Ricky Lightfoot is one of Salomon Running's ambassadors, and a veteran of some of the world's toughest ultra-marathons and trail running events. In this guide, he looks at how you can run better, and run faster; by making smart kit choices for trail running.
Over to Ricky...
Run better with the right kit and accessories - without adding weight
When heading out on a run, whether in the mountains or on my local trails, it is important for me to travel light; so I can move faster with less restriction.
I tend not to carry too much kit, but a few extras really do help with overall comfort and performance. When selecting kit my motto is, 'Keep it Simple'.
Start with your watch
A GPS (I use a Suunto Ambit 3 Peak Black HR) is very important to me these days. It is light and you hardly know you have it on. It can also help you trace your steps back to where you started, if you end up lost. It also allows you to see where exactly you have been; including distance, altitude and speed via the Movescount App (Google it!).
A GPS watch is a must-have, for anyone who's into scrutinising their every run!
Get your wet-weather gear sorted
Nearly all of my runs on the trail include carrying a lightweight wind/waterproof jacket and trousers; Salomon really does do some of the best on the market. Plus I carry a mobile phone in a dry bag.
Check out these options:
All of these are easy to carry if you want to stay safe, move fast and be light, in the mountains.
Don't compromise on warmth
Another piece of kit I hardly ever leave home without is a Buff; this versatile piece of kit is simple, light and easy to use.
It can be used in summer as a hat, neck cover or sweat band. I've even been known to wear it around my foot after 30 miles of running, to prevent a blister. It is also great in the winter, as either a neck scarf or make-shift balaclava.
Then, when you're not using it, you can just wrap it round your wrist. I really can't tell you enough how useful you'll find this this piece of kit!
Check out the dhb Buff®.
Think about climate control – hydration, layers and lights
There are many lightweight vests and waist belts out there, which compliment my goal to keep kit as lightweight as possible. I use ones by Salomon; not just because they're my sponsor, but because they're breathable, and the soft materials make them really comfortable to wear next to the skin. It just means that I don't have to worry about chafing. Check out the Salomon Advanced Skin Lab 1 Belt Set
Although many trails provide shaded routes, when your outdoors it's still wise to wear sunscreen. You can get hold of a mini sunblock, which you can easily stow away in your back pocket. Sunglasses, dark or light, will also help protect your eyes from tree branches and bushes.
As I've said, our run accessories are often dictated by the weather; but there are also other factors that you need to factor in: time of day, route distance, duration. If you're out early, then arm warmers are great; quite often it's a little too cold to go with just a t-shirt first thing, so I wear arm warmers until I've warmed up. The best thing is that they easily roll down into wrist bands; so I don't even need to take them off.
I also carry a lightweight head torch in the mornings, with my preference being the Petzl Tikka RXP Head Torch. The Petzl NAO is also good, but the RXP is a little bit lighter and brighter, and it's really easy to stow away in my back pocket.
Wear bright kit
If you're running in low light or shaded areas, you need to make sure that you aren't just able to see (head torch!); but that you're also able to be seen.
Your clothing is the easiest way to do this. Stay away from black, grey and dark coloured kit; it's much easier to be seen if you're wearing something light and colourful.
Minimise risk of injuries
Finally, look after yourself. I'm talking about something quite specific here – your legs. In the winter, I can find myself running through icy areas; breaking the surface with each step. In the past, I've ended up with cut ankles, so now I wear longer socks for both protection and a little extra warmth.
Check out the extensive Run Socks range at Wiggle!
Lastly, enjoy your Trail Run! View the Salomon range at Wiggle.