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Becoming a Trail Runner – Essential gear for safe and enjoyable running

By Veronika Vadovicova

You have decided to take on trail running but are not sure what gear is necessary for your first trail run? It’s really important to not underestimate some of the gear you should use when running on trails but at the same time it is important to not overdo it and carry too much gear from the beginning. Here is a list of items you definitely need in order to enjoy a safe run in the mountains.


1) Trail Running Shoes to stay safe on rough terrain

One might think that wearing any type of running shoes is enough if you are just a beginner, this is one of the biggest mistakes that trail running beginners often make. Having the right kind of running shoe is crucial. Trail running shoe is specifically designed for running off-road, on rough and uneven terrain. Trail running shoes often have more traction and stability which is needed to stay safe when you are running off-road. If there is just one item you need to have when running on trails it is a pair of trail running shoes.

2) Trail Running Vest/Pack to carry water, food and other supplies

When running on trails we often find ourselves far away from the cities, therefore it is important to carry enough water/food/other supplies with you. Running with a running vest/pack is necessary when you go out for a longer trail run. The vest usually comes with a water pouch in the back/water bottles in the front which you fill up with water or drink of your choice. It also has many smaller pockets designed to put in your food (gels, bars, nuts..), phone, tissues, headlamp etc.

So now you have the right shoes and the right vest/belt and I will stop you right here because that is essentially all you need to be safe on trails. These two items are the only two inevitable purchases that you should make before heading out on trails. There is however a few other things you might want to consider once you start your trail running journey.

3) Trail Running Clothes to stay safe in cold/windy/rainy weather

Trail running clothes do not really vary too much from road running clothes. A pair of running shorts, a t-shirt and some socks will do for your run. You don’t necessarily have to buy a new wardrobe full of trail running clothes when you first begin running on trails. What is important though is to keep in mind that weather conditions can change quickly and sometimes you might find yourself stuck in the middle of a huge rain far away from any shelter. It is recommended to invest into a lightweight, wind and waterproof jacket which will keep you dry and warm in case of bad weather. In addition it is always good to have a pair of running gloves and a hat just in case weather changes suddenly. Remember – trail running often happens high in the mountains where weather is unpredictable and temperature can drop significantly as you climb higher.

4) Trail Running Clothes to stay safe in hot/sunny weather

Many of you coming from South East Asia are perhaps more worried about weather being too hot rather than cold. If you live in a place where temperatures are high and sun is strong make sure to apply sunscreen on your face and exposed body parts before you go out running. Also, don’t forget to put a hat on to protect your eyes from the sun. Additionally, you might want to put a pair of sunglasses on. When buying sunglasses it is essential to buy sports sunglasses as these will hold firm on your nose while running and won’t make you feel uncomfortable. Additional benefit of sunglasses is that they will also protect you from branches and twigs when you run on bushy trails.

The list above includes the most essential items you should take with you to make your trail run safe and enjoyable. Of course the list can go on and on as you progress in your trail running journey. Items such as sports watch, headlamp, emergency blanket, hiking poles and more are also worth considering once you start enjoying trails more. For now, grab your trail shoes put your vest on and enjoy your first trail run!

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