Coming from a track and road racing running background, I have never really understood the appeal of trail running. Several years ago, I ran a 30 kilometer trail race and I found the whole experience extremely frustrating. My pace was slow, my shoes got muddy, my feet felt swollen and bruised, I slipped every few steps, and I was sooo thirsty (turns out aid stations are usually a little further apart in trail races than road races). So that was the end of trail running for me, until now. I like to think I am older and wiser than I used to be and more in touch with nature, yada yada, but the truth is I am frustrated with road running (I’m slow), I have become obsessed with ultrarunnerpodcast.com (I’m very impressionable. I am every advertiser’s dream), and trail running offers an entirely new category of very cool running gear to acquire (I’m a born shopper). As I do with all my obsessions, I am jumping into this one with both feet (no pun intended). I have targeted a 50K trail race in October called the Palo Duro Trail Run, I have started logging all of my runs on the trails in the wildlife preserve surrounding my neighborhood, and I have been shopping. A lot. Sorry, Honey.
To start with, I ordered these beauties.
They are Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra trail running shoes. They are my first pair of trail shoes ever purchased which I selected by googling “best trail running shoes” and reading a slew of reviews. I make all my big decisions based on google searches. I see nothing wrong with that – if it’s on the internet, it must be true. Anyhow, they came the other day and I have worn them around a bit and I must say, trail running shoes will take a little getting used to. They are a little heavier and stiffer than I am accustomed to, but I can already tell that they will protect my feet from the rocks that litter every trail here in Central Texas. My only real complaint about them is that there is not a trace of pink anywhere on this shoe! Just kidding… no, I’m actually not, I like pink… like… a lot. So, to add a little pink flair to my running gear, I went ahead and order this little guy.
Hydration is very important Seriously though, this is one area of trail running that I am little overwhelmed by. There are so many hydration options: handheld water bottles, hydration belts, and hydration vests. What works best? Anybody? I would LOVE some advice on this topic. I am starting with a single handheld because I don’t run very far right now and because it is the cheapest of the above options, but I would like to know what other people use in long trail races and training runs. I’ll try to add updates as I figure out what works best for me.
Well, that’s about it for me. In conclusion, road running: meh, trail running: cool, trail running gear shopping: addictive. OK, carry on.