The Big 5 – Must Do Trail Races

March 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Product Reviews

By Coach Lora Erickson,

Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful mountains of Utah. There are some well-organized races out there, so let’s explore some top 5 must-run trail races.

Park City Trail Series 2017

June 10 – 5K, July 8 – 10K, Aug. 12 – 15 K, Sept. 16 – 13.1

Round Valley Trails – Park City, Utah

If you are a new trail runner, the Park City Trail Series is a great 4-race series for you. The series consists of a 5k, 10k, 15k, and 13.1 mile events taking place on the Round Valley Trails in Park City, Utah. This trail is gentler than other races and is perfect for the beginner. Or if you are a more advanced runner that wants a faster, well-marked course and regularly placed aid stations this is a race series you will want to check out. Starting in June and ending in September, you run a series of increasing longer races once a month; Perfectly spaced for training adaption and offering a great break from city blocks through the beauties of nature. Each race features a Park City Trail Series signature pint glass with a native animal logo as a reminder that nature isn’t far away!  The series is limited to 500 runners.

Xterra Utah 2017

Sept. 16-17 – Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah

Speaking from experience, I can tell you the Xterra events are well-organized with challenging terrain. Not only do they run through some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern Utah but they are the home of the Pan American Off-Road Triathlon Championships and Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run National Championships 21K.  Runners of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate as there is no qualification process.  Other distances are also available to enjoy including a 5K &10K.  Last year over 500 trail runners from 30 different states participated.

Every age-group winner from the 21K course will be awarded a free entry to the 2017 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii. The top five overall male and female athletes will also receive prize money. Medals and prizes will be given out to top age-groups from all distances.

North Face Endurance Challenge 2017

Sept. 23 – 14 – Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

If you are looking for a trail challenge with significate elevation gain, you’ve found it. The North Face Endurance Challenge Series starts at 7,000 feet and climbs to a height of 10,000 feet. Tour the beautiful and rugged terrain of the Wasatch Mountain Range and navigate your way around the world-renowned ski resort through a mix of single and double track running and mountain biking trials and dirt access roads. As stated on the website “Bring your lungs and legs and be prepared to be awestruck.”

Peak Series by Discrete 2017

June 24 – Deer Valley, Utah, July 15 – Alta Ski Area, Utah, July 29 – A-Basin, CO, Aug 12 – Alyeska, AK, Aug 26 – Snowbird, Utah

I love the description of the race on the website: “In true Discrete style, the Peak Series is redefining what mountain running is all about. Starting from the base of a world-famous ski resort, you’ll rally up windswept ridges and glacial cirques to towering peaks, power down a quad-burning descent, and break the tape into a festival of live music, food, drink, and vendor tents. The elevation is serious but the mileage is manageable, and the race is as hardcore as you want it to be–beat the pros down to earn legend status and cash prizes, or enjoy the views and let the challenge be its own reward.”

This looks like a great series of events in many different places and also offers prize money. The Peak Series kicks off at Deer Valley Resort where runners will be treated to views of Park City, Heber, Jordanelle State Park, before descending back to the vendor village, complete with music, food, beverage, and announcer to root your fellow competitors though the finish area.  The series returns later in the summer to Alta in July and again in the full at the beautiful Snowbird Ski Resort.

Moab Trail Marathon

November 4 & 5, 2017 – Moab Utah

The first Moab Trail Marathon started in 2008 and has been the USA Championships Trail Marathon for the last 5 years. If you are a trail-lover, you won’t want to miss the amazing scenery of this race!  It offers a marathon, half marathon as well as an adventure 5K and even a kids K, so there is something for the whole family.  I have heard great things about the race with its friendly and fun vibe bringing together 1800 trail runners each Fall.  The course is well marked and even has a band that plays at the start.  It’s really a celebration catering the recreational joggers and elite runners alike.  Join in the camaraderie of the race and catch the spirit of trail running with canyon-country scenery.

Happy Trails,

Coach Lora

Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete placing top 5% in the world in her triathlon division.  Lora comes from a running background and was recruited from Colorado to run for University and Utah & Utah State University where she finished up her degree in Community Health Education with duel minors in Chemistry and Nutrition.  Coach Lora is a certified running, cycling and swimming coach and has been coaching for over 25 year. She has a true passion for health promotion especially loves to work with beginners.  To learn more visit

New Profile Design Aerobar Pads

March 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Product Reviews

If you are like me you have been using your TT bike for a while now (like 4-5 years now) and I’ve ridden lots of miles in my aerobars.  By this time my pads have worn now and my elbows can feel it.  I guess it’s time for some new pads.  Here’s some I found on-line that I hope will work well for me.


Best Deal on Nose Plugs for Swimming

March 3, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews

So after the difficult time I had in the water last year at Oceanside 70.3 with all the salt water that got in my sinuses I realized that I needed to swim with a nose plug.  Since then I have been trying different nose plugs to see which one is the most comfortable.  I have found a great deal on my favorite ones so I wanted to share it with you (click the picture below).  Contact me if you need help with training.

Happy Swimming,

Coach Lora Erickson

Yipee! 25% off the enso roller

March 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Product Reviews

Wahoo! I am so excited. I’ve got an on-line code for my favorite enso roller. Just visit their website and plug in the code BlondeRunner17 at checkout for 25% off and free shipping! Learn more:
Great roller!  Check out the video clip below and contact me if you want to learn how to use it.
Coach Lora Erickson

Discount Code for the Utah Healthy Food Expo

February 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews

Use the code “blonde” to save 50% on tickets to the Healthy Food Expo on June 10th. Come watch my presentation. I’d love to see you there! (20 use limit – get your tickets today)

On Hill Events Discount Code

February 8, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

Local events are the best!  This is what keep the triathlon and running community connected.  Join in the fun and creative events put on by

Use code BLDRUN15 for 15% off all the 2017 races.  Feel free to share with a friend!  Hope to see you at the races!

Coach Lora Erickson

Win a Spot in the TriathaMOM event

February 1, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

This is such an exciting way to support Mom’s. I will be offering a triathlon clinic for this event. Message to learn more. Join the fun!
Coach Lora Erickson
Can’t wait to sign-up? Use the code “blonde” to save $10. Click to get registered for the Triathamom event

Coach Lora Erickson on Good Things Utah with Michelle Money

January 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews

Come join the fun.  Use the code blonderunnerslc17 to save 20% off.  Prices go up Feb. 4th. Great events!


Winter Running Challenges


By Lora Erickson,

Winter can pose many additional challenges for runners. Poor air quality and cold temperature can drive asthmatic runners indoors or to travel to higher elevations to get out of the inversion.  Obviously breathing bad air can pose health risks so it’s important to check and see if levels are safe to exercise in.  To check air quality in your area visit Some people opt to run outdoor with masks however often complain of having a hard time getting enough air exchange and the condensation in the mask can be annoying.  I suggest taking the workout indoors if the air quality is bad.  Treadmills can have many benefits this time of year.  Not only do they provide a more giving surface and they obviously don’t have the concerns of slipping. It’s convenient and allows bathroom breaks if needed.  It is also easy to set a pace and just hold that pace on the treadmill.  While it can feel like a “hamster wheel” to some it offers safety from traffic and can be done any time of day or night.  I know many young mothers with small children that utilize a treadmill extensively; however, I often caution them when they start running outdoors more in the spring to do it gradually to allow the body time to adapt to harder surfaces.

If you really struggle with indoor or “dreadmill” running, I suggest cross-training on bad air quality days. Indoor cycling and swimming can have many benefits for runners and challenge the body in different ways.  I always like to suggest yoga for my runners and triathletes as well.  This is great for recovery and flexibility.  Don’t be afraid to utilize the snow for other fitness activities; like cross-country skiing or snow shoeing.  These are all great aerobic workouts to supplement the training.  It can also prevent burnout or keep you active if you tend to not to want to run in the snow.

While exercising outside on better air quality days I suggest dressing in layers. As your body warms-up you can remove layers to control temperature.  I often see runners wearing too many layers so usually in 20 degree temps I wear two layers on the top, earwarmers, gloves or mittens (sometimes with hand warmers) and tights.  If it’s snowing I also suggest a hat or visor so you don’t “blink” yourself to death.  Surprisingly, I often wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun’s bright reflection off the snow.  Glasses can also block the wind from making the eyes water and tears from dripping down the lacrimal ducts causing your nose to run. This can be annoying and lead you to wiping your nose excessively.

Often while running outdoors the feet can get wet and cold and there are concerns of slipping. For this I would suggest running in trail shoes that have more traction and are generally more water proof.  I also like to use a water-proof spray on my shoes and clothes.  If you can stay dry you won’t lose as much heat.  Short gators can also prevent snow from getting in your shoes and melting.  If you are concerned about black ice and slippery surfaces you might consider using yaktrax, IceTrekkers, or Kahtoola MicroSpikes.  They can all be found at Wasatch Running Center or a local running store in your area.

If you are like me and it takes you a while to warm-up in cold temperatures but you don’t like to be stuck indoors, I would suggest warming up on a treadmill or indoor exercise bike then take the run outside. Remember running on slick snowy surfaces isn’t going to be as fast as you can go on a treadmill but it’s still a great workout.  If you usually train by pace I would suggest using heart rate numbers to train with during the winter.  Contact me if you need more training tips.

Another outdoor concern is traffic safety. I often find myself winding back and forth from the sidewalk to the street to avoid really deep snow or icy patches.  As always be aware of your surroundings and assume cars don’t see you.  I also suggest running against traffic, wearing bright colors with reflexive strips, blinking lights or utilize the Tracer 360 visibility vest ( 20% off with code BLONDERUN) which can be seen from all directions.  I don’t use music as much in the winter so I can hear my surroundings better and stay safe.  It is also helpful to train with others as a group since you are  much more visible to traffic.

Either way, whether you plan to workout indoors or outdoors don’t let anything get in your way. Yes, winter can make it more challenging to get the workouts in but if you want the rewards you have to do the work.  No excuses.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

About the Author:

Coach Lora Erickson is a nationally ranked and All-World Triathlete as well as certified running, triathlon, swimming, and cycling instructor. She has a true passion for nutrition education, fitness & health promotion and has been coaching for over 25 years. She works with all level of athletes and relishing the opportunity to help beginners harness their true potential.  She offers community classes, in-person and on-line custom coaching.  To learn more contact her directly at or visit to read health articles. 

Local Race Discounts:

April Salt Lake Marathon- blonderunnerslc17 for 20% off any event. Get Registered:

Utah Valley Marathon – br15 for 15% off any event.  Get Registered:

Looking for a great Utah Race Calendar?

If you are looking for a great running race calendar for Utah I highly suggest checking out 

It’s a great resource!

Happy Running,

Coach Lora Erickson

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