Follow us on Facebook or join the Fort Collins Trail Runners group to get additional updates on local training and social runs. Additional details about Gnar Runners training runs will also be posted on our blog here.
Quad Rock 50 & 25 Training
There are organized training runs every Saturday January-May for Quad Rock. See the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook Group for details on times, locations & routes. Most training runs will be on race course.
We’ve put together a basic training outline to help anyone get to the finish line of the 50 or 25. You can view the detailed schedule on Google Docs online here.
Quad Rock Preview Run
Date: April 4
Start: 8:30am at the Eltuck Trailhead at Lory State Park.
BBQ Potluck: 1:00pm – 3:30pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.)
Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($9 day use per car if you don’t already have an annual state park pass. Carpooling strongly recommended.)
Course: Most runners will follow the Quad Rock 25 mile loop but everyone is welcome to run any part of the course. And anyone is welcome to start earlier or later. The route will not be marked but we will have plenty of local runners attending so most runners should be able to buddy up with a similarly paced runner or group of runners, with at least one person who knows the course. If you are new to the area, however, please remember to print a map. Full size detailed maps of Lory and Horsetooth are available from Jax or the local REI.
Other: We will not have any aid stations on the course. There are water pumps at the Horsetooth Trailhead, Soldier Canyon Trailhead, and the Lory Visitor Center. We will also place several jugs of water at the Arthur’s Trailhead.
Runners are responsible for their own safety – we will not keep track of any attendance and will not have a course sweep.
For a shorter 18 mile route, the Spring Creek-Westridge loop can be cut off from the Horsetooth side of the course. For a longer route, you can add an extra loop back up and over Arthur’s and straight back on the east valley trail for 34.6 miles.
Dogs on leash are welcome.
Never Summer 100km Training
On Saturdays in June/July, there will typically be carpools of runners from Fort Collins heading to State Forest State Park to train on the course. Those will be posted in the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook group.
A training plan will be released shortly.
Never Summer Training Weekend – June 27/28
Saturday, 8:00am: Meet at 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 would be in the 32 mile range.
Sunday, 8:00am: meet at Ruby Jewel TH. Run Kelly Lake/Hidden Valley, northern loop and back to Ruby via Canadian/North Yurt for 20/24 miles (with/without Clear Lake spur). A shorter option would be to shortcut on the access road to Canadian from the Kelly Lake junction (~16 miles).
Trailwork volunteers can meet up with us either day. We’ll mainly be working the southern Never Summer section of the course.
Most of the group will be camping Friday & Saturday night at the Crags Campground in State Forest State Park. Join us in the evenings for refreshments, campfires & tales from the day.
Black Squirrel Half & Blue Sky Marathon Training
Recommended Blue Sky Marathon Long Runs
For the Blue Sky Marathon, here are two ideal long training runs:
Blue Sky to Devil’s Backbone:
Start at the Soderberg Trailhead and run the full length of the Blue Sky trail to the Devil’s Backbone trailhead and back. If you skip the Indian Summer Loop, the total distance is about 20 miles. Add about 1.25 miles if you add the Indian Summer loop. There is a water pump at the Devil’s Backbone trailhead where you can refill. Just note that you will not run all the way to this trailhead during the race but you can get familiar with the loops in Devil’s Backbone and note the turn around location at the end of the Hunter loop. This is also a great training run for anyone traveling up from the south since you can save some drive time by starting at the Devil’s Backbone trailhead in Loveland. Devil’s Backbone is also a free trailhead – the Soderberg and Blue Sky trailheads both charge a $7 day fee.
Horsetooth loop plus the Blue Sky Half:
Start at either the Blue Sky or the Soderberg trailhead and run the first north section of the marathon course in Horsetooth. Refill water back at the trailhead and then run the Blue Sky Half Marathon route around the Indian Summer loop and back. This is a perfect 20 mile training run that combines the harder hill climbing at the start of the race with the rolling hills of the Blue Sky trail.
Towers Road Hill Climb
Soderberg Trailhead (lower Horsetooth parking lot)
Every other Thursday at 6pm
Groups meet every other Thursday evening at the Soderberg Trailhead for a handicapped time trial ascent on Towers Rd. The route is 3.4 miles from the trailhead to the summit. Total elevation gain is approximately 1,700ft and it takes anywhere from 28:50 (Sam Malmberg’s current FKT) to an hour depending on ability and motivation. Runners who plan to reach the top in 50 minutes start at 6pm. Anyone who needs more time can show up early and estimate their own handicap (i.e. a 60 minute ascent estimate would start at 5:50pm). Faster runners will start later based on their ascent estimate or previous PR time. Everyone gets to the top at about the same time, so no matter how fast or slow you are, you’ll have some good encouragement and competition on the way up. Once everyone meets at the top, the group jogs back down the hill at a casual and conversational pace.
Pineridge Social Run
Spring Canyon Park (by the dog park)
Every other Thursday at 6pm
Alternating with Towers on Thursdays. Typical route is 5mi, unless trails are closed for mud. This is a no drop run open and welcoming to runners of all abilities, with multiple stops to regather. The group typically enjoys additional socialization after the run at Intersect Brewing.
Reservoir Ridge & Maxwell Social Runs
Reservoir Ridge (Overland Trail parking lot) & Maxwell (Dixon Canyon parking lot)
Alternating Tuesdays at 6pm
Runs vary from 4-6mi. The group heads out at 6:00 sharp (especially in cold weather), so plan to arrive a few minutes early. As with all of the social runs, all speeds are welcome, there are re-grouping points so that no one gets left behind, and fellow runners will look to get everyone back safely.
Spring Vertical Madness
Once the weather turns for the better, things start getting a little silly among the Fort Collins Trail Running crowd. The spring vertical series includes the following training staples for Fort Collins ultrarunners trying to whip themselves into shape for the summer season. These are highly recommended in preparing for Quad Rock:
TBD: March Mileage Madness Horsetooth Reservoir Circumnavigation
TBA: The Round Up 30 Miles, 10,000′, One summit of Round Mountain. The Round Up is a full set of ladder repeats up to each mile marker until you reach the summit. For an extra challenge, try to negative split each mile repeat both up and down. A single summit trip is about 9 miles and there are unlimited options to run whatever series of repeats that you like.
TBA: Crosier Mountain Triple Bagger 26 Miles, 8,000′, three summits of Crosier Mountain.
Anyone is welcome to post an invite on the Fort Collins Trail Runner’s group to coordinate a group run. Someone from the FCTR group is always going out for a long run somewhere every weekend and there is usually an announcement or two to the group each week from people looking for company.
We will update this page and will post to our Gnar Runners Facebook page when we confirm any formal plans for additional Quad Rock, Never Summer, Black Squirrel, and Blue Sky training runs.
Local Road Running Groups
Check out the Tuesday Night Track group for year-round workouts with a fun group of all abilities.
These workouts are typically centered around mile repeats, but also include 800s, 1,000s, 1,200s and 3,200s. Typical workout volume is in the 4-6 mile range. Tuesday evening strength intervals switch to Tuesday Night Track in mid May. Broad range of abilities.
For additional winter road runs, consider joining our Horsetooth Half Marathon training series with the Fort Collins Running Club.