Trail Running Gear October 19 2015, 0 Comments
Trail running benefits the body and soul; it’s great for working your calf muscles and glutes and is where many runners have found their true love for running. If you’re going to begin trail running or have started and are wondering about gear options, there are a few essentials that you’ll want to consider.
For clothing, you can wear shirts similar to what you would wear on the road, but perhaps either more durable or something you wouldn’t mind getting dirty or snagged. Moisture-wicking synthetics are also preferred over cotton for both shirts and socks. For women, it’s ideal to go with tights over shorts, because your muscles will fatigue less quickly and your skin will be protected from the wind and branches.
A lightweight jacket is a good idea in case weather conditions change and you get caught in a flash storm. Layering is important in general because you never know how much the temperature might vary on a shady versus sunny section of the trail. Depending on the weather, you might also wear something on your head. This could be a hat for sweat collection and shade in the summer or a beanie for head and ear warmth in the winter.
If you’re an infrequent trail runner or only run short distances on the trails, you can stick with your regular road running shoes. However, if you’re completely converting to trail running, you’ll want to consider purchasing trail shoes, which have a stronger sole and more stability than a road shoe. Trail shoes will require some basic maintenance. You’ll need to remove the insoles, clear off the mud and place paper towels in your shoes to help them dry.
You’ll likely need some source of water, especially if you’re going on a longer trail run. The three main options for carrying fluids are handheld, waist belt and hydration packs. Orange Mud offers a variety of hydration packs, including a vest pack, backpack, and handheld. These options hold one to two full size water bottles. In order to figure out what works best for you, you might want to try a couple, starting with a HydraQuiver. If you can’t get used to the feeling of having something on your back while running, a handheld is probably your best bet.
Trekking poles can aid in balance and endurance as you walk up steep rocky hills. They also reduce the impact on your lower joints, because they redistribute your energy expenditure.
Whether or not you need insect repellent and/or sunscreen depends on your location. If the bugs aren’t bad, then don’t worry about repellent. In most cases you will want to wear sunscreen, even if the trails are shaded. If you’re running at night, you won’t need the sunscreen, but a headlamp or flashlight is useful.
And no matter what you’re wearing or carrying, remember to watch your step and pace yourself.