10 Trail Running Essentials

Trail Run gear

I am headed to the Alps in a few weeks for some trail running, so am trying to put in the base miles now. It is also a good way to get me off the bike once in awhile to do a bit of cross training. The nice thing about running is that not a ton of gear is involved, but here are my essentials. Trail dog not included.

Pearl Izumi Pursuit Endurance Short Sleeve ($55): Providing UPF 50+ sun protection, the lightweight, moisture wicking fabric is treated with Icefil to help cool you down when you really start to sweat. And the screaming pink color ensures you are seen whether running on the trail or the road. Seamless mesh panels under the arm and along the side help to keep the breeze flowing, while a tiny hidden pocket on the left sleeve is just the right size for an energy gel.

Falke Control Maximum Support Bra: The double-layer compression fabric on this bra pulls everything in and keeps it in place during high-intensity activity.

Pearl Izumi Pursuit 6″ Short ($55): The super soft, featherweight material of these shorts almost makes you feel like you are running in your pajamas. They are that comfortable. A pocket at the back of the wide waistband is the perfect size for holding a pack of Honey Stinger Protein Chews and your keys. The pocket is even big enough for my iPhone 6 when I want to make sure my run counts on Strava or listen to music. Since the weight is held close to the small of your back, you don’t get stuff bouncing around as you run. For those that like shorter inseams for their running shorts, the Pursuit also comes in a 3″ length.

Balega Hidden Contour Socks ($14): Needless to say, all my crazy calf height cycling socks don’t go so well with my running kit. I love these Balega socks as they blend in with the line of your running shoes but the heel tab keeps them from slipping down as you run. They feel nice and plush underneath and help wick away sweat so you don’t end up with blisters after pounding out the miles.

Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v2 ($120): The Trail N2 remain my favorite trail running shoe. The E:Motion midsole delivers the most fluid and natural running experience out there and on the v2, Pearl Izumi added a more aggressive, multi-directional Carbon Rubber outsole for better traction and abrasion resistance. When running along the multi-use path near my house, I’ll switch to the Road N2 v3 ($120) and throw in some Sof Sole Fit insoles ($40) to add a bit of extra comfort for my creaky knees. I had my arch type analyzed at the last Outdoor Retailer, so know that I need a neutral arch insole. I throw these insoles inside all my city shoes as well.

Julbo Zephyr Sunglasses ($180): With photochromic Zebra lenses that transition from Cat 2 to Cat 4, these ultralight sunglasses enable you to see throughout the varying light conditions of the trail. The full venting design and anti-fog treatment come in handy when running slowly uphill.

FuelBelt Helium Sprint Palm Holder ($15): I don’t run for hours on end so don’t need a full running vest but do want some water on the hot, dusty trails around my house. At 10 ounces, the Helium Sprint offers just the right amount of hydration and fits nicely in my hand. The Velcro adjust hand strap is padded for extra comfort.

Where the Road Ends by Meghan M. Hicks and Bryon Powell ($22): There is more to trail running than just putting on some shoes and going for a run. This book by ultra-running legends Hicks and Powell offers up some great advice on improving your form and breathing technique to become more efficient and therefore use less energy when running technical terrain, all while saving your muscles from getting too overworked in the process. There is also a whole section on training exercises to make you a stronger and faster runner.

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