Best Running Routes- Denver, Colorado

robin mainDr. Robin Yamaguma, Pediatric Dentist

What city do you live in?  Denver, CO
What motivates you to run? I love the feeling I get during and after a run….especially a run on the trails.  I’ve also set up a personal goal for myself (that I made public on my Instagram account) to run at least a marathon distance in all 50 states, so that is a huge motivator.  Right now I’ve done 11 out of 50 states, so I’ve got a long ways to go!
Please share your playlist with us.  I do not listen to music while I run for safety purposes.  I like to be aware of my surroundings as a solo female runner.  I also run on the trails a lot, so I want to be able to hear other runners/hikers/mountain bikers up ahead or coming from behind me.  We also have coyotes, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and bears in Colorado, so I want to be able to hear any signs of them nearby while I am out running.
What are your favorite routes for 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles, and long runs? The South robin1Platte River trail, the Cherry Creek bike path, or the Highline Canal trail are great trails for long runs.  All these trails are relatively flat and wide.  The South Platte River trail runs south from downtown Denver for 19 miles.  The Cherry Creek bike path is a 42 mile paved path that goes south from Downtown Denver to Franktown.  The Highline Canal trail is a crushed gravel/dirt trail that runs for 71 miles from Aurora to Highlands Ranch.  All these paths are great for any distance run you want to do.  My favorite, close to home, trail for a shorter run is at the Bluffs Regional Park.  It is a 2.7 mile loop with 2 spurs that will take your distance to just over 3 miles.  This trail is well trafficked and gives you some nice hills and great views of the foothills and mountains. Another great close-to-home trail is at South Valley Park.  It is less hilly, has great red rock formations throughout the park, and the shorter loop trail is about 3 miles.  I also love running at Cherry Creek State Park because it is so close to home and has both paved and dirt trails.
What do you eat before a big race?  I always have a cup of black coffee, lots of water, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before a long run or race.
What are 5 tips you would give beginning runners?  
1. Start slow and walk if you need to.  When I first started running, I smoked cigarettes and couldn’t even run a city block without needing to walk.  I kept at it and within 2 years, I quit smoking and finished my first marathon.
2. Do not compare yourself with others.  This is not fair to yourself and can quickly discourage you.
3. Celebrate the small victories, like running one block without stopping, finishing your first race no matter what the finishing time was, getting a new PR, etc.
4. Don’t forget your self care, like foam rolling, stretching, getting a massage, and epson salt baths.
5. Have fun!  It’s easy to burn out on running, so I always try to make it fun for myself.  I occasionally run with a run club, which is a great way to meet new people. I have a few good running buddies who will push my pace, but will also provide great conversation to make the miles fly by.  Try new trails that will challenge you.  Enter a race to do just for fun, like a mud run!
robin2What are your top tips to completing a half marathon and marathon? 
1. Train properly to avoid injury and boost your confidence during the race because you know that you can do those long runs.
2. Think of food as fuel for your body and fuel during your long training runs and during the races.  I’ve let myself bonk out during long runs because I was feeling great and didn’t fuel when I should have, then I paid for it and playing catch up is hard.  I usually will eat a few shot blocks or Honey Stinger gummies at 1 hour into my long run, and then every 45 minutes after that, even if my energy levels are up and I am feeling great.
3. Do not skip your rest days.  Rest days are important for muscle recovery and life balance.
4. Overcome any fear you may have of porta-potties.  As a distance runner, you will become very familiar with them!
5. Bring toilet paper with you on long runs and to races.  As your runs get longer, many people’s GI tracts get funkier and people get the runner’s trots.  Many times park restrooms or porta-potties are out of toilet paper, so having your own will come in handy!
6. And again, HAVE FUN!  When doing a 13.1 or a 26.2, high five the little kids along the course, shoot the cameraman a cheesy smile, and genuinely thank the volunteers and policmen who are helping make the event possible.  Expressing your gratitude during the race makes it much more fun and enjoyable!
Follow on instagram: @robin_808
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