With a strong interest in trail running, and Zion training approaching in the next couple months, now is a good time to discuss some essential items that every person should have when hitting the trails.
Stating the obvious here, but trail running is a lot different than road running when it comes to the availability of resources when on a run. If you get thirsty on the road, you can easily find water at a local business. Have to use the restroom? There is a Starbucks on nearly every corner. Fall down and twist and ankle? Someone probably witnessed the accident and is offering help.
When on a trail you truly need to be prepared for the unknown and unexpected; help is not on every corner.
With this in mind, I have compiled a list of items that every person should carry when out for a run.
This is an absolute must! If you are doing a short trail run (60 minutes or less) a hand held bottle will suffice. I recommend something that is at least 24oz. If it is extremely hot, I recommend carrying 2 hand held bottles. For comfort and convenience get a bottle that has adjustable hand straps with a pocket.
For longer runs over 60 minutes, or if you are not a fan of running with a bottle in your hand, a hydration pack is the way to go. They are lightweight and can safely hold important items while on the trails. I personally recommend the Nathan hydration backpacks as they are durable and comfortable. They have a large selection to choose from including gender specific fits and styles, and multiple bladder capacities that are easy to clean. The best thing about these backpacks are the multiple storage pockets that will hold all your essential supplies.
One of the most overlooked items on the trail is food. When on long training runs it is important to constantly fuel to provide your body energy to burn. The last thing you want to do is “Bonk” on the trail. Items like gels, bars, or chews are great choices. They are easy to carry, easy to digest, and specially formulated to give your body the fuel it needs.
A few safety items that you should carry and may use on a regular basis include:
Hopefully you will never need to use the following items, but you should always be prepared in case of emergency. These can easily fit in a hydration backpack so there is no excuse to not carry them:
Non Essential - Nice to Have items
Some of the following items seem ridiculous or funny, but like I mentioned before, you need to be ready for the unknown and unexpected.
Other recommendations in terms of equipment:
Trail shoes are designed to provide extra protection and traction while running on uneven and rough terrain. My biggest caution when looking into shoes for any type of running is do not get shoes that encourage bad run form (heel strike, slow pull, etc.). I personally do not run with trail specific shoes, nor do I run with running specific shoes. The shoe that I love to run in is the Reebok Nano 2.0. These are CrossFit shoes, but my favorite running shoe!
I am a huge fan of Oakley’s, especially the styles that allow me to change out lenses. For trail running I recommend a lighter tint lens. This will allow you to see the trail a lot clearer in shadowed areas. In the open field they may be a little brighter than the dark lenses, but a small price to pay for being able to see all holes, rocks, roots, etc. on a single track under the tress.
Oakley Trail Lens
The trails are a ton of fun and extremely beautiful. Depending on the trail and time of day, you may be alone for extended periods of time and need to be self reliant. The items recommended above are minimal, yet meant to get you out of a tricky situation and keep you comfortable, but most important - Help Keep You Safe!
This list is not set in stone and you can add/subtract items as you feel necessary, and per length of run. If you need more infomration or want to discuss this stuff more, just reach out to Coach Caesar.
Get ready for the trails!