Friday, October 11, 2013

Running Programs, Schedules, and training guides for 5K's, 10K's, Halfs, and Marathons

Becoming a Racing Runner
Tips, Running Programs, and Schedules for :
Half Marathons
Full Marathons

A lot of my friends have caught the running bug and have been asking me about my favorite pacing programs or running websites.

Doing some research on my own has led me to feel slightly overwhelmed, SO I figured I'd make some what of a running " bank" of websites on this post of running plans that I think are good for many, many races out there whether it be a 5K, 10K, etc etc and whether you're beginning or want to break a personal record with a upcoming race.  

All of these programs can be printed out, don't require money, and are pretty easy to follow, which is why I've included them in my post. So many can be overwhelming and some websites even make you pay for their program. These are basic and can be tailored to your level!

Now I don't call myself an expert at ALL, I just know that If I could have everything in one place, I would appreciate it goes!

A great website to look up races in your area

Also google the name of your city and insert running club afterwards. A LOT of cities now have their own running club facebook group or website that post upcoming events in the local area.

Some trips and tricks I've learned along the way!

  1. Signing up for a race is probably the best running motivator. When you're putting in the hours of running, if you have that race in the back of your head pushing you, you're a lot less likely to make excuses for reasons why you shouldn't run that day.
  2. Fine a runny buddy or a club. I have more motivation to run, and I run more frequently, if I know someone is counting on me to show up or help them as well.
  3. Make sure you have decent equipment! I'm not telling you to go out and buy $200 shoes, but if you injure your feet because you skimped on some shoes, you've pretty much trained for nothing. Go to a sports store (not Walmart) and find some adequate shoes that are made for the purpose of running. (FYI, some have to go up a 1/2 of size or a full size due to swelling after running. Losing a toenail due to tight shoes is NOT fun)
  4. Start slow! If you've only ran once a month, don't plan to do a marathon in 4 weeks! Pace your time out. The last thing you want to do is sign up for a race and want to train so fast you injure yourself. You're out all the money and possibly for quite some time.
  5. Make your first races FUN!! The reason why I listed SO many of the Disney races is because I LOVE them. I knew I wasn't going to be fast, so why push myself through 26.2 miles in a race where I would be miserable. The Disney races are AMAZING novice races. They only have a pace requirement of 16 minutes per mile (you can WALK faster than 16 minutes per mile). It's very organized AND you get to run through the Disney park and meet the characters. I did my first half AND my first full marathon at a Disney race. I wasn't too worried about my times, I just wanted to have fun, which of course I did! So, pick a race you will enjoy for your first long distance race, whether it be the Disney's, the Rock and Roll, or a very scenic race like Los Angeles. :) 

5K TRAINING ( 3.1 Miles) or Beginning running training

I really liked this website, It has a great, straightforward information

This is a very simple program designed for those who are new to running and would like to participate in their first 5K.

Hal Higdon's website (which I will be referencing a lot) is one of my FAVORITE websites. Not only does he give you running schedules, he gives you multiple schedules for each race depending what your goal is .

His 5K training includes plans for the following:

Novice Training for your first 5K
This is an eight-week training schedule to help get you to the finish line. It assumes that you have no major health problems, are in reasonably good shape, and have done at least some jogging or walking.

you probably are not going to be content to merely finish your 5-K race. You'd like to finish it with grace, in style and maybe improve your time (known as setting a Personal Record, or PR) In order to achieve full benefit from this program, you probably need to have been running 3-4 days a week for the last year or two and averaging 15-20 miles weekly, It helps if you have an understanding of the concepts of speedwork.

an individual who has been running for several years and who has run numerous 5-K races and races at other distances, there comes a time when you want to seek maximum performance. Regardless of your age or ability, you would like to run as fast as you possibly can. You want a training program that will challenge you. Here it is!Let me state what you probably know already. To achieve maximum performance, you need to improve your endurance and your speed. In order to achieve full benefit from this program, before starting you probably need to be running 4-5 days a week, 20-30 miles a week or more, and at least have an understanding of the concepts of speedwork. If not, drop back to one of the other programs.

If your only interest is to stroll 5-K at a comfortable pace, you probably don't need any particular training program. Just make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes and do enough walks of at least 15-30 minutes in the last month or two before the 5-K to make sure you won't have any trouble finishing the 3.1-mile distance.

I just really LOVE his programs. They are straight forward and they are very basic. 

Jeff Galloway's 5K (and 10K) training program

Some 5K races you don't want to miss:

  A very easy 5K, their website's description:
"Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Finish Festival,” using more colored powder to create happiness and lasting memories, not to mention millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5k party on the planet!

You can honestly walk the whole thing and say " I finished a 5K!"
Here is a training program I found to get you ready (if you want to run this)

Some of the BEST 5k's for family: races that run through Disney World and Disney Land Parks, Great medals, and lots of fun for the family!

Other races:

Pretty much it just depends on what your area offers. Most major cities offer some type of 5K around the holidays.

10K TRAINING (6.2 Miles)

 OK, so say you've ran a couple 5K's and you are ready to add a little more of a challenge to your race.

Here is Jeff Galloway's 10K (and 5K) training program

Hal Higdon's Training Programs:
 A new runner to the 10K program and just want to finish

You should be running five to six times a week, averaging 15-25 miles weekly training. You probably also should have run a half dozen or more races at distances between the 5-K and the Half-Marathon.

Advanced Program
individuals who compete regularly in races up to 10-K or beyond and who want to improve their performances. You should be capable of running 30 to 60 minutes a day, five to seven days a week and have a basic understanding of how to do speedwork.

If your only interest is to stroll 10-K at a comfortable pace, you probably don't need any particular training program. Just make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes and do enough walks of at least 45-90 minutes in the last month or two before the 10-K to make sure you won't have any trouble finishing the 6.2-mile distance

New Balances 10K Program:

Some fun 10K Races:

I had a hard time finding many other 10K's that were nationally known. This would be another time where it would be best to find local races from your running club or searching the link (posted above) at Running USA


ALRIGHT, my FAVORITE distance race :) Runners World Magazine says "if you can run 3 miles, you can run a half marathon).

This is becoming one of the most popular type of races to run in the past 5 years. 

There are many, many races that have half marathons and there are lots of training programs out there!

Hal Higdon's Training Program

His training program is broken down into 5 different schedules based on your level of running the half marathon

The following schedule assumes you have the ability to run 3 miles, three to four times a week.

Some of these half marathoners are people moving up from the 5-K or 10-K, but I suspect more of them (more of you) are runners who have run a marathon or two,

Those who want to improve their performances. You should be capable of running 30 to 60 minutes a day, five to seven days a week, have competed in at least a few 5-K and 10-K races, if not a marathon, and at least be willing to consider the possibility that some speedwork might help you improve.

individuals who compete regularly in 5-K, 10-K, half-marathon and even marathon races and who want to improve their performances. You should be capable of running 30 to 60 minutes a day, five to seven days a week and have a basic understanding of how to do speedwork.

Plans Based on Training Time Till Race Day

Sometimes you want to base your schedule off of the time you have until your major race, here is a website that has schedules for a 12, 16, and 20 week half marathon training schedule.

Run Keeper is a great App you can download (will talk more about apps below) but it also has a great website designed with a varied amount of plans based on your level of running fitness, schedule of race day, and possible finish time.

Run Keeper 1/2 Marathon Training Plans

Beginner's 10 week 1/2 Marathon Schedule



I actually found this book at a goodwill ( I WAS SUPER EXCITED) . I met Jeff at the WDW Princess Half and am pretty happy with this book. Some running books, I feel, are extremely basic "make sure you have good running shoes, drink water..blah blah" most of that info is completely available online now. This book had some GREAT running schedules.

Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Programs

    A Simple 30-Week Schedule for Beginning Runners: I DESIGNED THIS PROGRAM FOR NEW RUNNERS, specifically those individuals new to the sport of long distance running who would like to start in the spring to get ready to run a marathon in the fall. Individuals who plan to get serious about their training and dedicate six or seven months to training for their first marathon.

     Used by runners preparing to run their first marathons. If you googled "Marathon Training," you probably found this program at the top of the list, favored even over programs available on major Web sites, such as Is this your first marathon? Have you only begun to run in the last month or two? Novice 1 will get you to the starting line, and you can't get to the finish line unless you get to the start. If you have been running for a year or more and have run a number of races from 5-K to the half marathon, you might want to consider Novice 2, although many experienced runners also favor Novice 1, because of the (relatively) gentle way it prepares you to run 26 miles 385 yards.

     A slight step upwards in difficulty from Novice 1. It is designed for people with some background as a runner, whether or not they have run a marathon before. Runners differ greatly in ability, but ideally before starting a marathon program, you should have been running about a year. You should be able to comfortably run distances between 3 and 6 miles. You should be training 3-5 days a week, averaging 15-25 miles a week. You should have run an occasional 5-K or half marathon race. It is possible to run a marathon with less of a training base (particularly if you come from another sport), but the higher your fitness level, the easier this 18-week program will be. If this description fits you, you are probably ready to use Novice 2 for your first marathon, or for subsequent marathons, but don't feel embarrassed about dropping back to Novice 1. Novice 2 is nearly identical to Novice 1, but there are some differences, mainly: 1) You do pace runs on Wednesdays, and 2) the mileage is somewhat higher. Novice 2 consists of several different increments.

     The Intermediate 1 program offers a slight jump in difficulty from the Novice programs. You begin in Week 1 with a long run of 8 miles instead of 6 miles. You thus get to 20 miles for your long run by Week 13, which permits a second 20-miler in Week 15. Midweek mileage is slightly higher, but instead of cross-training on the weekends, you get more serious about your running and do a second run of 5-8 miles, often at marathon race pace. You now do your cross-training on Mondays, instead of taking the day off. Intermediate 2 offers still another jump in difficulty, but let’s concentrate for now on Intermediate 1.

5. Intermediate-2-Training-Program
   Intermediate 2 offers a slight jump in difficulty from Intermediate 1. You begin in Week 1 with a long run of 10 miles instead of 8 miles. You thus get to 20 miles for your long run by Week 11, which permits a third 20-miler in Week 15. Midweek mileage is slightly higher, but instead of cross-training on the weekends, you get more serious about your running and do a second run of 5-10 miles, often at marathon race pace. You now do your cross-training on Mondays, instead of taking the day off. Incidentally, Intermediate 2 is the ideal training program for those doing the popular "Goofy" run at the Walt Disney World Marathon, where you run a half on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. This program's 10-mile pace run followed by a 20-mile long run offers the perfect jumping-off platform for racing 13-26.

6. Advanced-1-Training-Program
      The training programs for Advanced 1 marathoners follow a progressive buildup--similar to that for novice and Intermediate runners, except you start at 10 miles and peak with three 20-milers. There is also more training at marathon pace (usually Saturdays, the day before Sunday long runs). Please note that we do not recommend doing your long runs at marathon pace. That adds too much stress, particularly when coupled with the speed sessions scheduled for Thursdays. If you over train, your performance will suffer.

7. Advanced-2-Training-Program
The training program for Advanced 2 marathoners follows a progressive buildup--similar to that for Novice and Intermediate runners, except you start at 10 miles and peak with three 20-milers. There is also more training at marathon pace (usually Saturdays, the day before Sunday long runs). Please note that we do not recommend doing your long runs at marathon pace. That adds too much stress, particularly when coupled with the speed sessions scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you overtrain, your performance will suffer.

Speed sessions consist of hill repeats, interval training and tempo runs in various combinations.  Admittedly, not everybody wants to do speedwork, or enjoys going to the track. If that is your philosophy, you are better off following one of my intermediate programs. The advanced schedules (1 and 2) are designed only for the hard core, those willing to take it to the limit. Only a small percentage of today's runners classify themselves as Advanced or want to follow this demanding a schedule. We track how many runners sign up for my various schedules, and fewer than 10 percent choose Advanced. If that is you, welcome aboard.

   I DESIGNED THIS PROGRAM FOR EXPERIENCED RUNNERS, individuals who have run two or three or more marathons and who would like to improve their times, to achieve Peak Performance, to set a Personal Record (PR), perhaps to score a Boston Marathon qualifying time (BQ).

   Is the schedule below designed only for older runners? Not necessarily, although if you have been running marathons for a number of years, you may have been searching for a program with relatively low mileage and less of a time commitment that will allow you to continue to race 26-milers without getting burned out. Same if you've followed my Novice schedule before and are looking for some variation--particularly a program that will allow you time do some cross-training. If you're a Clydesdale, you also may have come to the conclusion that high-mileage weeks raise the risk of injury too much. You need more rest time. Finally, if you like to run a lot of marathons a year (and it's up to you to define "a lot"), you realize it's impossible to fit more than a couple of 18-week build-ups into your schedule and still have time for recovery between.

   This Boston Bound Training Program is designed specifically for those runners talented or dedicated enough to have qualified for the Boston Athletic Association Marathon. It assumes an already high level of fitness, otherwise you would not have been able to meet Boston's strict qualifying standards. If a long run of 14 miles in only the second week sounds too far, you probably need to pick another training program. Also, unlike my usual 18-week marathon training programs, Boston Bound is only 12 weeks long, beginning in late January for the April race. Its increments are designed to prepare you for the unique challenge that Boston presents. Finally, it includes only a two-week taper, not three as in most of my other marathon programs.

   Here are some training strategies for runners running marathons two, four, six and eight weeks apart. If you're running marathons with an odd number of weeks between (three, five, seven, etc.), simply repeat one of the middle weeks. I have interactive versions of my multiple marathon programs for each of those weeks-between.

Sport Fitness Advisor Beginner Marathon Training Tips

Run Keeper's Marathon Schedule Based on Finishing Time

Marathon Races

Well, I hope this has helped some of you! I'm probably going to refine this and post a little more later on about some ultra runs and some other crazy races (mountain climbs..weeeee..!)

If you have a program you have used in the past, that you really liked, please email me and I'll post it on here with a little caption about how well it worked for you!
Email me @


Monday, September 30, 2013

Yellowstone National Park- Some insider tips, hikes, and must see places in the Fall.

I wasn't really sure what to expect when we started planning this trip . We watched some youtube videos as well as some PBS documentaries. I tried to do some research online but was overwhelmed with the amount of generic information. Of course a lot of websites I found suggested to go during the summer, well, we just didn't haven't that option. It was either go now or not be able to see everything because things close after October. I even had a hard time just finding a decent map. It wasn't until we pulled into the east entrance where we finally had some type of game plan or organization. For those that are planning a trip here are some tips and tricks we wished we would have known before we made it to Yellowstone.

First off,, TA- DA , the map

OK,'s much, much easier if you think of Yellowstone as two clocks (VERY big clocks) . The campgrounds are very spread a part. That's the other thing we didn't really know, Yellowstone is HUGE. We came from Cody (the east entrance ) with only a few stops for pictures, we ended up driving for almost 2 hours to get to Norris campground

OK.. so Tip #1, deciding when to visit. 
     This place is already RV city. I HATE, HATE going to places like this when it's high season. Since we don't have kids yet we don't have to plan around the school year. We just relocated to this area and decided to go as soon as possible (September) to avoid the closings in October (and the cooler temperatures). SO.. I would suggest avoiding the high seasons (aka spring break, 4th of July, memorial day, labor day, almost all of July). I would go early may, early August and on. Otherwise you will wait in line to see the geysers, fight traffic for a parking spot for a rare animal sighting pull off, and fight a sea of tripods to get one shot of some of the most scenic areas. Be warned, if you wait too long (late September/Mid-october) you will be dealing with colder nights, snow/rain, closed roads, rare animal sightings, and closed camp grounds. So, Plan accordingly.

Tip #2 Deciding where to camp. 
   OK, so this could be something you plan OR you could just wing it, like we did. We had a tent and mostly camped just so we could avoid spending $80-$150 on a lodge/cabin or hotel outside of the park. Before coming to the park we had originally planned to stay at Canyon Village. This is a VERY nice area. It has gas, showers, and a general store.  Below is a list of all the sites that are available (depending on the time of year.)
In order of openingDates*Nightly Fee/**SitesElev (ft)FeaturesRV Sites
MammothAll year$20856,200A,F,GMost are pull-through
Madison ΔΩ5/3-10/20$212786,800A,F,NS,DS,GCall for availability & reservations
Fishing Bridge RVΔΩ‡5/10-9/22$45>3257,800F,S/L,DS,G, hookupsCall for availability & reservations
Norris5/17-9/30$20>1007,500A,F,G2 @ 50' (signed); 5 @30'
Tower Fall5/24-9/30$15316,600VAll @ 30' or less; has hairpin curve
Bridge Bay ΔΩ5/24-9/2$214327,800A,F,NS,DS,GCall for availability & reservations
Canyon ΔΩ5/31-9/8$25.502737,900A,F,S/L,DS,Gcall for availability & reservations
Indian Creek 6/14-9/9$15757,300A, V10@ 35'; 35@30'-pull-through
6,900VSome long pull-throughs
6/15-10/31$15236,250V14 @ 30', walk through first to assess sites
Lewis Lake6/15-11/3$15857,800VAll @ 25' or less
Grant Village ΔΩ6/21-9/22$25.504307,800A,F,S/L,2S,DS,GCall for availability & reservations
*Campgrounds close for the season at 11 am of the last date listed
Δ Sites you can reserve
Ω Rate does not include tax or utility pass-through
 Site with full hook ups
A Accessible sites available
F Flush toilets
V Vault toilets
S/L Pay showers/laundry onsite
NS Showers not included
2S Two showers included each night
DS Dump station
G Generators OK 8 am-8pm

Here is the link to contact info for the campgrounds 

When we arrived to the East gate entrance there was a sign with all the campsites and their status. Sadly Canyon village was closed for the season and we ended up decided that Norris would probably be the next best camp site for us because of its location. When we arrived to the campsite there was sign saying that it was full. We arrived around 8pm and was extremely frustrated (and exhausted). We went ahead and drove in, and saw a ranger. I went up to his desk and he said if we just had a tent there were a few "walk up" sits available. We soon realized a lot of the "Full" signs were mostly for the RV sights. Most campgrounds have walk up sites where you park your car in a lot and walk a short distance to your tent site. Be warned, even though you paid to get into the park you must pay to camp. If you go after hours you must leave a cash envelope. We brought cash as an emergency and were VERY glad we did. Most sites are $20ish for tents, not sure what the rates were for RVs. So, make sure you double check which sites are open, which allow whatever you're camping in, and which ones have have the amenities you want. During the high season some sites fill up by 8-9am. We arrived around 8-9pm most nights and were able to snatch up the last spot. 

 ANYWAY, we stayed at Norris and had a beautiful morning

Day 2-First full Day in Yellowstone

This was one of the BEST hiking websites I've found for Yellowstone

The next day we decided to hike up to Mt. Washburn. This was probably one of the best hikes in the park. Here is a link I found from trip advisor that had many reviews of this hike

The trail head is pretty easy to find. It has a parking lot as well as a vault bathroom to use before you hike. 

Trailhead - Dunraven Pass
From Canyon Village: Drive approximately 4.8 miles north on the Grand Loop Road heading toward Dunraven Pass and Tower Fall. The trailhead is located on the right at the top of Dunraven Pass

Location: Northeast Section (See map to the right)
Difficulty: Moderate - An out and back
Distance: 6.4 mi/10.2 km round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1,405 ft. -

Getting out of the car at the trailhead, we were met with strong winds. I ended up adding an extra pair of socks and my patagonia "puffy " jacket. Ironically the car lot was the coldest part of the hike. Once we got moving, the sun and the effort of the hike warmed me up pretty quick. I ended up taking off two layers. 

Here are some wildlife / scenic views during the hike

A video of perfect timing: Bear and Deer(sheep?)

The views from the hike were amazing. 

The building is the over look where the hike leads to

Once you get to the top you are greeted with a wonderful view as well as an enclosed building to shelter you from the wind. A GREAT place to eat a packed lunch

I was really glad we did this hike. It was well marked and offered great views.

After the hike we decided to head out to Lamar Valley .

Lamar Valley is off of the Tower Roosevelt junction. It's a huge prairie like area famous for animal spottings. We had probably our best buffalo spotting on our way to Lamar valley as well as once we arrived.

During a huge stop, due to road construction we were treated to a wonderful sighting of a herd of buffalo at a watering hole

One of the reasons why I LOVED being there during the off season. A lot of the times you're driving down the road and you'll just randomly see animals. A lot of times we were the first ones to spot them. We would pull off the road and try to get pictures of them. Then other tourists would pull in front of us (blocking our view) or pull up really close to our car  (almost hitting us) to see the animals as well. I can't imagine what it would be like during high tourist season. For some reason when people go on vacations, they seem to leave their manners and common sense at home. I almost got side swiped by 2 cars at a pull out because they weren't paying attention to where they were driving instead, they were gawking at the animals...*sigh*..

Canyon Rim Trail
  Afterwards we headed back to Canyon village and decided to check out the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone." It was pretty but I wasn't extremely impressed. Again, it was extremely touristy and we had to dodge people in an out of the parking lots. We walked around the North Canyon Rim trail, again, The view from inspiration point was pretty, but I wouldn't plan a whole day around this area.

We had 2 hours before sunset. We decided to drive 30-40 minutes up to Mammoth and check out the hot springs area, little did we know how much of a treat we were in for.

Josh was filming the hot springs and out of the corner of my eye I saw an elk, finally! our first spotting!
Apparently we were in the middle of elk migration season, there was females and his bull.

They were literally in the middle of this downtown area.

The bull was so aggressive that he had actually rammed the window of this car and broke it. 

This guy was SO big :)

TIP #3 BRING A CAMERA- you never know what you're going to see

That night was the beginning of a nasty storm front . We had AMAZING luck. Our tent was pretty covered with our rain fly but we were in the middle of a huge thunder/lightening storm. I did not sleep well at ALL that night.. So..

TIP #4 have a reliable tent and bring many layers of clothes.
    Now, I'm not saying go out and buy a $300 tent, the one we used was actually 6 years old but in great condition. However, without our good rain-fly all of our bedding (and us) would have been soaked for the rest of the 5 day trip, 3 days into it.
    The websites say be prepared for any weather and during spring/fall I would completely agree, I basically went through many, many layers , less in the afternoon, more in the evening and morning. I was always putting on or taking off layers. Funny enough when we went to buy bear spray at the sporting goods store, before we left, we saw their clearance section. They had ski pants on sale for $25 from $120. I slept in these every night and my legs were never cold. :)

Day 3
   We had planned on doing another hike but had to stick to plan B with the storm and rain that was upon us all day. We decided to pack up our campsite (in the rain) and head down what I like to call Geyser row. The section of Yellowstone (starting at Norris campground and heading south) has the most Geysers in the park, including the Norris Geyser Basin and ending with Old Faithful

Along the way we also found a couple of beautiful waterfalls

Old Faithful
This was the highlight of our day. We arrived about 40 minutes before it shot off again. There was a huge storm approaching. Luckily, it didn't get too bad until after the Geyser erupted 

The visitors center was pretty nice! I enjoyed the video it had playing discussing how important the Geysers and the basins are to Yellowstone

We passed this waterfall (Lewis Lake) on our way south towards the Grand Tetons National Park.

Tip #5- Make a plan
  So, I may have stated this earlier but Yellowstone is HUGE. I did not realize just how big of a park this was. You can spend a whole day driving from Campground to Campground. If you have only a certain amount of days, Make a plan as well as a backup plan for weather.
   We knew we wanted to hike, so we discovered Mt. Washburn, We made loose day itinerarys, things that we really wanted to see. We pretty much saw everything we wanted to see minus a hike or two. It just helps if you are limited to the  time you have to spend in the park

Tip # 6- Scout out gas
   Every time we passed a station (located in the main village campgrounds..btw prepared to pay $$$) I made mental note of the location and how we were doing on gas. Last thing I wanted to do was end up in the middle of no where and have to hike 10-15 miles to get gas.

Packing list-things we loved having 
   OK, so again, we went during the fall. You don't know how amazing it was to have a hot meal every time we ate . I packed a lot of food, and even pre-made some of it before we left. Considering we were mostly used to backpacking trips (aka no car, we carried everything on our backs), having a car to put our stuff in felt like SUCH a luxury.
  1. A burner / little propane tank.
  2. A little pot and pan set
  3. Lighter
       We bought both of these from walmart. That propane heater ended up being our FAVORITE investment for this trip....ok so rule Number 1. Leaving food outside in your campsite is a  BIG BIG BIG no no. Bears are there, they will go into your tent for food. We kept all of our food with us in our car. We only used our campsite at night, a place to sleep . SO, having that burner was like carrying a microwave with us everywhere. IF we were cold we made hot chocolate at a turnout. When we got hungry we heated up soup and/or a meal I had prepared.  Let's just say we got a lot of jealous stink eyes from those that were eating little sandwiches, which taking a sunset picture, when we walked up with hot chocolate and soup.
4.. 2-3 pieces of silverware
5. A pack of water (or a huge canteen container)
    we used water to cook with as well as to consume. Buying a 24ct of water never made me worried I would be thirsty
6. Trashbags
   We actually used these for seats AND 3 out of 5 mornings/nights we ended up with a soaking wet tent and rainfly we still had to use. Instead of getting the bag they came in wet, we ended up just rolling them up and putting them in trash bags until we got to our next camping spot.
7. Headlamps
    Most of the time we spent all day seeing the sights and arrived at our camp spot by dark. Headlamps were awesome when it came to putting up our tent and needing to see. It kept us hands free and we didn't have to use our headlights.

Here are some of the pictures I took of our meals
   I did search Pinterest for meal ideas but a lot of the meals included eggs, beef, hot dogs.. AKA things that would go bad after 1-2 nights of camping, SO I had to become resourceful, What would be warm, good, didn't spoil, and could be eaten after 5 days.

Funny enough, this last picture (with the tile) happened because of the rain. You don't want to use the burner in a closed room (not in the car). Almost every bathroom on the campgrounds had a middle room with only a sink to use as a dish wash area. Well, it was around 9pm when we arrived to our campsite that night and still hadn't had dinner. SO, we sat on some trash bags, under a covered roof, in the sink wash area and cooked/ate our dinner. It worked, we had a warm meal, and we stayed dry.

Some of the items I brought/prepared:
     Quinoa (rice)- Cooked at home
     Oatmeal, Ramin , Soup,  Chocolate Muffins-Baked at home
     Chopped up peppers - Prepared at home,  Pico de gallo
     Red baked Potato pieces- Prepared at home
     Watermelon - Cut up at home
    Poptarts, Swiss miss hot chocolate, Peanut Butter, Bread, Mac and Cheese,

It was really nice in 30-50 degree weather to have something warm in our stomachs.

8. Wet wipes- You can use these for almost any type of mess. PLUS some of the campsites that were closed were the only ones that had showers. The only one that did have a shower was not free. 5 days of camping= not the greatest smelling. Thank goodness for wet wipes, deo, and body spray.

    So, I hope this is helped. We actually continued on to Grand Tetons National Park Once that article is written and posted I will add a link onto the bottom of this page.
    If you have any questions please feel free to email me at