I had the fortunate opportunity to visit Boulder, CO this past week and had a great time. The weather is Boulder is quite perfect compared to most places in the US. Low humidity, warm temperatures, and almost always a sunny sky make for a great vacation spot. It was in the 90's most days, but I did not notice the heat because there is such low humidity. It was in the mid-60's to low 70's when I went running most mornings, and I was surprised I did not get very sweaty or hot. I am often drenched in those same temperatures when there is high humidity. Even so, I drank lots of water to stay hydrated due to the lack of moisture in the air.
In addition to humidity, altitude is another factor in Boulder. Boulder is at about 5,500 feet above sea level, so I was expecting more of a challenge with my breathing during exercise. I noticed it occasionally at the top of big hills or harder efforts, but otherwise I did not have any shortness of breath. I focused on running by effort and not by pace, but my paces ended up being the same as what they are usually. Your response to the elevation difference can very depending on your fitness level, but it certainly is not as big of a deal in Boulder when compared to visiting a higher locations such as Flagstaff, AZ or Park City, UT at around 7,000 feet. Even more dramatic is Leadville, CO and Breckenridge, CO at around 10,000 feet. Training at altitude can be beneficial for athletes, and it explains why so many professionals and elites live or spend months prepping before big events at high elevations. When an athlete moves from high altitude with little oxygen availability down to sea level with oxygen rich air, it can allow the athlete to have improved performance.
Needless to say, Boulder is a hot spot for runners and triathletes. There are endless places to run in Boulder. I chose two areas shown in the maps below. They were a perfect mix of paved and dirt trails with rolling hills. The first was in North West Boulder with open fields and mountain views.
The second was along the Boulder Creek Path and Trail. We also revisited this route later that day via bikes we rented. The path/trail follows a creek and winds up through a canyon. It was definitely more crowed later in the day, but there were less people once you got out of town a bit. The elevation is all uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back - about 500 feet (going to and from 5,300 to 5,800).
While you can run, walk, bike, or hike pretty much everywhere in Boulder, there are lots of other adventures as well. We went to the Boulder Reservoir for paddle boarding and tried a Mirage Eclipse. It's a paddle board with pedals and a handlebar for steering. Highly recommended to anyone who can get access to one! For something more restful, there is also a downtown Farmer's Market twice a week, Pearl Street for shopping, Celestial Seasonings for tea lovers, and lots of yummy eats including several Whole Foods for groceries.
It was a busy few days of family, adventures, and plane rides. Always remember to listen to your body when training while traveling. There can be extra stress on your body when you don't have the comforts and routines of home, so taking a recovery week with an extra day off might be what your body needs to stay on track.