All signed up: Who should you train with in Reno/Tahoe for that upcoming running event?

Since I’m not a glorified personal trainer or running coach and everyone can enjoy the benefits of training for an upcoming run in in a one-on-one or group setting, here are some of the great running and training groups in the Reno area that may be of some interest.

Each groups provides specialized training plans depending on the distance you’re looking at running, whether that is an upcoming 10k, half marathon, or marathon.  All skill levels are welcome in these groups as well.  Therefore, you don’t need to be a conditioned runner to be included, since odds are there are people at the same level as you are.  It’s also a way to get to know the community of runners better in the Reno/Tahoe area!

Northern Sierra Endurance Training (NSET)
Photo Credit: NSET

NSET is a non-profit walking and running group based in Reno that provides training schedules, seminars, coordinated group runs and work out schedules, as well as general endurance training tips in an effort to help individuals reach their running or walking goals.

Runners are able to provide NSET with the event they are training for and the NSET coaches will make it a priority to coordinate group runs and training tailored to the best schedule for upcoming race.  It is the participant’s responsibility to register for the upcoming event and make arrangement for participating in such event, but NSET will provide a training regimen necessary to be ready if you’re looking for some structure and accountability when training.  Training for a specific event isn’t required but a specific goal in mind will help NSET coaches to provide a custom training schedule for whatever you desire.

NSET’s goal is “to achieve and maintain a healthy life style through endurance training and in the process achieve personal bests whenever possible”. They are a non-profit organization and operate only on tax deductible donations, so they aren’t out to make a buck on providing training, but rather to help people exceed in their endurance training goals and achieve overall health and satisfaction when it comes to running and walking.


EFAST provides endurance training at the next level with professionally certified coaches that have years of experience as athletes, coaches, and professionals.  Their mission is to “re-create the collegiate team environment for our athletes, who are mainly working professionals, helping them achieve competitive greatness and increased enjoyment in their day-to-day lives”.

EFAST was founded and is ran by Lauren and Ryan Evans who started the endurance-coaching hub for athletes that work full-time.  Together along with other coaches they help individuals to build endurance running strength by providing Body Circuit conditioning classes, Run Team group running sessions, individual personal training, as well as many more.  They even provide consulting on running form analysis, injury prevention training, and pacing analysis.

Their endurance fitness and scientific training courses are provided at various rates and many different packages depending on the exact type of training that is desired, but the cost is definitely well worth it as you can read from the many testimonials participants have written about the quality of training they have been given.

Endurance Reno
Endurance Reno Logo

Endurance Reno is an endurance coaching group for runners and triathletes in the Reno area specializing in training for 5k to Marathons and Sprint to Iron Man distance events.  This group, also known as the “E-team” is a diverse group of athletes that help to motivate and encourage runners through various group running team schedules and coordinated training plans.  Ranging from runners with 15 minute per mile pace, down to 5 minute per mile pace, the running groups with Endurance Reno have a lot of diversity.

They have experienced coaches that will be participating in each training session with you and provide all of the information that is needed when preparing for an upcoming event.  Pricing structure ranges from $250+ per month depending on the desired level of coaching and length of commitment.

Reno Running and Fitness
Reno Running and Fitness Logo

This group is a personalized fitness and coaching program that aims to provide personalized weekly training programs, group runs, lecture series, and other support to all levels of runners.  They provide training programs for 10k, half marathon, marathon, and beginning runner groups.  The mission of Reno Running and Fitness is “to enable all individuals to achieve their fitness goals with proper training, advice, inspiration and enthusiasm, while providing a supportive, encouraging and social environment.”  All of their training programs are created with this mission in mind and they have helped many runners achieve their running event goals.

The pricing structure for participation in group runs and individualized training programs varies by the individual event that training is tailored to, but there is also an annual membership that can be purchased if individuals just want to participate in group runs.

Again, these are just some of the great running groups to look out for if you need some extra encouragement or motivation.  Feel free to share some others that you know of or are a part of!

Photo credit

Reno 5000 Downtown River Run

Photo Credit: Dolan Auto Group
Photo Credit:
Dolan Auto Group

I hope you enjoyed the 3rd Annual Leprechaun Chase presented by Race178, if you happened to have ran it on March 15th.  I know I had a blast and it was well worth it to get up on a Sunday to get in a nice 5k run with a bunch of other peeps for a St. Patty’s day themed run.

In the spirit of amazing Spring races in Reno, I thought I would highlight another upcoming run on April 12th in downtown Reno by giving some kudos to the 2015 RENO 5000 Downtown River Run sponsored by the Dolan Auto Group.  This is another exceptional race in the Reno area that features a course starting at the Reno arch with an out-and-back along the Reno Truckee River Path (which I have highlighted in one of my previous posts).

The race is actually Race #1 in the RENO 5000 2015 Running Series and features a Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and JR 1 Mile.  Each event starts at the Reno arch with a turnaround that varies depending on the distance, but are all featured along the downtown stretch of Virginia street that showcases the “Biggest Little City”.  All participants receive finisher awards, gender specific race shirts, food, drinks and other festivities at the race expo.

I personally have only run the half marathon for this race series, but think the best part is the scenery you’re exposed to and the elevation change.  The race features some of the coolest scenery of downtown Reno as well as some of the best parts of the Truckee River, while providing a very fast course that has relatively little elevation change.  The out-and-back is pretty awesome too as you get an idea of where you’re at when you’re on your way back to the Reno arch and can put in that extra kick towards the finish.

It may be a little too late to sign up for the Marathon or Half Marathon, unless you’re one of those people always in top running form, but if you’d like to jump in for the 10k or 5k race, there is definitely still time to register.  For those that want to try out there first marathon or are looking to take it to the next level, the Downtown River Run marathon is a great fast course for first marathoners and is a Boston Qualifier!  There are also some sweet prizes for the overall male and female winners… “The male and female winners of the marathon will feel joy, like the ancient Greek courier “Philippides” once did, by the possibility of winning a $1,000 prize purse, leaf crowns and their portraits drawn and framed.”  You have to have a certain finisher time for the prizes of course, but nonetheless, the potential for winning some cash is pretty huge.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to this year’s run, but I hope everyone that does can comment and give a shout out on how amazing it is this year!  It’s a very well organized run and is definitely one of my favorites.

Rancho San Rafael Park & Evans Creek Trail

This weekend was another beauty in the Reno area with unusually warm temperatures.  In fact, the high got up to about 68 degrees, which is just a little bit ridiculous for March. However, it was a nice day for my Saturday run and I was able to get an early start, so it didn’t turn out to be too hot.

Rancho San Rafael Park
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

I decided to run a familiar route up in Rancho San Rafael Park and also run a portion of the Evans Canyon Loop.  I used to run through the park a lot and up the Evan Canyon Loop trail, but hadn’t been there in forever, so in an effort to get out of the rutt I’ve been in lately with my running routes, it was definitely time for some new scenery.   The park is a former ranch that is now a recreation area managed by Washoe County.  Some of the highlights of the park include various recreation facilities, picnic areas, a museum, botannical gardens, and a dog running area.  It is on the corner of North McCarran Blvd and Sierra Street within walking distance of the University of Nevada, Reno.

15 - 11
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

My favorite thing about the park is the fact that it incorporates so many different running/walking paths throughout the area, while also having easy accessibility to some more challenging trail runs.  The trails are accessible through a convenient tunnel that travels below  McCarran Blvd, with the Evans Creek Trail, Evans Canyon Loop, and a Nature Trail all extending into the base of the hills on the Northern side of the park.  A quick guide for all of these trails and loop trails is shown here.

Photo Credit: James Ripsom
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

I decided to make my own 5 mile route and incorporate pieces of the South Park Loop, Arboretrum Loop, Pasture Loop, Evans Creek Trail, and Evans Canyon Loop.  I recommend running through at least a portion of the Arboretrum loop, especially in the summer time, as it is a very peaceful and beautiful part of the park to run through.  It also feeds nicely into the Evans Creek trail that follows the tunnel under McCarran Blvd and north towards the Evans Canyon Loop.  This part of the run is the more challenging area as there is a pretty steep grade up the hill, but once you get there, it is well worth it to see the view of the university and downtown Reno.  I made it a little more interesting and ran all the way to the “N” too after running the entire Evans Canyon Loop trail.

15 - 10
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

In the case that you really like this area, it is also the start of the Silver State 50/50, and half marathon course.  I’ve run the half marathon race for this event in the past and I would highly recommend it if you like a challenging trail run with some good uphill and a fast downhill.

It’s also the spot for the Great Reno Balloon Race!  So you can get a run in AND see some baloons!  (what?  no way, baloons?).

Here’s a little better view of what the park looks like when everything isn’t dead… It’s a beautiful area most of the time, but comparing a late dry winter run to the view you would get during normal spring or summer conditions is probably much better.

Photo Credit: Ping Huang
Photo Credit:
Ping Huang

What’s you favorite part of the park?

Hunter Creek Trail

Photo Credit: Danny Damiani
Photo Credit:
Danny Damiani

Getting into the trail running spirit, I thought I would share one of the trails around Reno that I think is somewhat unknown but deserves a strong recommendation:  The Hunter Creek Trail.  Relatively unknown to even me until recently , the Hunter Creek trail is a beautiful 5.6 mile, out and back route at the foot of the Sierras.  From its namesake, the trail follows the slopes of Hunter Creek Canyon just on the city limits West of Reno.  It is primarily a hiking trail, but is open to anyone up to the running challenge and allows dogs and even horses.

This trail is rated as moderate to difficult for hikers.  Therefore, if you’re looking to attempt this as a first for trail running, I would probably try something else.  There is a fairly consistent climb up the first 2.2 miles of the trail, which can get some pretty fit people breathing hard when they’re just hiking it, so this is a definite “no-no” on my beginners list (if I had one).  However, taking the plunge for running it is well worth it.  It features some pretty landscapes and follows Hunter Creek making it a pleasant, but challenging route.

Getting to the trail is also pretty easy.  Taking I-80 East to the North McCarran Blvd Exit, you will go south on McCarran Blvd and make a right on Mayberrry Road.  You will then turn left on to Plateau Road, make a right on Woodchuck Drive, and follow it until it dead ends at a roundabout.  The trailhead features a decent number of parking spots (if you get there early), picnic tables, and restroom facilities.  (here’s a map if reading my directions was just painful)

Photo Credit: Reno Gazette Journal
Photo Credit:
Reno Gazette Journal

My only experience with this trail has been in the winter time.  I know, you would think there would be a ton of snow, but the trail gets a ton of sunlight throughout the day and with a convenient location close to the city (only 10 mins away from downtown) it doesn’t have the typical snow levels you would associate with the Sierras.  I also happened to have gone in the weird “70 degree” Reno winter time-frame, so there definitely wasn’t much snow at all.  I would recommend getting a pretty early start though, as I have heard it can get pretty hot during the summer months for hikers as there isn’t much shade for the first couple of miles of the trail.  Starting out early, however, the trail is shaded by the mountains, so it makes for a nice cool run early in the day.

Photo Credit: James Ripsom
Photo Credit:
James Ripsom

The best part of this trail, in my opinion, is the fact that the last 1/2 mile or so winds through a nice little area of white fir and pine trees ending at an amazing 20 foot waterfall.  The waterfall is running year round and makes the steady incline to the top that much better. It’s a great place to relax before making the 2.6 mile run back down towards the trailhead.

There aren’t a lot of cons to this trail, but it is good to know that it is pretty narrow in some areas along the slopes of the canyon and can get pretty busy.  Therefore, I will reiterate that getting an early start is the best option if you would like to run it.  There are a pretty good number of hikers that like to enjoy the trail too, so you don’t want to be that jack*** that makes people jump out of the way when you’re running down it.  Also, it is very dog-friendly, so don’t forget you puppy friends!

If you’ve done this trail or want to in the future, feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

3rd Annual Leprechaun Chase

Photo credit:  Race178
Photo credit: Race178

Last year was the first year I participated in Race 178’s Annual Leprechaun Race.  I hadn’t thought much about participating in the race before then because I focused more on running longer distances and a 10k race was probably the shortest I would normally run, but I found this 5k race to be very fun and exciting.  This year will be the 3rd Annual Leprechaun Race and it will be held on Sunday, March 15th.  I guess if I had participated a year before I could call myself a Leprechaun Race veteran, so I missed out on the fancy credentials… but oh well.  There is a bagpiper to serenade you at the start line and the event definitely presents a great St. Patrick’s day theme with tons of people in costume, music, vendors, and prizes for age group winners.

Photo Credit:  Race 178
Photo Credit: Race 178

The race is located in Midtown Reno and begins and ends at the Discovery Museum at 490 South Center Street.  The race course brilliantly showcases one of Reno’s main St. Patrick’s day celebration venues, Wells Avenue, as well as the local eateries and bars of the Midtown District.   This Midtown area of Reno has definitely boomed the past several years and it is fun to run a nice 5k course through the heart of the area to see all of the new development.

The event is given the title “Leprechaun Race” not just for a catchy race title that happens to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, but because you actually get to race a Leprechaun (a.k.a Lenny the Leprechaun) .  Well, he is not a REAL leprechaun (he was way too tall), but the cool thing here is that if you beat him, you win a prize.  *Spoiler Alert* you will win an awesome pilsner glass that you could enjoy your post race St. Patrick’s day beer in.  Therefore, there shouldn’t be any issues with motivation here if you plan to enjoy a St. Patty’s day beer anyway.

Speaking of beer, there will be a post-race beer garden at Ceol Irish Pub immediately following the race, if you want to get your St. Patrick’s day celebration started early.  The beer garden doesn’t have free beer, but you pretty much pass the celebration on your way into the finish line, so it’s just a quick walk or cool-down jog from the finish line at The Discovery Museum to your victory beer.

I hope everyone can make it there!  Feel free to share any thoughts from the event that you think will make a newbies first Leprechaun Race that much more special!

Photo credit: Race178
Photo credit: Race178

The Dog Friendly “Go-To” Run for NW Reno

To get the ball rolling on some great running ideas, I thought I would share one of my favorite “quick runs” in Reno, the Caughlin Ranch Trail.  Not to be confused with the Caughlin Ranch Hiking Trail, this running path is actually part of the paved pedestrian trails that are included within the Caughlin Ranch residential area.  There are a variety of different trails in this area, but I find the paved pedestrian paths the best for getting in a quick run on a weekday night and it’s a big plus that it is extremely dog-friendly.

Although I don’t actually live in the Caughlin Ranch neighborhood (even though that would be amazing, since it is definitely a beautiful area), it’s a short five minute drive for me.  Located at Caughlin Parkway, which is at the intersection of Plumb Lane and North McCarran Blvd in Northwest Reno, Caughlin Ranch stretches from the base of the Sierras all the way to the Truckee River.

First things first though: distance and difficulty.  I wouldn’t rate this path as very difficult, but more of one of the beautiful Caughlin Ranch at the Topplaces to run that isn’t too far out of the way. Starting at the entrance of the Caughlin Ranch residential neighborhood on Caughlin Parkway, you are able to park at Caughlin Crossing, which is the first cross street you come to.  You will immediately find signs designating the pedestrian paths.  Beginning at this spot, it is approximately 1.75 miles to the top of the paved path for a round trip run of about 3.5 miles.  It is a gradual incline to the top with a bit of a steep hill at the very end.  However, the path is amazingly well maintained and there is beautiful scenery along the way that makes you hardly notice the incline on the way up.  You are able to see most of Northwest Reno once you get to the top of the paved path, so a little victory feeling with a beautiful view is definitely the way to go.  If you are training for a long run, this route is also relatively short and incorporates some hills as well.  The distance of the run can also vary depending on whether or not you want to start at this same spot.  There are a ton of trails in this area, some merging with the Steamboat Trail or following down to the Truckee River, so it isn’t an all-encompassing option when you decide to give it a try.

Caughlin Ranch Pet Waste StationsThe best thing about the path, especially for all you dog lovers out there, is how
accommodating it is for your canine friend(s).  I mean, the trail has a nice little creek that crisscrosses throughout the duration of the path, just in case your puppy gets thirsty and there are plenty of dog waste stations.

This is particularly exciting for me, because although I’m fond of holding on to a bag of warm puppy poo while I am running, it is beyond words how nice it is to have a trash can available every 50-100 feet.  You can definitely tell that people like to keep this path nice for everyone to use and its refreshing to see how well kept it is.

If you have the chance to enjoy this quaint running path through the Caughlin Ranch area, please share below.  It would be great to hear what you have to think too!