We’ve already established that trail running is non-intimidating, fun and easy to get into.
And while running on trails isn’t really any different than running on the road, there are a couple of things that will keep you more comfortable when you’re out in the elements, especially if you’re going for a while.
Osprey Rev 1.5 Pack ($70)
It’s smart to bring water, especially when you’re out for a long run, but hydration packs can be tricky. If they don’t fit right, they can bounce, slosh or chafe. The 2-liter Rev is big enough to power you through long runs, but it sits close to your back and cinches around you, so it doesn’t move.
The mesh back won’t sweat through, even when you sweat through your shirt, which helps eliminate chafing, too. It also has well-designed pockets for your phone and snacks … Which is nice.
Wigwam Ridge Runner Pro Socks ($14)
Blisters and hot spots can be the quickest end to your run, and you are more prone to getting them when you’re running on trails, because you’re moving laterally more. So, choose your socks wisely. Wigwam Ridge Runner Pro Socks are a biomapped mix of their patented ULTIMAX fabric and breathable, stink-free merino wool that stretch where they need to and stay slip-free and sweatless where they don’t.
They also have options that come up higher in the ankle and calf, if you think you’re going to be bushwacking off trail.
Icebreaker Zone Half Zip ($120)
Maybe the most balanced mid-layer, Icebreaker’s Zone is body mapped to keep you warm where you need it and ventilated where you get sweaty. They call it BodyfitZONE construction and it makes the top ideal as your body heats up on the run. It uses 200-gram merino wool for the body and shoulders, and thinner, more breathable, 120-gram yarns for the armpits and other hot zones.
It’s also stretchy, chafe-free and soft. And, because it’s wool, it takes a long time to get stinky, too, so it’s a good layer to bring for long-haul trips (or even just long weekends), when you’re going to be working out a bunch but not washing your clothes much.
Smith Asana Pivlock ($160)
Shades can be a huge help, but when you’re moving a lot it can be hard to find a pair that stays put. You won’t even notice the feather-light Asana Pivlock on your face. The nose adjusts to conform to your face, all the points of contact are hydrophilic, so they’ll stay sticky when you get sweaty, and the carbonic TLT lenses are big enough to block out glare without going full Kardashian. There’s also a men’s version, the Arena, which is slightly bigger but has similar features.
Patagonia Houdini Pullover ($99)
Layering can be tough when you’re moving through different climates, especially in the fall when temperatures can change quickly over the day. You don’t want more layers than you can carry, but you definitely don’t want to be left out in the cold. The super-light, wind- and water-resistant Houdini even stuffs into its own tiny pocket.
It won’t weigh you down at all, but you’ll be glad you have it if conditions change. It even holds up if you get stuck in a slight snowstorm. The pullover style is particularly streamlined.
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix ($1.50)
Sometimes you want more than just water. Skratch’s hydration powder, which comes from all-natural ingredients, will keep you hydrated, won’t leave a weird taste in your mouth and will give you the vitamins, minerals and electrolytes you need. It was developed by Tour de France nutritionists, so it works for long hauls.
We like the green tea version, which has a slight kick of caffeine. Also check out their chews and their cookie mix.
Bonus Tip: Get A good hat
No need to be picky on this one, but a lid will keep the sun off, and keep you feeling 30 percent drier if it starts to rain. (Science. Maybe.)
So it’s good to have one regardless of the weather. Maybe pick one up after your first race for subtle bragging rights. That should round out your running kit nicely.
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