We get asked all the time what are the most important, or first things, a new trail runner needs to be successful on their first trip into the mountains. If you can develop the confidence in yourself, you’ll fall in love with the dirt just like we have.
The feet hit the dirt first. Hopefully, if you get the right kind of shoes, your elbows and knees will never hit the dirt. Well, we can’t say that hasn’t happened to us! We might have face planted it a time or two. But, seriously, shoes are so important.
Trail shoes are different than road shoes in a few different ways. Mainly, a thicker lug on the bottom of the shoe will grip the ground better than a slick, road shoe. This helps on the slick rocks and on any steep downhill descents. Also, look for a good amount of support around the ankle to adapt to the rocks and switchbacks.
The added rocks and climbing on the trails can put stress on the calves. Of course, we LOVE our CEP compression socks. So many options with CEP from the length of the socks, crazy cool colors, to different fabrics for different seasons in the year. Blisters used to be a weekly occurrence until we found the CEP Light Merino Socks.
You can’t go wrong with a wool sock all year. They don’t slip inside the shoe on a downhill run, and they can hang for a full day Ultramarathon. Oh! Did we mention, the high socks are the perfect barrier when you get lost on a trail and end up bushwhacking through scrub oak? I bet CEP didn’t realize they were also making shin guards for lost wanderers.
Never go into the mountains or new trails without knowing where you’re going and what your surroundings look like. So many options that can help you plan your route and keep you tracking while out and about. Favorites for us are our Suunto Spartan Watches. We can download custom maps from Movescount onto our watches. Total lifesavers. If you don’t want to put down the money on a little arm candy, there are plenty of free or cheap apps that can help. All Trails, Map My Run, Strava are some that we have used and think are very user-friendly.
Hydration and nutrition can never be overlooked on the trails. A short, 5 miles run, can turn into a few hours depending on the terrain. We’ve learned through some good and bad times, that you can never be too prepared. We love Ultimate Direction Jenny Packs. They're made for women’s' bodies. Including all the curves. Options for front, soft flasks to a larger bladder in the back of the pack. If you know you’ll be crossing a river or stream to fill up, check out any of the mini filter straws. You can drink right from the filter straw instead of carrying extra weight on your back. Also, back enough nutrition that is light to carry but gives sufficient calories just in case you find a trail that just should be explored.
OKAY! That’s a good start! We hope you find the outdoors and mountains as exhilarating and uplifting as we do. It truly rejuvenates us so we can be the best moms, wives, and coaches we can be. Let us know if you get out on the trails!!!
Love, CRAZY MOTHER RUNNERS