Train with us


Train with us

The Striders provide many opportunities to train with other runners in the greater Des Moines area.  Training runs are administrated by the Capital Striders and usually a sponsor. They have a scheduled training program in place and have course support which includes water and perhaps replacement fluids and energy gel.

Winter/Spring Training Group (Roads)

Co-sponsored by Capital Striders and Fitness Sports, these were originally established to assist runners in training for the Drake Relays Marathon. It’s an extremely valuable tool in getting ready for the Drake Half-Marathon, Dam to Dam, or any number of spring races. Runs will be varying distances up to 20 miles – you choose your distance and pace. Click here for the official 2017 Winter/Spring Training Guide.

SPEcial for 2019 - pre-Winter/Spring Training RUN FROM verti-go Athletics

Capital Striders and Verti-Go Athletics will host a pre-season training run. Meet for a pre-run warm up before heading out for a run (4 or 8 mile route options). Return to Verti-Go to stretch and warm up after you run. Take advantage of their facility and equipment both before and after you run!

  • When: Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 7:20am

  • Where: Verti-Go Athletics ( 801 73rd Street, Suite D, Windsor Heights )

2019 Kickoff Meeting

Capital Striders/Fitness Sports Spring Training Group will meet to review and discuss the schedule for this Winter/Spring. 

  • When: Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 7:00pm (to be verified)

  • Where: Fitness Sports (8810 Swanson Blvd, Clive, IA 50325



All runs will start at Meredith Hall on the Drake University Campus with runs beginning promptly at 7:30am (January/February) - changing to a 7:00am start time in March.  Parking is available in the large lot right in front of the building, free of charge.  All routes will end up back at Meredith Hall. The building is usually open so we can wait inside and use the restrooms. Please be courteous if any classes are taking place.  Maps of that day’s routes will be provided each Saturday as well as posted in advance to those signed to the weekly email blast.  Join the Email List.

2019 Schedule

Week Start Date Distance

1 7:30 January 5 4/8 miles at Verti-GO, Windsor Heights

2 7:30 January 12 4/10 miles

3 7:30 January 19 5/8 miles post run support by the HyVee Dietitian!

4 7:30 January 26 5/13 miles

5 7:30 February 2 6/14 miles

6 7:30 February 9 5/12 miles

7 7:30 February 16 6/16 miles post run support by HyVee Dietitian!

8 7:30 February 23 6/17 miles

9 7:30 March 2 7/12 miles

10 7:00 March 9 7/16 miles

11 7:00 March 16 8/18 miles post run support by the HyVee Dietitian!

12 7:00 March 23 7/13 miles

13 7:00 March 30 10/20 miles

14 7:00 April 6 LOOP THE LAKE 8k (no Striders training run)

15 7:00 April 13 8/12 miles post run support by the HyVee Dietitian!

16 7:00 April 20 DRAKE 5k, 10k, Half (no Striders training run)

17 7:00 April 27 Drake Relays (no Striders training run)

18 7:00 May 4 7/20 miles

19 7:00 May 11 10/16 miles

20 7:00 May 18 8/20 miles post run support by the HyVee Dietitian!

21 7:00 May 25 12 mil

Summer/Fall Training Group (Roads)

The Capital Striders Summer and Fall Training Group is designed to prepare runners of all skill levels for the fall racing season. Whether you’re training for the IMT Des Moines Marathon or Half Marathon, running shorter distances, maintaining a base or just want to meet fellow runners, this training group is for you. All paces are welcome, encouraged and will be supported along the route.

Saturday morning training group runs will follow the training plan outlined below. Capital Striders’ membership is encouraged but not required to participate in the training group. Your membership helps cover the cost of water, Gatorade and other expenses required to host these activities.

Please make sure to sign the 2019 waiver and bring along.


The distance and elevation changes of the routes will gradually increase from week to week to assist you in your preparation for a fall marathon or half marathon distance. You can receive the routes/maps each week by subscribing to our weekly email blast at training@capitalstriders.org


As we are a volunteer organization, we love to utilize the giving spirit of our members and Central Iowa runners. During our summer/fall training runs, all water/fluid stops are provided throughout the route and we love to have volunteers set up, tear down and cheer on at these during the training season. If you are interested in hosting our water stops during the summer/fall training runs, email dana@capitalstriders.org with any questions


Each week, the run will begin at 7 a.m. Starting location will vary - see schedule below.

2019 Schedule

Week Date 2019 Long Distance Short Distance Starting Location

1 June 15 8 miles 3 miles Fitness Sports (8810 Swanson Blvd., Clive) *HyVee Dietitian

2 June 22 6 miles 3 miles HealthSource West (2600 University Ave, Unit 212, WDSM)

3 June 29 9 miles 4 miles Water Works Park (Northeast entrance, near the big fountain)

4 July 6 8 miles 4 miles Heartland Soles (5525 Merle Hay Rd #130, Johnston)

5 July 13 10 miles 5 miles Grounds for Celebration (2709 Beaver Ave)

6 July 20 12 miles 5 miles Lions Park (72th & Aurora, Urbandale) *HyVee Dietitian

7 July 27 14 miles 4 miles Fleet Feet (521 E Locust St. (East Village)

8 August 3 16 miles 6 miles Kinetic Edge (516 3rd Street, Suite 100, Downtown)

9 August 10 17 miles 6 miles Water Works Park (Northeast entrance, near the big fountain)

10 August 17 13 miles 5 miles Heartland Soles (5525 Merle Hay Rd #130, Johnston) *HyVee Dietitian

11 August 24 17 miles 8 miles Fleet Feet (521 E Locust St. (East Village)

12 August 31 14 miles 10 miles Water Works Park (Northeast entrance, near the big fountain)

13 September 7 18 miles 8 miles Heartland Soles (5525 Merle Hay Rd #130, Johnston)

14 September 14 -- -- NO Run - Capital Pursuit

15 September 21 17 miles 10 miles HealthSource West (2600 University Ave, Unit 212, WDSM) *HyVee Dietitian

16 September 28 20 miles 11 miles Fleet Feet (521 E Locust St. (East Village)

17 October 5 12 miles 9 miles Heartland Soles (5525 Merle Hay Rd #130, Johnston)

18 October 12 8 miles 6 miles Kinetic Edge (890 SE Olson Dr Suite 101, Waukee) *HyVee Dietitian

And If That’s Not Enough…

If you’re looking for just a couple of more miles to add onto your weekly Saturday runs..

For Winter training runs, try the maps listed below – all of these routes also start and end at Meredith Hall on the Drake campus.

For Summer Training runs, the loop around Grey's Lake is 1.9 miles.



Water will be available on the course in at least one location. Longer runs will have two or more water stops. During Winter training runs from Drake, restrooms are available at the start in Meredith Hall and on the course as you can find them – retail establishments, public facilities, etc. During Summer training runs, there is always a port-a-potty at the start, or across the street at Grey's Lake are permanent restroom facilities.

Who Can Participate?

All are welcome. Please make sure you are medically able and have a fitness level commensurate for the distance you will be running. We ask all participants complete this release form and bring it to your first run. Remember, your safety is ultimately your responsibility.  Runners please make sure to sign the 2018 waiver and bring along.


Volunteers are needed each week to help with the water stops. It’s easy and the rewards are great – the runners really appreciate it. To sign up, contact Steve Bobenhouse at 515.277.4785 (Winter Training Runs) or Dana Kramer at dana@capitalstriders.org (Summer Training Runs).

Questions & Info

Interested in helping out, receiving a weekly e-mail announcement about each run, if you have a question about the training sessions?

Contact: training@capitalstriders.org

Year Round (Trails)

Click here --> CS Turkeys to learn more about our trail group. They meet on Tuesdays and Sundays.


Train with a Group

Train with a Group

These runs have been organized by Strider members and are also a great way to get to know other runners in the community. These are more informal gatherings, except the Train with Us group on Saturdays and the CS Turkeys on Tuesdays and Sundays.


Run with the Animals (Beginner Group)

This is a group run that is welcome to both beginning runners as well as returning runners

  • When: every Monday, 6pm (beginning April 2019)

  • Where: The gazebo at Campbell Park in Clive

  • Contact: Curt Hoegh - 515-979-3597


Capital Striders' Turkeys

The Capital Striders Turkeys (CS Turkeys ) are a group of runners who regularly train and compete on dirt trails around central Iowa and the Midwest.

Run with the Indianola Animals*

New or former runners who want to try the sport in a safe and guided environment or those who want to get back into shape after an extended “hiatus.”

  • When: 6pm (beginning April 3, 2018)

  • Where: McVay Trailhead, 300 Block of East 5th Street in Indianola

  • Follow their Facebook page.

  • Contact: Bobbi Snodgrass



Increase your speed and sprinting power!

  • When: 6pm

  • Where: Hoover High School Track

  • For information on dates and workouts, click here for more information

  • Contact: Susanne Kennedy - email


The Knoxville Run*

This run is for all runners of all shapes and sizes

  • When: 6pm

  • Where: High School parking lot

  • Contact: Luanne DeZwarte - 641-842-4850

Zimm's Run* (Hill RUn)

(NOT CURRENTLY MEETING) This is a 7mi HILLY loop along those “south of Grand” hills.

  • When: 5:45pm (start time varies)

  • Start from: (formerly) Zimm's Food & Spirits 3124 Ingersoll

  • Though the group is not currently meeting, you can contact: Don Cumings for information on the route.


See details here --> Train with Us


The Greenbelt Run*

This is an all paces, paved trail run for those ready to enjoy nature.  Out and back route with distances up to 10mi.

  • When: start at 7:00am during Daylight Savings Time (March-October), or 7:30am during Standard Time (November-March)

  • Where: East trail head of the Clive Trail on 86th street (behind Car-X)

  • Contact: Don Cumings - 515-229-0930

Capital Striders' Turkeys

The Capital Striders Turkeys (CS Turkeys) are a group of runners who regularly train and compete on dirt trails around central Iowa and the Midwest.


*Indicates a great training run for all but not a Capital Striders club sponsored event


Capital Striders Turkeys

Capital Striders Turkeys

Are You Game? Gobble, Gobble!

Are You Game? Gobble, Gobble!

CS Turkeys

We are a group of runners who regularly train and compete on dirt trails around Central Iowa and the Midwest. We are a branch of the Capital Striders Running Club, which is a non-profit running club based in Des Moines, Iowa. All runners are welcome and no runner will be left behind.  The Turkeys were created to promote trail running and local trails.  We strive to increase the number of active trail runners and advocate the use and upkeep of trails in the Des Moines Area.  CS Turkeys also support other trail running groups like CITA and help to organize local trail races, like the To Grandmother's House We Go and the Sycamore 8 Trail Race.                                                                                                               

When Do We Run
Tuesday's - various times (Please check Facebook)     Sunday's - various times (Please check Facebook). Members will post when and where they are running and other group members can comment if they will join. The only day we will avoid is Sat. morning so our hybrid runners can join the Striders at Waterworks/Gray's Lake.

Where Do We Meet 

PLEASE CHECK FACEBOOK for our schedule. We rotate across various trail locations within 10 to 60 minutes of downtown Des Moines. Turn-by-turn directions to trail heads or listed below, in the "Where do we meet" section.                

What Do I Need
All trail runs are self-supported meaning you will need to carry your own water (e.g. hand-held water bottle, waist pack, or hydration vest, etc.), lights for evening runs (e.g. headlamp, Knuckle Lights, flashlight, etc.), bug spray during the warm months, and/or a towel for after the run.

Trail Maps - Click the links below to view and print a map (from Garmin Connect or Map My Run) for each trail system:         

Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park
Brown’s Woods
Center Trails/Ashworth Pool
Center Trails – Denman’s Woods (Front Loop)
Dale Maffit Reservoir (aka Maffitt Lake) Garmin or Map My Run
Ewing Park PDF

Jester Park Garmin or Map My Run or PDF
Lake Ahquabi Garmin or PDF
Ledges Trails w/Lost Lake Garmin
Raccoon River Dirt Trails
Sycamore Trail

Walnut Woods

Directions to Where We Meet for Each Trail Run

Please bring these printed directions when coming to each location the first time since GPS devices and phones do NOT provide correct directions. Many of these locations don’t have a USPS physical address. If there is one listed below, it may be a physical address or the closest number site listed.

Ahquabi State Park: Take 65/69 South, turn right onto Co Rd. G58, go to the T (don’t go in the main entrance), take a right on 118th St, go 1-2 blocks, and turn left into the park. Park in the first lot on the left. The trail is near the lake. Address: 16500 118th Ave., Indianola, IA.

Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park: From IA – 5/65, head south, and take the exit for 69 South. The entrance to the park will be 5 minutes from this exit and to your left. Take the first right into the park and park in the first lot near the brick outhouse.  Address: 13084 Elk Horn Street, Carlisle, IA. The website lists Indianola but Mapquest will not take you to the correct place.

Brown’s Woods: From 235 or Grand Ave. go south on 63rd Ave and turn right on Brown’s Woods Drive; if you reach Army Post Rd. you’ve gone too far south. After turning right, turn right again and go right on the dead end road (Brown’s Woods Dr.) and park in the new paved lot. When coming from Route 5, SW Connector has been renamed Veterans Parkway. Address: 495 Brown’s Woods Dr, West DSM, IA.

Center Trails/Ashworth Pool: From the intersection of 42nd Ave. and Grand Ave (downtown DSM), go west and turn left on 45th St. Go slow as this area has lots of athletes and families in the road. Drive all the way to the end of the road (just past the pool) and park near the paved trail. Near the paved trail is a map with the off-road trails (Center Trails) and the local paved trails.

Denman’s Woods: From 63rd (between Grand and Railroad Avenues), drive south, and turn left on a little side street called Muskogee Ave (east side of the street only). Muskogee curves left to a road called N. Valley Dr. Go 2 blocks and park on the street just before the water/electrical bldg and bridge. It doesn't look like an actual place to park, but most days there are other cars parked there (180 N. Valley Dr. DSM, IA 50321). From Grand Ave (when driving west from downtown), turn left on 56th St., go about 2 blocks, turn right on N. Valley Dr., go over railroad tracks and the bridge, do a u-turn and park on the side of the street closest to the electrical/water building (just over the bridge).

Ewing Park Trails: Go to the intersection of McKinley and Indianola Ave. (of DSM) and turn west onto McKinley Ave and turn right to park in the little lot near the small playground and non-brick port-o-potty enclosure.

Jester Park –North End: Take IA-141 North towards Grimes. Turn right on NW 121st St. Take that road until it ends at the Jester Park Entrance – do NOT enter here. Turn left on NW 118th St. This road will curve to the right and become NW 128th St. Just before it dead ends, turn right on the gravel road, and follow it to the right, around the bison. Park in the first lot on the right, near the Nature Playscape.

Jester Park – South End: Take IA-141 North towards Grimes. Take exit IA-415 to Polk City. At the first stop sign, take a left onto NW Beaver and then take an immediate right onto NW 100. Go past the cemetery (on your right) and park to one side of the road, near the gate, straight ahead, on the gravel road. Don’t follow the paved road to the Lincoln Boat ramp. Address: 10660 NW 100th St, Johnston, IA 50109.

Ledges State Park: Take IA-141 W/Urbandale-Grimes for 8.6 miles, exit on IA-17 toward Madrid/Boone, go for 17 miles, and turn left on 250th St. to go 3 miles. The park entrance will be straight ahead. Go past the campground parking lot and park in the first one to your left (before going down Canyon Road). Address: 1515 P Ave., Madrid, IA 50156 (near Boone).

Maffit Lake: It is located southwest of Des Moines in Cumming, IA. From DSM, drive west on Army Post Road, cross Interstate 35, and follow the signs. From the north, take 35 south, exit at 35th St., and then turn right on SW 72nd Ave which turns into Dale Maffit Rd. Take the first left into park and park your car just up the gravel road near the Nature Trail sign, but this is not where you enter the trail. Address: 12460 SW Maffit Lake Dr., Cumming, IA 50061.

Margo Frankel Woods State Park: It is located south of Ankeny, southwest of the Easter Camp, and north of 80/35 on 2nd Ave./Polk Ave. It is on the east side of the road. Address: 6171 NW 2nd St., Des Moines, Iowa 50313

Raccoon River Park: Take Grand Ave west to 2500 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, IA. Turn left into the park and left again to park in the parking lot closest to the dog park. From the West, take 35 South to Grand Ave and go east towards West Des Moines. 

Sycamore Trail – North End: To park at the north end and coming from 80/35, you can exit at Merle Hay Rd (from the west) or 2nd Ave. (from the east). Exit 80 and turn left (north) on Merle Hay, go about 1.5 miles to 62nd Ave. and turn rt. At NW Beaver Dr. turn left. At NW 66th Ave. (Co Rd R6F) turn right and go about ½ mile and a tiny gravel parking lot will be on the right. There are no signs marking this parking lot and it is very easy to drive past it; if you go over the river, you’ve gone too far. From 2nd Ave. go north and exit to NW 66th Ave or Co Rd R6F towards Saylorville. When the road T’s, turn right and shortly thereafter turn left back onto NW 66th Ave or Co Rd R6F. Just over the river the parking lot will be on your left. There are no signs marking the lot and if you reach the stoplight, you’ve gone too far. Address: 4301 NW 66th Ave. Johnston, IA.

Sycamore Trail – South End: Go to the Iowa Driver License Station of DSM near the intersection of Euclid and MLK Jr. Parkway. Once you enter the parking lot, park on the east side (closest to the river and farthest from the paved trail with bathrooms). As you approach the river, you will see the trail. It appears to go towards the river and along the fence/parking lot and you can start with either trail since they both go to the same place (after a quarter mile or so).

Walnut Woods: From the city, take 63rd South to Brown’s Woods Drive, turn right, follow that road until it curves, take the next right on Walnut Woods Drive. Take the second entrance into the park, on your right, and parking in the first lot to the left. From the west, take 35 South to IA-5 South, from 5 take the exit for S. 35th Street and turn left. Turn left on Arm Post Road and then turn right at SW 105th St. Turn left into the park at the first entrance you come to and park in the first lot on your left.

How Far Does the Group Run
The group completes distances ranging from 3 to 10+ miles and many of the courses have shorter loops to allow for less distance and a gentle introduction to the trail running experience.

What If…
If it rains or snows, and our running will not damage the trail, we will still run. If trail conditions are poor, we will either cancel (for safety reasons) or switch to meeting at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines (to run on the limestone path), DMACC WDM on Grand Ave. (to run on gavel), or Booneville Cafe (to run on gravel roads). All changes or cancellations will be posted to our Facebook page since the decision will typically be made one hour before scheduled runs.