Friday, November 1, 2013

My Trail Running Essentials

One of my favorite trails, Mesa Marshall in South Boulder. 
One of my favorite trails, Mesa Marshall in South Boulder.

Since moving to Colorado, I've fallen in love with trail running. The solitude, the wide open spaces, the sun on my face, and dust at my heels. There's truly no better feeling than traversing a dirt path, soaking in the mountain views that surround me. The best part? No awkward bounce-in-place running at stop lights! These days, I can't imagine not running on a trail, and thankfully Boulder provides ample opportunity to partake with one of the most extensive networks of trails in the country. #grateful As I've become a more serious trail enthusiast, I've accumulated a list of  personal"essentials." (Note: many of these could also apply to road running.) 

  Trail Running Essentials:
  • lululemon Run: Inspire Crops and Run: Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve. Recent PR snafus aside, I've yet to find more functional running basics than these two lulu pieces. The Power Luxtreme fabric in the crops supports major muscles as they absorb the impact of the rocky terrain. The tee is super breathable, and just the right weight for almost any weather; from scorching summer afternoons to brisk autumn mornings. It also layers perfectly under a light jacket during colder months.
  • Amphipod Handheld Hydration. I usually don't run long enough distances to justify mid-run hydration, but the combination of dry air and altitude can easily create a pretty serious dehydration situation on mid-distance or longer runs. If I plan to tackle more than a couple miles, I'll carry this lightweight handheld water bottle so I can sip throughout. It comes in a variety of sizes, and fits perfectly in the hand.
  • Oakley Commit. The uneven footing on a trail can cause regular sunglasses to bounce right off your head, so a sport-specific pair is key. I don't actually have these Oakleys, but they're on my holiday wish list.  (In the meantime, I borrow my husband's pair.)
  • Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes. I absolutely love my Brooks Cascadias and - if the reviews are any indication - I'm not the only one. Cascadias are the best womens' trail running shoe on the market, suitable for beginners and elite ultra-runners alike. They're supportive without being bulky, and can do double-duty for light hikes. Also? After a year and a half of moderate use, mine are in perfect shape with almost no wear and tear.
  • Smartwool PhD Run Light Micro. Lightweight, yet nicely cushioned, these are the perfect socks for under my Brooks.
  • Other important stuff: sunscreen, lip balm, and good upbeat tunes. (I don't always listen to music, because I sometimes prefer to simply enjoy my natural surroundings.)
  • One last word on safety. I tend to carry my cell phone on trail runs, especially if I'm running alone. You never know when you'll sprain an ankle, take a wrong turn, or come across a lost dog and need to call its owner (all three of these things have happened to me). Trails can be somewhat deserted, so it's important to be able to call for back-up if needed. Bonus: with your phone handy, you can Instagram those beautiful views!
What are your must-haves for running (trail or otherwise)?

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