We developed fitness equations to get you in shape for Colorado's favorite warm-weather excursions.
—Photo by Peter Ruben Morales
If, like us, you’ve been lying dormant all winter, you’re going to need a plan to get back in shape for Colorado’s summer season. So we did our best Pythagoras impression and came up with fitness equations to prepare you for three of our state’s most popular warm-weather workouts.
Train: Make flat routes feel like Sunday strolls by bounding up hills. Denver running coach Rachel Dehner favors those in the Highland, Sun Valley, and Ruby Hill neighborhoods. After warming up, begin with a one-minute sprint up a rise and walk back down. Do between five and 12 sets, depending on how you feel.
Eat: By safely shedding excess fat through proper nutrition, runners can shave seconds off their mile times. Cut your calorie intake without feeling hungry by scarfing down lean proteins (chicken and fish) and high-fiber fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, says Steamboat Springs dietitian, nutritionist, and ultrarunner Cara Marrs.
Wear: Outdoor Voices, founded by Boulder native Tyler Haney, has a new line of jackets constructed from sweat-wicking crepe material perfect for spring’s many sprinkles.
Recover: Pressure applied to clenched muscles creates an ache-free après-run feeling. The R8 deep-tissue massage roller ($119), from Boulder’s Roll Recovery, has two racks of polyurethane wheels for hurts-so-good relief following your jaunt.
Accomplish: A respectable time at the Into the Wild Running Festival (June 4 to 5), which holds 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon races on a private sanctuary for leopards, bears, and other rescued animals. (Thankfully, they are not competitors.)
Train: Once a week, stick to big gears for a slow-pedaling, high-resistance workout. Consciously upping resistance builds the bike-specific muscles needed to take on Lookout Mountain and other signature Front Range climbs.
Eat: Cookies, of course. Skratch Labs’ new Cookie Mix offers the same nutritional value you’d get from an energy bar, but with fewer ingredients (all of them pronounceable). Add butter and eggs, as well as ingredients like dried fruit or chocolate chips, before baking. Consume for fuel during a 90-minute-plus ride.
Wear: Point 6’s Coolrado High merino-wool cycling socks keep your feet warm on crisp morning rides while still letting them breathe once you’re warmed up.
Recover: Developed by Denver trainer Ashley O’Connell, the Lokte Method restores full movement to your muscles. How? O’Connell uses the sole of her foot to apply body weight to your fasciae (if muscles were sausage, fasciae would be the casing) while you contract and release the muscles.
Accomplish: Putting your new glutes on display—sorry, dude, but that spandex ain’t hiding much—while climbing the 120-mile Triple Bypass (July 9 to 10) from Evergreen to Avon.
Do: Perfect for early season outings, Gem Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park gains 1,000 feet in 1.75 miles (one way) and thaws earlier than the rest of the park.
Eat: Jerky and other protein-rich snacks are OK for meanderers but are likely to cause stomach cramps if you’re pressing to get up the hill. Instead, try easy-to-digest carbs for fast fuel. Bobo’s Oat Bars, baked in Boulder, contain enough carbs to power an hour of hard hiking.
Wear: Fort Collins–based Akinz’s Mountain Patch trucker hat ($24) has a broad brim to protect you against searing UV rays above treeline.
Recover: Don’t wait to get home before you eat. Consume a combination of carbs and protein (like the curried chicken salad sandwich at Claire’s on the Park in Estes Park) within 30 minutes of your hike, when your body is most adept at putting calories toward repairing and rebuilding your tired legs and glutes.
Accomplish: Conquering the Castle (Trail) in Morrison. If you can summit Mt. Falcon Park’s Castle Trail, which rises 2,000 feet in 3.8 miles (one way), in a little over an hour, graduate to fourteeners.
—Photos, from top: Outdoor Voices, Roll Recovery, The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Skratch Labs, Ben Duke, Peter Ruben Morales, Bobo's Oat Bars, TandemStock