Trail Running Gear – Clothes

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,792
    Running Expert Ron Bowman discusses proper trail running clothes.

    Ron Bowman: Hi! I'm Ron Bowman and today we're talking about tips for beginning trail running. Next, we're going to talk a little bit about the clothing that might be involved in trail running.

    First, what I have here in my hand is called a gaiter, and it's probably unique to trail running, because it's designed to go around the foot and ankle and prevent rocks, stones, twigs, things like that from jumping up and getting into the shoe, and causing discomfort as you run or forcing you to stop and take your shoe off.

    They're really very simple. They just slip over your shoe like this. They velcro, and they provide a nice cover for the laces and the accesses to the ankle. Sometimes you can get them at a waterproof, if you happen to be running through -- I know you're going to be running through streams. Now they good for keeping the mud off of the shoelaces so that if you have to untie your shoes, it's a little easier to get to. They provide a good extra little warmth, if it happens to be a little cold.

    Another piece of clothing that trail runners often use is a neckerchief. A neckerchief comes in handy for a number of different reasons. One, they can keep the sun off of your neck. They're good for wiping the sweat off of your eyes as you're running so that you don't have to stop and fumble for a handkerchief or something like that. They're good for identification also. It can be bright, distinctive neckerchief, will certainly let support people in your personal crew know it's you that's coming down the trail when they're looking for you during your trails runs.

    The next piece of clothing we'll talk about is the shirts. Shirts are pretty typical for trail running and road runners alike. You want to get something that's reflective, something that will also wick away the sweat and the heat during the summer and keep the warmth in during the winter. Trail runners usually like the long sleeves, because they provide a little bit more protection, little bit further down the line than the singlets, the sleeveless type, a little loose-fitting so that you can put things on, underneath them, or over them. But pretty much the shirt is very much like what you'd use for road running.

    The other part of trail running gear would be the shorts and the shorts again are very much like what you'd be using for road running. So it's not that you have to run out and look for particular type of trail running shorts or trail running shirts. When you're getting started, go ahead and use what you're comfortable with when you're road running, and you'll see as you go along or something might fit a little bit better, a little looser, provide a little bit more room for pockets to carry extra equipment in or extra energy gels, but you want something that's loose-fitting that goes a little bit further down the leg to prevent the chafing, and again it can be warm during the winter and provide a little bit of ventilation during the summer month as you're running.

    Draw straps are actually good for trail shorts, because if you are carrying items in your pockets or around your waist, they can tend to drag the shorts down. So if you cinch him up a little bit, you're not always going to have to be hiking your shorts up as you run.

    The next piece of clothing that we'll talk about is the hat. Much like wearing a hat for road running is to keep the sun out of your eyes and to provide a little bit of warmth and the color temperatures and to wick away the heat in the warmer temperatures, and obviously, a little bit of mesh, something that's light.

    Now the one thing about wearing a hat on trail runs is that when you're running in the woods, it tends to be a lot of reflection bouncing off the leaves when the sun comes through. That can be distracting when you're trail-running, because it causes kind of a dancing effect and it can distract your attention from the trail that you're on and can even cause you to trip. So a brim will help keep that reflection off a little bit more and have you a little bit more stable in your running on the trails.

    But one thing that you want to think about is the socks that you wear. Now just like road running you want to make sure that they fit, that have the right thickness to go with you shoes so that you don't have as much slipping around, particularly when you're running on trails, because your foot is going to be slipping around. You're going to be do a lot of rocking forward and often to the sides, so you don't want the foot slipping inside the shoe. You want a nice snug fit.

    But the socks you also want to come up a little bit higher again, because the tendency to kick yourself as you're running just because of the rocks and the uneven terrain. You want to be able to have some protection there, and also the mud and any twigs and things like that you might get kicked up that'll give you a little bit more protection.

    Now some trail runners like to have the calf high socks, others are little bit lower. But usually you don't want anything lower than the calf area which is where you might catch yourself when you kick yourself with the other shoe. That's a little bit about the clothing that you might want to look at for wearing during trail running.

    They are the items of clothing that you can wear, but they serve pretty much the same purpose is that that you would for road running. You just want to make sure that it's a good fit that it works for you and that you try it out, before you do any extended trail running.

    Next we're going to talk about how to prevent injuries for trail running.