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 http://nset1.org/

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
header21-001

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

Moms on the Run

Since I am in the spirit of race planning, there is an upcoming run that I’ve been proud to participate in every year for I don’t know how long:  The Pinnochio’s Moms on the Run. This is the 15th Annual 3k/5k walk and 5k/10k running event and is scheduled for Sunday, May 10, 2015.

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Photo Credit: Moms On The Run http://on.fb.me/19DtNXR

This event is hosted by the Pinnochio’s Moms on the Run non-profit organization in an effort to raise funds for Northern Nevada Women while in treatment for breast & gynecological cancers.  It takes place on Mother’s Day, of course, and gives everyone a chance to not only support fundraising for women with cancer, but all of the moms out there.  I have been lucky to participate with my mom, aunt, grandma… you name it, and this event is a great way to get the family together for some exercise and kick off Mother’s day the right way.  Before loading up on food at the Mother’s day brunch, you might as well get started guilt free.  It’s also a great way come out and show support for a good cause and share a good time with family.

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Photo Credit: Moms On The Run http://on.fb.me/1MrOuIt

There are a variety of events to choose from including a 10k run, 5k run, 3k/5k Walk n Talk, the Bon Bon Stroll, and ¼ Mile Kidlet’s Race.  Therefore, you have the opportunity to run competitively, take a walk and chat with family, or let the kids get some energy out in a fun ¼ mile race.  All of the races start and finish on Foster Drive in front of the Reno High School Track with a looped course for each.  Some nice refreshments are available for all race participants at the end of the events as well and “surprise”…mom’s even receive a special rose at the finish line!

I’ve typically participated in the 10k race for this event and enjoy the course that follows through some of the Old Southwest Reno neighborhoods, Idlewild Park, and next to Reno High School.  There is a pretty fast course, so if you’re looking to get a good 10k time, or just want to feel good about all of your spring dieting and workouts in preparation for swimsuit season, I would encourage participating in this one.  It’s also exciting to see all of the families come out and celebrate Mother’s Day with some fun running or walking and just enjoy some nice Spring weather.

Photo Credit: Moms on the Run http://bit.ly/1EXmeE2
Photo Credit:
Moms on the Run
http://bit.ly/1EXmeE2

Even if you can’t be there to celebrate it with your Mom, it’s a great way to show some support and give a shout out to all the Mom’s out there.

Hope to see you there!

Here is a link to register

Fall Marathon Planning: The Lake Tahoe Marathon

With the Reno 5000 Downtown River Run kicking off in 2 weeks on April 12th, it brings to mind some of the upcoming marathons and half marathons in the area this year, and what could potentially be a good run to plan for this summer/fall.  It is obviously a little too late to sign up for a spring Marathon or Half Marathon (unless you’re in epic shape), but you can definitely take advantage of planning now with enough time to be ready for a race by September-October. According to Hal Higdon marathon and half marathon training plans, it takes approximately 30 weeks to properly train for a marathon if you are brand new to long distance running.  An 18 week training plan is more of the norm for a marathon if you’ve had some experience running before.   Nonetheless, it is probably the perfect time to start getting ready for a nice long distance race coming up this fall.   Therefore, I thought I would highlight one of my favorites.

The Lake Tahoe Marathon
October 9-11, 2015 Lake Tahoe, CA/NV
Event includes:  Marathon, Ultra Marathon, 18 Miler, Relays, several Half Marathons, 10k, 5k and many, many others.

Photo Credit: Steve Dunleavy http://bit.ly/19jWycg
Photo Credit:
Steve Dunleavy
http://bit.ly/19jWycg

The Lake Tahoe Marathon Weekend of Events has a 3 day resume of running events ranging from a 72 Mile Ultra Marathon or the  classic Lake Tahoe Sunday Marathon, to a variety of half marathon courses offered each day of the event weekend.  In total, there are approximately 30+ events jam-packed into the fall weekend-of-fun at Lake Tahoe, making it a perfect event for all running skill levels.  Each race showcases the beauty of Lake Tahoe and with the extensive variety of events you can find the right race just for you.

Photo Credit: Lake Tahoe Marathon www.laketahoemarathon.com
Photo Credit:
Lake Tahoe Marathon
http://www.laketahoemarathon.com

If you’re looking to train for a marathon, I recommend running the Sunday Lake Tahoe Full Marathon as this is probably my favorite run of the weekend and is essentially the main event for marathons.  The race gives you the opportunity to soak in some of the best views of the West shores of Lake Tahoe, with Homewood Ski Resort, Emerald Bay, Pope Beach, Mt. Tallac, and South Lake Tahoe all featured on the marathon course.  The race provides a challenging, yet beautiful run and the trek up to, and out of, Emerald Bay is definitely a little difficult, but well worth it when you see some of the views.

Lake Tahoe Marathon - View of Emerald Bay Photo Credit: www.laketahoemarathon.com/
Lake Tahoe Marathon – View of Emerald Bay
Photo Credit:
http://www.laketahoemarathon.com/

There are also several different half marathon races offered as part of the weekend event if you’re looking to train for a long distance run, but a marathon sounds a little daunting for you at this point.  The half marathon races offered include the Emerald Bay Half Marathon, Cal-Neva Half Marathon, and Nevada Half Marathon.  Each course provides excellent views of Lake Tahoe and varies in difficulty based on the starting point.  You can sign up for a half marathon on each day and make it the Tahoe Trifecta if you’re feeling really ambitious.

All of the races offer a unique finishers medal and are about 28 weeks away, leaving you plenty of time to get in shape, even if it is your first marathon or half marathon.  The Lake Tahoe Marathon was my first marathon and provides a really great experience, so I am definitely a supporter of this race!  If you now feel inspired to sign up, you can register here.

Photo Credit: Run Tahoe http://on.fb.me/1GF1XHX
Photo Credit:
Run Tahoe
http://on.fb.me/1GF1XHX

Feel free to comment and share whether these events sound interesting to you!  I’d love some feedback.

Reno 5000 Downtown River Run

Photo Credit: Dolan Auto Group http://bit.ly/1CxkzYR
Photo Credit:
Dolan Auto Group
http://bit.ly/1CxkzYR

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.

Race Sponsorship in the Biggest Little City

If you have ever run in an organized running event, you will notice there are typically company logos plastered across the back of your commemorative event t-shirt.   Although most consider this to just be a way for a company to slap their logo on an event, there is much more behind-the-scene details that play into running event sponsorship.  So, with that in mind, I thought I would dive into what race sponsorship contributes to both runners as well as businesses and the impact that can be made in Reno’s “Biggest Little” community.

Photo Credit: Danny Damiani http://bit.ly/1EIECWe
Photo Credit:
Danny Damiani
http://bit.ly/1EIECWe

Race sponsorship at a glance:

For Runners:

Safety:  All of the road closures, traffic enforcement, water and first aid stations, and on-site medical personnel are not free.  However, these are some of the most crucial components of a running event.  There may be a race fee that you pay to participate, but it certainly doesn’t cover all of the costs for these essential items.  Hence, sponsors are the “sugar daddies” of running events and what help make all of these things possible.   Without sponsors, there probably wouldn’t be any runner safety, and ultimately, no race to run.

Exposure:  If you like the free food samples you get when walking the aisles at Costco, you’re going to like a running event.  Well, I guess it’s not that simple, but sponsors help runners get a taste of the products they are offering.  Providing free samples at the event expo, as part of a runner’s race packet, or even at the finish line is a quick way for runners to know what a company is about.  Take Nature’s Bakery for example, I didn’t know who they were until I saw them offering out samples of fig bars at the Downtown River Run.  But now I’m hooked.

Fun:  The contributions received by sponsors effectively allows for the resources to run a well-organized event.  You don’t realize how much you appreciate an event is that is well-organized, on time, and properly planned until you’ve had the unbearable experience of participating in an event that isn’t.  Having only one porta-potty for a 1,000 runners, having a delayed start after you’ve already warmed up, or getting an incorrectly posted race time are just a few examples that make runners never come back.  All of these things can be effectively eliminated with the proper resources that sponsors provide and, as a result, providing runners with a FUN race.

For Businesses:

Return:  By promoting your business, you’re increasing potential for future returns.  The running community is big in the Reno area and with 1,000’s of runners participating in most events, it’s easy to reach a lot of potential customers at one time.

Reputation:  When considering reach and promotion of your company, especially in a booming startup community such as Reno, you should be looking to increase your business in return for the exposure that the running event provides you.  However, you’re also participating in the experience that runners are getting.  Therefore, sponsoring well-organized events such as the Downtown River Run or the Leprechaun Race, help to associate your company brand with a positive experience.  Runners by default will think of your company in the same positive manner they do with the event they participate in, which boosts company reputation.

The Reno and Lake Tahoe area is widely beginning to be considered a mecca for new businesses and growth.  The area has long been known for its beauty with the outdoor activities and fitness opportunities it provides; therefore, bridging the gap between the area’s businesses and the fitness community seems advantageous in many respects.

If you’re a new business owner in the area, I strongly suggest considering sponsorship of a running event as part of your marketing plan.

The Reno Tahoe Odyssey

I know I’ve commented on this relay race before in some of my earlier posts, so I figure I might give a quick recap on how awesome, exciting, and fun it is and why you should do it.

First off, The Reno Tahoe Odyssey (RTO) is a relay run on a 178 mile course around the Reno-Tahoe region.  It is the product of and premier running event of Race178, a local professional race production company headquartered in Reno, NV that was founded by Eric Lerude in 2005 during the inaugural RTO.  Since then, it has evolved to produce a variety of races throughout the Reno area and has successfully turned the RTO into one of the premier running events in Northern Nevada & California.

The structure of the relay typically consists of 12 runners running 3 legs each for a total of 36 segments in the 178 mile course.  Teams can and do have less than 12 runners, as I’ve witnessed both Juan De Oliva, a solo runner, and Charlie & Daniel Anderson, a team of two brothers, complete the course.  The course is pretty challenging just running 3 legs with the typical 12 runner structure, so witnessing and (in some parts) running by these guys was pretty amazing.

Photo Credit: Reno Gazette Journal http://on.rgj.com/1F6w5v0
Photo Credit: Reno Gazette Journal
http://on.rgj.com/1F6w5v0

The course begins at Wingfield Park, an island park in the middle of the Truckee river in downtown Reno, which is also home to Reno’s Whitewater Park.  The loop course travels along the Truckee River towards Verdi and Truckee, making its way to the West shore of Lake Tahoe.  Runners then travel around the lake and down through part of the Carson City Valley, through the State’s capitol and historic Viriginia City back down into Reno.  The end of the course comes back through downtown Reno with a final finish in Reno’s Idlewild park for a post-race festival.  The race spans two days given the distance traveled and by the end of the race, a beer at the Finish Line Festival couldn’t sound much better.  There are also tons of food trucks, entertainment, and people to cheer you on at the festival, so the last push towards the finish line with your whole team feels even better.

RTO MAP

The main premise of this run is to have fun.  From personal experience, most runners are not there to be absolutely competitive but to have a blast with friends, family, or co-workers.  Prizes are even offered to teams with the most spirit, best costumes, best team name, and best van decorations, among others.  This type of attitude is encouraged throughout the course with themed parties at exchange points and a bunch of other celebration shenanigans along the way.  Teams of all ages, backgrounds, and locations participate in the relay and you can sort of feel the excitement from everyone while you’re there.  Costumes and team themes are encouraged, so be prepared for a little bit of craziness and definitely some laughs.

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RTO 2014 – Eclectic Company at Virginia City exchange

I’ve had the pleasure of running with Eric Lerude in the past and you can tell he is really passionate about hosting each event produced by Race178.  It is even more noticeable in the way each run is organized, promoted, and run.  Therefore, I would highly encourage running this premier event that is offered in Reno and Lake Tahoe.

The 2015 relay is sadly already sold out since registration fills up fast each year, but you can still come down and support the runners on May 29-30, 2015 or even sign up as a volunteer.  Click here for volunteer sign ups or just cheer on some runners!

Why you should sign up for a running event

So, as I’m encouraging others to experience the various running events in and around the Reno Tahoe area, I’ve started to think to myself… why would you want to participate in a running event?  I mean, what motivates somebody to go out and run a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or even marathon?  Here is a quick rundown of some of the the reasons I participate in running events:

Photo Credit: CafePress http://bit.ly/1GlKMZr
Photo Credit:
CafePress
http://bit.ly/1GlKMZr

1. Motivation:  This may be true for others too, but if I am signed up for a run that I know is a few weeks down the road, I’m going to make sure I run so I’m ready for it.  If I’m not signed up for a run, even if it is just a 5k, I will let myself slack off and get out of shape.  I also don’t want to be that guy out there running who looks like he just hopped off the couch to run the race and needs someone to carry him to get water at the finish line.

2. Fat:  You’re going to lose it, which is typically a good thing.  Going hand in hand with the motivation deal is losing weight.  If I’m running constantly, I’m losing any unwanted pounds and overall, that just makes me a happy guy.  I also get to eat more and not feel guilty.

3.  Friends:  Believe it or not, you can meet a ton of cool people when you go out and run a race.  Everyone is out there doing the same run at the same time, and probably for some of the same reasons you are.  Most people at an event don’t care if you just started running or have been running your whole life, therefore you’re going to walk away with some type of encouragement, because that’s what it’s all about.  Whether it’s a high five or a slap on the booty, it just feels good.

If you want to get some really good friends, run a relay.  Nothing makes you get to know a person better than being stuck in a cramped van, sweaty, tired, and smelly.  I’ve met tons of people the day of a relay event and walked away knowing more about them than I probably would have ever cared to.  Running makes friends, relays make good friends.  Give it a try.

4.  Swag:  When you participate in a running event, you have the opportunity to get some cool s***.   I probably have TOO many running shirts for each of the races I’ve done, but I still get giddy to see what new one they’re going to give out.  Sometimes, even now, I run a race just for the simple reason that I know I’m going to get some good FREE stuff at the race expo the day before.  Even more so if I’m looking to add to my collection of running medals.  This next weekend, I’m stoked for the Leprechaun Race in Midtown Reno because it’s an amazing 5k run, but I’m even more excited for the awesome Pilsner glass I will get when I beat the Leprechaun.  So the point here is, running swag is cool, it’s better when it’s free, and the best if you can poor beer into it.

Reno Tahoe Odyssey Relay Medal Photo Credit: VisitRenoTahoe.com
Reno Tahoe Odyssey Relay Medal
Photo Credit:
http://bit.ly/1HrjuCa

5.  Fundraising:  You have the chance to support a worthy cause when you sign up for a running event.  Whether you’re participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k to support breast cancer or the Spring Forward for Autism 5k to support autism research, you know you’re out there helping a cause.  So you’re doing something for yourself while doing something for others…. double bonus if you ask me.

6.  Stress Management:  I love running because it gives me some time to think about something else than the normal daily struggles of life.  I tend to zone out when I’m overwhelmed anyway, so running is a good technique for me.  If I’m signed up for a race, it’s even better because I have a goal to work for other than the usual stuff I have to deal with.

These are just some of the reasons I participate in running events, but it’s definitely unique for everyone.  Feel free to comment and share yours too.

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.

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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.

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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 http://www.panoramio.com/photo/38486738
Photo Credit:
Ping Huang
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/38486738

What’s you favorite part of the park?

Hunter Creek Trail

Photo Credit: Danny Damiani http://dannydamiani.com/hunter-creek-trail/
Photo Credit:
Danny Damiani
http://dannydamiani.com/hunter-creek-trail/

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 http://on.rgj.com/1zTU6Qj
Photo Credit:
Reno Gazette Journal
http://on.rgj.com/1zTU6Qj

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!

Virginia Lake Loop Trail

I’m pretty sure my comments about there not being snow last week prompted a nice little storm that rolled in last night.  Therefore, I’m ecstatic, but my tentative plans for a trail run this weekend fell through and I decided to run a nice easy in-town route at Virginia Lake.

Photo Credit: James Anderson http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5503346
Photo Credit:
James Anderson
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5503346

First, a little background on Virginia Lake.  The lake is located in the middle of Reno, and was initially constructed in the 1930’s for the purpose of being a recreational lake.  It is about 12 feet deep when it is full and covers roughly 24.5 acres.  It’s primary purpose when constructed was for fishing and it is still stalked annually with Rainbow Trout.  Therefore, you usually will see some people fishing along the banks or the more common than not… bird population.  Managed by the City of Reno and designated as Virginia Lake Park, it is known for “lunchtime strolling, walking the dog, bird watching…” and of course, running.  It also includes a nice dog park and playground for children at the Southwest Corner of the lake as well as a fitness area at the most northern point.

Virginia Lake The trail loop used for running around the lake is exactly 1 mile long, which keeps it nice for tracking distance if you don’t feel like carrying your phone.  I typically start at the north end of the lake as there is a decent size parking lot located next to the fitness area, but you can pretty much park anywhere around the lake right next to the running path.  It is a nice easy loop for running and probably the best on a sunny summer day.  I typically see a bunch of people walking their dogs, feeding the birds, or jogging around when I’m there.  Today, however, it was snowing, so I felt like I had it all to myself.

This route is also another gem in Reno that you run by during the Reno Tahoe Odyssey relay.  In fact the last leg of the relay runs along the west side of the lake on the way towards the finish line.  It’s pretty nice when you reach this part of the final leg, since you know you’re almost done and you get to enjoy a little bit of Reno as you run by the birds.

Check out a map of the area here.

Make sure you check this one out, even if it is just for a stroll at lunch.  Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you like about it!