Dearly beloved runners,
Part of the attraction of trail running to me is its simplicity.
If you have a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you're set! Obviously some footwear would be good too but that's it!
I've turned up at the start line at fell races in the 'grim north' and seen all sorts of attire. From those with the best 'you can't bend it', most shiny, best wicking, most compressed, most breathable, waterproof, lightest, most expensive gear to those with just an old vest in 1980s colours, a pair of cut off Ronhill tracksters and some Dunlop plimpsols.
Funnily enough, the more scruffy the runner, the quicker they seemed.
But were they comfortable? Or did they just enjoy being at the mercy of the elements as a sort of penance against all the bad things they had done in the week!
As the owner of a business that sells trail running gear, it helps keep the wolves from the door if my customers buy lots of kit but do you need it?
In essence no, but will you enjoy just running in what is in the bottom of your draw on a wind and rain swept trail? Probably not.
So what's my point?
Yes you can just run in your birthday suit but wearing goods specifically designed for trail running will make you far more comfortable on everything from easy forest tracks to gnarly mountain trods.
For example, road running shoes are okay on muddy slopes, but trail shoes are better, offering more grip and greater stability. Conversely trail shoes won't give you your best pb on a flat road 10k!
A fact often overlooked by many and in particularly men, is how the clothes you wear make you feel! Looking good helps breed confidence which comes out in your running. Even just putting a nice, well-fitting pair of running tights can cause an instant desire to step out and get on the trail.
Look good, run well and feel good.
There is always the fashion element too, keeping up with the Joneses and all that! But the good news is that there are no rules when it comes to trail running. Go ahead and express yourself!
Just remember the ultimate goal is to be comfortable and happy! If running in the wrong gear makes you miserable, then change what you're wearing.
Running is a gift and one of the few free drugs still available.
Finally the selling bit...
If you need new gear then get advice from those in the know at independent specialist running stores, who are runners and ultimately, consumers too! We tend to stock gear we believe in and genuinely have your best interests at heart.
Here endeth the lesson.
Mind how you run,