Tackling a trail race soon? Making the right decision on what gear to use during your race is as important as getting a good night sleep the night before. Not having the right gear, like adequate trail running shoes, can make or break your race. Most trail races, especially anything exceeding a 50K) will have a compulsory kit list, but for the ones that do not, here are the bare minimums you may need of gear during your race and even training.
The clothing options for runners these days range wildly. Choose clothing which is light-weight, durable, comfortable and weather-appropriate. For hot days, you may want to opt for a singlet, some arm sleeves, a trucker hat, and a pair of shorts. Head wraps/bandanas are a great addition to your running kit, as they are one of the most adaptable accessories which can be worn in at least a dozen different ways. They are versatile and can help you handle unexpected weather all year round.
When you are hopping over rocks or slogging through mud, you may find that road shoes just will not cut it. Find a trail shoe that is comfortable with a tread that will work on the terrain you run on, be it rocks, desert or hard-packed dirt. The same shoe will not work for everyone, so trust your personal preference and instinct. You may also want to opt for a size slightly bigger than your normal shoe size, as your feet tend swell up while running long distances. A larger shoe allows your feet to stretch out and help you have a better balance.
For shorter trail runs, a handheld water bottle will do the trick. It is easy to carry and they are usually ergonomically design for a comfortable grip. For an inexpensive and reliable handheld, you checkout our RRUNN Handheld Bottle.
Longer races usually require that you wear a hydration vest. Hydration vests allow you to carry not only water and your electrolyte mix but also, give you space to carry snacks, other running accessories, and give you freedom from holding anything in your hand. Most hydration vests have two front pockets where you can fit soft flasks. Soft flasks now a days come with sipper valves or straws. Others also give you the option to carry a water reservoir.
Your choice on whether to use a handheld or hydration vest is many times determined by the length of the race and expected conditions.
If your run is anywhere close to nightfall, pack a small, light headlamp just in case you end up behind schedule. It is better to carry a couple ounces than have to struggle your way out of the jungle or forest in the dark. And usually, most races that will go into the night, require that you carry a headlamp.
Due to the unpredictable nature of trail running, it is well worth taking a few extra pieces just in case your race does not go as you had planned. You can check out some of our amazing light-weight running gear here.