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.
We will announce opportunities for Never Summer 100k group preview runs and volunteer trail work at State Forest State Park later in the spring. As a stepping stone to prepare for the 100k, we highly recommend running the Quad Rock 50.
Quad Rock 50 & 25 Training
There will be a course preview training run in April 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, but please also print a map from the Course Map page and bring with you.
Start: 8:30am at the Soldier Canyon Trailhead at Lory State Park.
BBQ Potluck: 1:00pm – 4:00pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.) Only 3.2% beer is allowed in the park. All donations will be passed on to race beneficiary, Animal House Rescue.
Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($7 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.
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.
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:
TBA: 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.
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.
Train with the Fort Collins Trail Runners
The Fort Collins Trail Runners (FCTR) group runs year round on many parts of our courses and on other trails in the surrounding area. We have regularly scheduled group runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays with more impromptu outings, including weekend long runs in Horsetooth and Lory.
Training and Social Run Details are announced weekly on the FCTR Facebook Group.
Here are a few of our regular weekly FCTR runs:
Towers Rd Time Trial
Soderberg Trailhead (lower Horsetooth parking lot)
Every other Thursday at 6pm
We 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, we jog back down the hill at a casual and conversational pace.
Towers Rd Intervals and Horsetooth Rock Trail Repeats
Soderberg Trailhead (lower Horsetooth parking lot) or Horsetooth Trailhead (Upper lot)
Most Thursdays at 6am
If you want to improve your ascent times, join us most Thursday mornings and some Tuesdays at 6am on Towers or the Horsetooth Rock trail. On Towers we jog/hike for 10-15min and then run different timed intervals between 1 and 3 minutes with 1 to 2 minute recoveries until we get to the top. If we have a mixed group of abilities, faster runners can jog their recovery time downhill to stick together with the group. On Horsetooth, we’ll jog/hike 1 mile up to the base of the steps on the Rock trail and then run a series of repeats on quarter and half mile sections. Once we finish the hill workout, we’ll jog back down the hill to cool down.
Trailhead to Trailhead Social Run
Reservoir Ridge (at the end of Michaud Lane)
Every Tuesday 6pm (If Reservoir Ridge trails are closes, we meet at Lee Martinez Park in Old Town)
A 4.7 mile loop around the ridge, with a few stops along the way to make sure no one gets left behind. After the run, we head down to the Trailhead in Old Town for 2-for-1 burgers and beers.
Thursday Social Runs
Some alternate Thursdays
Join the FCTR Facebook Group for updates.
We run a casual 5 mile loop around the Pineridge natural area with several stops along the way. There are also options to shortcut if anyone wants to run less.
Spring/Summer Trail Tempo Runs
Maxwell Parking Lot by Hughes Stadium
Some Tuesday mornings at 6am
Crank up your trail speed and improve your technical footwork with a tempo run on the Foothills Trail. We meet at 6am and then jog up the trail to the post just below Centennial. From the post everyone runs a timed tempo effort out and then back to the post. As long as everyone paces themselves evenly (which is part of the challenge on the rolling Foothills trail), we’ll all end up back at the starting post at the same time and will jog back down to the trailhead to cool down. All abilities are welcome and the more people who participate, the more fun it is to chase and be chased on the out and back.
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
Winter Road Tempo Runs
Maxwell Parking Lot by Hughes Stadium
Most Thursday mornings through the winter at 5:30am
Get the blood pumping on cold winter mornings by joining in on a hilly 10 mile road run. We meet at 5:30am and then run conversationally to the 5 mile mark on the Horsetooth Half course (Centennial Road) before turning around and coming back at a tempo-type effort. Group size varies with the weather, but there is typically a range of abilities in attendance.
Meet by the fire station in City Park just off Bryan Ave, north of Mulberry
Tuesday mornings through winter and spring at 7:15am
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 morning 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.