Top 10 Essentials For Trail Running

 |  Running  | 

It is human nature to want change. When you get into a routine or hit your comfort zone, it is common for runners to easily get bored with things. If you too have grown bored with running down on the same streets or routes, then trail running could be for you. Trail running could help you fall back in love with running again.

Although trail running is fun and enjoyable, it can be quite different to running on the road. With the right equipment, you can easily enjoy running on rugged and rough terrain. Read more for the top 10 essentials for trail running.

Trail running not only allows you to discover new running routes but also allows you to connect with Mother Nature. We know this may sound cheesy but some of us in the office think so too. After all, you must be tired of looking at the same buildings, cars and roads. A sight of greenery, trees, hills, and even the sound of nature will help you feel like a new person if you do decide give trail running a try.


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If you tend to run in the gym, running on the trail usually offers a better and more enjoyable workout than the treadmill. You burn more calories because you propel your own body weight forward rather then the belt on the treadmill. And the natural hills you encounter can help tone your legs, increase your endurance and can actually make you run faster naturally.

Top 10 Trail Running Essentials

If you are new or existing trail runner, you need to make sure you have some of the essentials to make your trail running experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Here are the top 10 trail running essentials:

1. Trail Running Shoes
The most important thing is specialist trail running shoes. The most distinct feature of trail running is the rough and rugged terrain that you may encounter and you’ll need to ensure to buy running shoes specifically designed for trail running as they usually provide extra grip, comfort and stability over normal running shoes. Some of the features you should look for when shopping for trail running shoes are:

  • Reinforced toe box
  • Better protection from the elements
  • Aggressive tread
  • A rock plate

We recommended you look at trail running shoes such as Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe, New Balance MT510’s or ASICS GEL-Kahana 6’s.

2. Gaiters
Gaiters can be useful for trail running as they can prevent stones and other debris from entering the top of your shoes. This is great for reducing the chance of blisters and major discomfort while running. Gaiters cover the upper part of the shoes and can be easily removed if not needed. Brands such as Solomon and ASICS offer suitable and relatively cheap options for trail runners.

3. Backpack
Depending how adventurous you are feeling and how far you plan to run, it might be a good idea to bring along with you a small backpack. There are many options available on the market that offer backpacks designed specifically for runners.

There are 5-liter backpacks that will help you carry your bare essentials on short runs such as your mobile cell phone, keys, purse and gloves. On the other hand, there are also much bigger running backpack options from 10-liter to 20-liter backpacks that allow runners to carry much more on longer runs. If you do decide to buy a backpack for running, we recommend the packs that feature a built-in water supply or hydration pack. This ensures you can keep your body hydrated while running.

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4. Jacket
If you don’t mind running in the rain or during the colder seasons, it’s always a good idea to bring a suitable jacket when the weather is bad. Jackets that can easily be rolled up into a pouch, lightweight and made from water repellent fabrics are highly recommended. Trail running with a jacket during the colder seasons is especially important because most trail places can be cold and damp.

5. Apparel
What to wear for trail running highly depends on your own preference for sports apparel, the season it is and the levels of comfort. For example, during the spring and summer months, most runners would happily run in shorts. But during the autumn and winter months, running tights might be the most suitable attire of choice for runners as this keeps you warm while providing provide protection against any foliage scraping against your legs.

6. Hat
To protect your eyes and face from the sun, it’s always advisable to wear a hat or cap while running. This allows you to stay focused on the terrain.

7. Trekking Poles
Although traditionally associated with hiking, some trail runners also bring along trekking poles. Bringing along a pair of poles during your trail runs can be useful if you encounter lakes, rivers or rough terrain where you could lose your footing or balance. They can also provide great support to help keep the pressure and strain off your back when climbing up hills. Using such poles can allow runners to cross such obstacles in a safe and comfortable way while reducing the risk of injury.

8. GPS Sports Watch
If you want to take your running seriously and interested in keep track of your progress, a GPS sports watch is the perfect training tool for trail runners. As well as allowing you to keep track of your times, most sports watches that feature GPS allow you to plan and track your running routes. So if you ever did get lost, you could easily navigate yourself back to the start. You can read our list of recommended sports watches here.

9. Mobile Cell Phone
Trail running can be a lot of fun as it takes you away from the city and can reward you with beautiful landscapes. Although running in the trail allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Mother Nature has to offer, it can also be dangerous. This is why you should always bring a mobile cell phone with you in an event of an accident or so someone can contact you.

10. Food and water
Depending on how long and far you plan to run for, it’s essential to bring an adequate supply of water and food. If you intend to go for well over an hour, it’s advisable to bring a few energy bars, gels and a big bottle of water to keep you going.

What essentials do you bring for your trail runs? Please let us know in the comments below.