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If you’ve ever participated in a trail race before, you know how different it is from running on a paved road or sidewalk. On a trail, you often find yourself on a single track with one person ahead of you and one behind, and you talk. You talk to break the silence, to make the time go by faster. Because you are constantly concentrating on the terrain, scanning for footholds and avoiding hazards, you are totally unable to let your mind wander. So, in trail running, you talk. You are able to enjoy the runners, not the run.

Off-road races are incredibly difficult, but we have listed a few trail running essentials to make it just a little bit easier:

Trail running shoes: The main difference between trail running shoes and regular running shoes are the soles. While running shoes have a smoother sole and may slip on dirt and rock, the thicker, nubbier soles of trail running shoes will grip the trail. Trail running shoes are also made of a heftier material, helping them to stand up to the rough conditions and giving added foot and ankle support. We love Brooks Adrenalines.

Sunscreen: Whether you’re on the road or on the trails, face sunscreen is a must to ward off burning and premature aging. You never want anyone to know you’re a runner based on the texture and lines of your face. Rodan + Fields Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is amazing.

Hairbands: The reason we love American Apparel cotton twist scarves so much is for a couple of reasons. First of all, they consist of wire that allows them to twist and stay any way you choose. You can even tie one around your head, twist at the neck, and tie up a ponytail at the bottom! Second, they are super wide so you can pull them over your ears if it’s chilly, or scrunch it up if you’d like.

trail running

Lip balm: No matter what the temperature, your lips will get dry if you properly breath out of your mouth while running. You should keep an EOS lip balm in your purse, in your pool bag and in your gym bag just so you always have one on hand. Plus, the Lemon Drop flavor has added SPF for your outdoor runs.

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!! Did we say hydration? Always assume you’ll be out there longer than you think. There are so many different ways to tote water, so just choose which one you like best. We prefer the handheld kind, but there are also Camelback backpacks and hydration belts for those who like their hands completely free of anything. Remember, you may need to be able to grab onto rocks from time to time.

Phone and music player: Bring your phone! It’s important to be able to communicate while you’re trail running. Accidents happen, and when you are off the beaten path, a fully-charged cell phone is a necessity! Pandora is just an added bonus.

Photo Credit: ecbloom.com, roadrunnersports.com, ammericanapparel.com, evolutionofsmooth.com

Photo Credit: rodanandfields.com

Now, get out there and enjoy the world you live in!