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What gear do you need for trail running?

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It is true that when you come across other trail runners, they are quite often carrying a lot of gear!Unlike road running, you have to carry a certain amount of equipment when trail running in order to cope with the problems you will encounter along the route. So what should you take with you and why?

 

Suitable trail running shoes   

Naturally, the most important piece of equipment is the pair of trail running shoes and they must be chosen with utmost care. Throughout the race, there will be plenty of difficulties to overcome without having the additional problem of painful feet!

When choosing a pair of trail running shoes, you need to consider the usual criteria that apply to choosing normal running shoes, i.e. cushioning, energy response, comfort and weight. But these are not the only criteria:cushioning, stability and protection are essential. Trail running shoes have lugged soles to provide good grip on wet and slippery terrain. The more lugs there are and the more clearly-defined they are, the more grip the shoe will have.

As for the stability and protection of the shoe, this is what makes you feel safe on challenging downhill sections and reduces the risk of sprains or knocks against stones.

Depending on your level of ability and/or your objectives, you need to take into account certain criteria:

- Objective of finishing:focus on comfort.

The Kalenji Kiprun XT6 will be your best solution. A shoe that offers the best possible protection, stability and grip for finishing your race under the best possible conditions.

- Objective of performing well:focus on low weight

The Kalenji Kiprace Trail 3 is a lightweight, fast shoe with unquestionable grip.

In addition to the shoes, it is strongly recommended to wear special running socks (designed to reduce friction). For long distances, there are double layer socks, such as the Kiprun Strap, which is perfect for combating any irritation. This sock also provides additional compression at the ankle to help prevent sprains.

 

Durable and practical clothing

When participating in a trail run, you are usually committed to a sustained level of effort during which you will have to cope with relatively "hostile" sections (forests, river, brambles, stones, etc.). Your clothing must therefore be relatively hardwearing to protect you and not tear while offering maximum breathability.

In order to carry your supplies with you, it is advisable to wear shorts, tight shorts or running tights with many pockets, of various sizes.With this type of clothing – such as the trail baggy shorts – it is possible to take part in short trail runs while carrying energy bars, gels and water bottles, without having to burden yourself with a backpack!

Wearing compression clothing (or muscle support clothing) can also come in useful, particularly when taking on challenging downhill sections that can put a lot of strain on muscles. Compression tights can be worn to reduce muscle vibrations and delay the onset of fatigue. As for compression sleeves worn at the calves, they provide protection from branches and brambles in addition to the muscle support benefits!

For longer events, the weather conditions can vary (particularly on mountain trail runs). In this case, it is preferable to take a wind jacket with you at the very least, or possibly a waterproof jacket (this may indeed be mandatory for some races). A feature of these jackets is their very compact size and low weight, thereby using up as little space as possible in your backpack. Some jackets can even fit inside the pocket of your shorts or running tights, such as the Kalenji Trail running winter jacket!For more difficult weather conditions, the trail running waterproof jacket will protect you from heavy downpours!

 

Added extras that can become essential!

In order to complete your outfit, other elements of equipment can be useful or even essential to ensure that your outing runs smoothly:

- The backpack. Its size must be tailored to the distance and length of the run so that you can carry all your provisions and any additional mandatory equipment. For trail runs lasting 3 hours or less, a 2 to 5L backpack is sufficient for storing your liquid and solid provisions as well as a lightweight jacket. The hydration belt option can also be used according to preference. For runs exceeding 3 hours, a larger sized backpack can be used to carry more substantial provisions as well as all the mandatory equipment (rain jacket and trousers, second layer, phone, survival blanket, first aid kit, etc.)

- The poles. Poles are advisable for long trail runs with significant elevation gains. They help to relieve the thighs and keep the body upright, thereby improving breathing. Telescopic poles or folding poles are extremely practical as they can be fastened to the backpack when required.

- The headlamp. Essential for overnight trail runs or night-time starts! Depending on the run being prepared, the power of the lighting and the battery life should be taken into consideration when making your choice.

- The GPS watch. Although not essential, a GPS watch can make a significant difference!It can be used to help you manage your race by adjusting your speed and is also useful for checking the distance covered or the elevation. If you do not have a GPS watch, you can use your smartphone with an armband or by carrying it in your hand.

 

You now know the different elements of equipment that you can take with you according to what you need.Don't forget to check that you have the gear that is mandatory for your next race and, above all, don't forget to stay cheerful and enjoy yourself!

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