Essentials For Trail Running

If you are someone that is looking to get into trail running, there are plenty of essentials that you will want to be sure to get to ensure that you are prepared for everything. In this article, we will discuss some of the key essentials for trail running that you will want to equip yourself with.

The Top Essentials For Trail Running:

1. Proper Shoes.

The main thing that you are going to want to be sure to have with you when you are looking to get into trail running would be proper shoes. You want to get shoes with the proper support that you will need while on the trail. Along with the support, you want to find the shoes that are comfortable enough to wear while running long distances.

While you can find a lot of options on the market at a low cost, you really don’t want to skimp when it comes to paying for your trail running shoes. Therefore, you should look to spend the majority of your budget on your shoes because they will have a direct impact on the quality of your run.

2. Clothing.

Another important thing that you will want to be sure to get prior to your run would have to be the right clothing. Having clothing that is well designed to run in and clothing that can keep you warm is key. You should opt for a material that is extremely versatile like merino wool when you are looking for the right trail running clothes. That way, not only will it keep you comfortable throughout the run, but it is very breathable and will help you from getting smelly. You also want high-quality socks as your socks are bound to take a beating. Likewise, you should be looking for a pair of high-quality merino wool socks.

3. Energy Bars.

Ideally, you should be looking to pack energy bars with you while you are out on the trails. Having sufficient energy throughout your run is key. That is why you want to pack enough calories that you can take with you on your runs. If you are only going to be running short distances, you might be able to skip any sort of food. However, if you are going to be running long distances, you will want to bring something like an energy bar or a protein bar of a sort.

4. Hydration.

When you are going out on your trail runs, you are going to need to pack plenty of hydration. Having a running pack that allows you to store water or other kinds of hydration on your back will really make things much easier overall. You also want to think about bringing fluids that will provide you with plenty of electrolytes like coconut water.

5. Headwear Protection.

Not only do you want to pack sunglasses with you, but you should also look to bring a hat for proper headwear protection. You want to protect your head from the sun and the cold. Depending on the weather that you are faced with during your run, you want to have everything that you could possibly need during it which includes eye and head protection.

Overall, there is plenty that you want to be sure to have with you during your runs. You want to make certain that you are bringing all of the necessary things including hydration, food for energy, and protection against the elements. However, you also want to have a well-fitting pair of shoes with ample support and the right clothing that will keep you comfortable and safe throughout the run.

Trail Running With Poles: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Tips

Should you, or shouldn’t you? That has become one of the biggest questions for trail runners when it comes to using poles. We are going to explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of using poles so you can decide if they are right for you.

Whether hiking poles are a good or bad ida depends a lot on where you are going hiking or trail running. For instance the more vert you will be experiencing the more likely poles will be a good idea.

For example if you are running through the Alps most people you encounter will have poles with them, however if you were exploring some of the Table Mountain hiking routes in Cape Town you probably do not need them.

The Advantages Of Using Poles

Reduced Leg Fatigue (Sometimes)

Removing some of the load off of your legs is one of the big advantages of using poles. When you are climbing and descending slopes, your poles can take some of the load off of your legs helping you to keep your leg muscles fresh for later in the race.

TIP: This advantage decreases when you are running on a flat trail. You will be more efficient running without using the poles when you hit a flat area. If the course you are scheduled to run switches between climbs and flat sections, you should use collapsible poles so you can get them out of the way during the flatter areas.

Better Posture

Do you tend to hunch your back during your climbs or when you get tired on the trail? Using poles helps you maintain better posture which reduces back strain and keeps you more efficient. Better posture and efficiency allows you to utilize those last bits of energy to finish a race instead of scrubbing out.

Balance And Trail Confidence

Your trail poles provide you with four-point balance when negotiating steep, rocky, and slippery areas of the trail. You can plant the tips to give you added grip while getting through those difficult areas, which provides you with confidence to move faster instead of dropping to a snail’s pace.

TIP: Make sure you keep the poles out of the path of your feet while descending. You don’t want to be accelerating down a hill and end up rolling down the hill because you tripped yourself with the poles.

Defensive Tool

Let’s be honest. So many trail runners have started using poles that sometimes it is challenging to avoid tripping on them out of the starting gate. Using your own poles lets you carve out a little extra space and knock away intruding poles. Just remember, you need to keep your poles out of their way, too.

The Disadvantages Of Running Poles

Added Weight On The Trail

Running poles add a little weight to what you are carrying on the trail. Cheap poles are weaker and weigh more. Good poles are lightweight and strong but still add a little weight. While the few extra ounces may not seem like much at the beginning of the race, it could feel burdensome towards the end.

TIP: Pay attention to the type of trail you are running on today. Does it really require the use of the poles, or is it fairly level? Decide if you are going to use the poles for this race based on the advantages for this specific trail. There is no reason to carry extra weight when it is unnecessary.

Running Poles Can Get In The Way

Your first race using poles is going to feel clumsy. There is no way around that unless you train extensively using your poles. Your poles are going to get in front of your feet, bounce into a tree, or get caught in a patch of roots. It is inevitable until you become efficient using the poles. Even then, there will be times the poles are more of a hindrance than an aid.

TIP: Collapsible poles can be carried in one hand to keep them out of your way. Some poles can be stashed in a small pack strapped on your front or back.

The only sure way to know if running poles will help you is to try them. Every race more runners are finding the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, at least on steeper trails.