Trail Running | Gear Checklist for Beginner of Trail Running
Mountain sport has become more popular and trail running is known as one of the emerging mountain sports. Trail running means running in the mountains through different trails, and the conditions of routes are changeable and complex, which makes trail running exciting but also dangerous at times.
The gear should be chosen according to the route before going for a trail run. Let’s discover 5 essential trail running gears that we recommend below, which can deal with most of the routes, and also greatly reduce the risk of injury. That makes trail running becoming more easily enjoyable.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running shoes are one of the most important gears. Trails are composed of undulating and complex terrain, such as sand-covered routes and stone steps in different sizes. It is especially important to choose a pair of trail running shoes with lugged soles and toe protection, which the sole effectively grips the trail surface as well as reducing the risk of slipping when running in high speed. The design of toe protection can prevent injury when kicking into rocks or branches. In addition, support is another important element in trail running shoes. The strong support can bear the weight of the body and reduce the instability of the ankle and the risk of muscle injury caused by overuse. When it comes to buying a pair of trail running shoes, beginners should put these elements into consideration - grip, support, weight and wear-resistance.
Most trail routes are long-distance and also consist of a lot of uphill and downhill, consuming a lot of energy and hydration. Therefore, it is necessary to keep water and energy gel handy during the run in order to replenish the lost fluid and energy. A trail backpack with 5L to 15L capacity is big enough to carry all the supplies and personal belongings for trail running, such as water bladder, energy bars, wind jacket, wallet, phone and keys. In addition, the trail backpack has chest pockets for storing soft water flasks and energy gel, which can be easily reached for replenishment anytime and anywhere. Another feature of trail backpack is its chest strap design. By adjusting the strap, the backpack can stick close to the body. It can prevent the backpack swinging during running as well as reducing the impact on performance. The running distance, quantity of supplies, weight and breathability are factors that runners should consider when choosing the right size of trail backpack.
Windproof, Waterproof and Breathable Clothing
Trail running is a highly physically-demanding sport, so it is important to wear breathable clothing, which offers strong moisture absorption and quick drying features. Those can keep the body dry and slow down the loss of energy by absorbing the sweat discharged from the body. In Hong Kong, trail running mostly happens in autumn and winter when the temperature is low, so a windproof and waterproof windbreaker is an indispensable gear which keeps the body warm as well as coping with the changeable weather in the mountain, such as sudden strong winds and showers. The most suitable types of clothes for trail running is a breathable and quick-drying top and pants, along with a windproof and waterproof windbreaker, which can keep the body dry and reduce the loss of body temperature.
Sun Protection Gear
Trail running requires a high level of concentration as runners need to decide where to make for the next foot step when running at a high speed. If the sun is too dazzling, it will affect the runner's vision and lead to misjudgment. It might slow down the running speed or even cause ankle sprains and falls. Wearing sunglasses and sun hat can reduce the impact of sun glare, allowing to see the trail conditions clearly and reduce accidents. In addition, energy can drain quickly when working out too long under the sun potentially leading to heat stroke and shock. Sun protection gears such as hats and sun protection sleeves can also block direct sunlight and keep your skin cool.
During trail running, it is important to carry sufficient water to prevent energy drain. We recommend preparing about 700ml of water for every 5 kilometers. The amount of water can be adjusted according to the weather and physical condition, while energy supplements can be determined according to the distance and difficulty of the trail route. For example, the short distance route only requires salt tablet, and the long-distance route requires energy gel or small rice balls. First aid kit is also one of the necessary items. If you are injured during the run, it can provide bandages, disinfectants and dressings needed for first aid to slow down the injury.
Apart from sufficient and suitable trail running gears, a good sleep can also help improve your physical and mental state as well as reduce the risk of injury and improve sports performance.