.  It is the combined total of all physical activities you need to be aware of when you consider how much you are stressing your tissues.  It’s not just running!  Additionally, tissue weakens as we age.  Many young runners can log high mileage weeks without a problem.  However, the problem (and injury) comes when they continue with that type of training as they get older.  We don’t need to stop running as we get older.  We need to train smarter.  Smart training now will pay off down the road and you won’t become another running statistic.

If you notice a new ache or pain, back off your training for a few days.  Our bodies are remarkable machines.  Scaling back your training or taking a few days off can be exactly what your body needs to remodel itself stronger and allow you to resume your training program.  In contrast, pushing through a minor ache or pain will cause more tissue damage leading to a longer recovery.  So, listen to your body and keep running strong!

Dr. Terry Gebhardt is a physical therapist and running performance coach at Colorado In Motion.  He can be reached at His new book Minimalist’s Guide to Running an Ultramarathon is available on Amazon.


Quad Rock Training Run #2

Our first two Quad Rock Training Runs of the season are on the books!

Look forward to joining in each Saturday, starting at the Soldier Canyon trailhead in Lory State Park. Details will be posted in the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook group.

All are welcome! Feel free to come along even if you’re not planning to run one of the races, and feel free to invite whoever you like.

To get to the trailhead, take the first left once you’re in the park, then you’ll see the Soldier Canyon lot on the left. This is where the start/finish will be for the Quad Rock races.

Distances will typically be according to the official Quad Rock training plan, and explore different parts of the course and each of the 6 major climbs week-by-week.

Everyone can run their own pace, so bring a map to find your way around if you are new to the park.

A state park pass is required. Dogs on leash are welcome. This time of year, there isn’t any water out on the course, so you’ll want to bring enough fluids to cover the full distance you plan to run.


Train for Quad Rock with the Gnar Runners Team

Gnar Runners Team

As we gear up for the 2018 Gnar Runners race season, we’re extremely proud to be able to introduce a passionate group of 15 local trail runners who together will make up the 2018 Gnar Runners Racing and Training Team.


Not only will you see the team out and about representing Gnar Runners at local and regional races this season, but they’ll also be helping to lead local training and social runs throughout the year to help you get ready for your target Gnar Runners races. The team has a broad range of running backgrounds and abilities, and will be available at local training runs to offer advice and company out on the trail.

Not only do these individuals have a passion for trail running, but importantly they also share the ideals and mission of Gnar Runners as trail stewards and Northern Colorado trail running community-builders.

Quad Rock Training

If you’re looking for some structure and a plan for your Quad Rock training, then take a look at our 18-week training outline, which offers plans for both the 50 and 25 mile races.

We will host a course preview training run on April 7 beginning and ending at the Soldier Canyon trailhead (the race start/finish). All abilities are welcome to attend and we will have many local runners attending to guide those coming in from out of town.

Follow us on Facebook or join the Fort Collins Trail Runners group to get additional updates on local training runs leading up to Quad Rock.



Never Summer Training and Trail Work Weekend

Join us the weekend of July 1st and 2nd for our annual Never Summer training and trail work weekend. This is an informal training weekend that will give you a chance to get up high and preview the trails that make up the Never Summer 100km course. Race staff and volunteers will also be out finishing up the final pieces of trail maintenance and we’d appreciate any support you can offer if you don’t plan on running.

For those out training, we will provide limited support with water drops and car shuttles for the following routes:  

Saturday 7/1 (~16.5 miles, 33 miles) – 8am meet at the Ranger Lakes campground to run the southern section of the course. From Ranger Lakes to the Diamond aid station it is roughly 16 miles (with 2 mile jog on hard shoulder back to Ranger Lakes – or car drops/shuttle can be arranged). The full loop from Ranger Lakes to North Diamond, across to Montgomery and down to Bockman and back to Ranger Lakes via the Grass Creek/Gould Mtn section of the course is a little over 33 miles.

Route data (Elijah Flenner)

Sunday 7/2 (21 miles) – 8am meet at Ruby Jewel TH. Run up the Ruby Jewel Road to Kelly Lake/Hidden Valley. Complete the northern loop after descending from Kelly Lake and return via Canadian/North Yurt for 21/25 miles (with/without Clear Lake spur). A shorter option would be to shortcut south on the access road to Canadian from the Kelly Lake junction (~17 miles).

Route data (no Clear Lake o&b)

Trail work volunteers can meet up with us either day. We’ll mainly be working the southern section of the course.

We suggest the Crags Campground (first come, first served, rarely fills) for those that want to camp.

We’ll update plans on the event facebook page as we get a handle on numbers and logistics:


Winter Plyometric Training from Colorado In Motion

With winter approaching, many of you may begin to cut back your running mileage. This is a great time to focus on becoming a stronger runner. Plyometric exercises are a great way to improve your quickness, strength, and power. The squat jump and tuck jump exercises are two exercises that can be done anywhere. If you are new to these type of exercises, be sure to focus on good form and progress slowly to avoid injury.

Click here to view on Youtube.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive winter training program, contact Dr. Terry Gebhardt at Colorado In Motion at


2016 Black Squirrel & Blue Sky Training Runs

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Course

Photo by Eric Lee

Gnar Runners will be hosting several informal training runs leading up to the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Blue Sky Marathon.

Black Squirrel Half Marathon Training Runs
Thursday 8/18 and 9/1 starting at 6pm at the Timber Trailhead in Lory State Park.
4.5, 8, 9.5, and full 13.1 mile route options are available.
Follow us on Facebook here or join the Fort Collins Trail Runners Group for more info.

Blue Sky Marathon Long Run
Sunday 9/4 starting at 7:30am at the Blue Sky Trailhead
We’ll have an informal potluck social gathering back at the trailhead at about 11:30-Noon after the run. More info is online here: