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6 tips on super safe trail running

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6 tips on super safe trail running

By Sophie on 15th February 2023 Advice

6 tips on super safe trail running

📷 Paul Jaquin

Trail running can be totally mind-freeing. You hit the trails, you leave your worries behind and you lose yourself, it’s a glorious feeling really. But (there’s always a but), without some planning and the right equipment things can go wrong. So set yourself up (you’ll feel all the more relaxed for doing them) with these 6 tips to keep you super duper safe.

1) Where are you headed?

Always tell a mate or family member where you’re going. Flick them a quick text with a roundabout location and approx time of when you’ll be back, if you want to be properly thorough, shove a note on the fridge at home and tell them what to do if you’re not back in time. For extra brownie points, have a laminated card with your name, address, and emergency contact in your pack.

2) Know your route

If you’re going somewhere new, do some research on the trail, don’t go in there blind. You may still feel a little lost along the way (that’s ok) but at least you’ll know in the back of your head what to expect. That way, when you do go wrong, you’ll know. Want to know the best way to find out about trails all over New Zealand? Check out our trail directory. With downloadable files, trail descriptions and reviews you’ll feel way more confident.

If the trail is more remote, and you want to feel uber-confident with where you’re going you can always download and print the route topo map from our trail directory. This way, you’re not just relying on your phone or watch working.

3) Pack the essentials

It’s never a silly idea to always carry a small first aid kit. It’s one of the things that can make a world of difference when you really need it. And if we were to recommend a little bit more for those long, more remote trails carry an emergency blanket or a reusable survival bag. You’ll feel safe as houses out there when carrying this stuff.

Now you have the essentials, think about some of the more personal items that you need. Things like; spare contact lenses, toilet paper, antihistamines, lube (chafe can appear when you least expect it). This is all in the prep for your run, so have a think about what are the likely injuries and pack your first aid accordingly. 

If trail running is your main jam, consider doing an outdoor first aid course like the one Rob did and would highly recommend. (Rob, can we all come running with you now?)

Depending on how long your run is, never short-change yourself on food and water. If you’re doing a trail for the first time you could be out there for longer than planned which means more energy is needed to get you through. We’re not saying fill your pack to the brim, but packing an extra snack, and an extra 500ml of water never hurts (in fact, it will only make you stronger).

4) What to wear

Whether you're battling the sun, wind, rain or snow, be prepared for it. It’s all about layers, you don’t want to be caught out with having nothing to layer up with. So tucked in at the bottom of your pack, have a super light dry bag (because who wants to pull out wet gear!) and stuff it with a long sleeve thermal, and either a windproof jacket (if no chance of rain), or if rain is a possibility then a seam-sealed waterproof jacket.

Need some gear? We have you covered (literally). Check out our trail runing clothing and also discounts to other shops.

And as we’re on the topic of what to wear, wear sunscreen. No one wants to feel like fried bacon out there on a hot day.

5) Running buddy(ies)

We know it isn’t always possible but running with a buddy takes away a lot of the risk factor and only adds to the fun factor. You’ve heard of the term ‘safety in numbers’ haven’t you? Well, apply this to trail running. And it’s not hard to find a buddy to run with when you’re a part of our Facebook Trail Running Community.  

6) Know your limits

Know what you’re capable of. Just because someone has done it before, or it’s in the Trail or Peak Directory, consider your skills, experience, limits and the current conditions first. Don’t be afraid to adjust those calls whilst out there — if the weather changes, or the route is harder than you initially thought, make the sensible call.

And here are a few quick-fire things just because it’s good to be reminded. 

  1. Carry your phone (and make sure it’s charged).
  2. Avoid wearing headphones, especially on more urban routes (this is a personal preference one). Wearing headphones can distract you from your surroundings, and being able to hear people, cyclists or wildlife can help to avoid accidents.
  3. Check the weather report.
  4. Once you’re getting more and more remote grab a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).

Remember, feeling safe = even better, more epic trail runs!

Happy trails and be safe. 

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