“It’s not where you take the trail, it’s where the trail takes you” – Unknown
Are you getting tired of running the same routes every day? Trail running could be the exact change you need to your routine. For many runners who’ve left the pavement, there’s often no looking back. Aside from providing a connection to nature, trail running is said to offer a variety of health benefits.
But, since trail running is very different to just running along the road, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. So, if you’re a newbie to SA’s trail running scene, Payflex outlines all the essential equipment you need to lace up, head into nature, and kick-start your trail running adventure.
The choice of your trail pack is very important. You’ll need a lightweight backpack to carry everything you’ll need to take with you. Be sure to choose something breathable, foldable and compact that doesn’t get in the way while trail running.
2. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated on a trail run is vital. Remember to take water with you as you never know how long it is going to take or if fresh water sources are available on your route. The key is to ensure your water can be stored as efficiently as possible.
3. Prepare for changing weather
Ensure you’re ALWAYS prepared for changing weather conditions on a trail run. There are certain items you should always ensure you pack for a trail run including a breathable top and hat for warmer conditions, and a waterproof windbreaker for cold and wet conditions.
4. Versatile buffs
A buff is an absolute essential for trail runners. Aside from weighing hardly anything, they’re also highly versatile. Multi-purpose buffs can be used as a headband for warmer conditions, a scarf for colder conditions, a wristband to wipe sweat away, and even as a tourniquet if you or someone on the trail gets injured.
5. Ensure you stay on track
Having a phone on you during a trail run is essential, especially if you get injured or have an unforeseen medical emergency. A smartphone or GPS watch will also help ensure you stay on track and don’t lose your way. They can also track your distance, pace, calorie burn and heart rate.
6. Protect your feet
If you want to make trail running part of your life, you’ll need to invest in a good pair of trail running shoes. Good shoes will protect your feet from sharp and hazardous objects, as well as provide you with much-need traction and stability. When buying trail running shoes, it’s important to consider what type of terrain you will be frequenting (smooth, flat, or steep).
Whether running an all-night ultra marathon, running early in the morning before the sun comes up, or later in the afternoon when the sun is setting, you will need a headlamp to light up the trail. When road running, you generally have street lights to guide you. But when you venture off the beaten track, it is essential to have a headlamp to guide you safely. Logging kilometres in the dark can also be an incredible experience both physically and mentally.
8. Power Bank
When you’re relying on your phone for directions and potentially reaching out for help in case of emergencies, you’ll want to ensure it is always charged. Ensure you take a power bank with you when venturing on a trail run, just in case.
Many trails can be very exposed to the sun. Keep your Ray-Bans for social occasions. For trail running, you will need something far more durable to protect your eyes and something that will fit more efficiently to your face.
3. Runperf Photochromatic Adult Running Glasses – R549
Trekking poles can make a huge difference on longer trail runs and races, especially when on steeper terrain. They can add power on steep climbs by enabling you to use both your legs and arms to climb up and down hills. Poles also improve your stability, provide greater safety, and, with the correct technique, poles can make you move faster for longer.