Trail running gear

Ahh…outdoor gear. I have a love-hate relationship with it.

On the one hand, I love researching the latest designs and technology relating to climbing, running and camping. More importantly, having robust outdoor clothing and equipment can make the difference between an enjoyable experience and a miserable one, where you can’t wait to get back inside into the warmth. Especially in Scotland. I tend to rediscover this every few years when I attempt to go more lightweight and minimal. In extreme cases it can even mean the difference between life and death.

On the other, I’m all too aware of the environmental impact that certain outdoor products have, and also the impact of consumerism in general.

We should aspire to be gnarly, outdoor athletes in old, battered but functional gear that has seen countless epic adventures, rather than punters in shiny, barely used gear in this seasons colours.

And at the end of the day, it’s not having the latest equipment that counts, but the engine inside.

This applies particularly to running, one of the attractions of which is the sheer simplicity of the sport.

However, when it comes to trail and mountain running, you’d be well advised to invest in a small amount of specialist gear that will last a long time and keep you warm and safe.

If you’re getting started in trail, fell or mountain running (ie. running extended distances in fairly remote backcountry areas, with changeable weather, but no overnight camp) this is the gear I currently use and would recommend as a good starting point.

  • Trail shoes
  • Merino baselayer
  • Shorts (or leggings in autumn/ winter)
  • Waterproof socks
  • Debris gaiters
  • Beanie
  • Lightweight windproof gloves
  • Buff
  • Spare micro-fleece layer
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof pants with zip to knee
  • Race vest/ Small running backpack (10 to 15 litres)
  • Watch with altimeter
  • Map, waterproof map case and compass
  • Phone
  • Survival bag
  • Emergency headtorch (Petzl e-lite)
  • Ultra-lightweight walking poles
  • Water and snacks sufficient for the route, plus an emergency gel

Obviously this list will vary slightly depending on conditions. For example adding hat and sunscreen in summer, mitts and an extra warmth layer in winter.




HIIT workout 1

A great example of a High Intensity Circuit Training workout is the Seven Minute Workout, designed by Brett Klika and Chris Jordan, published in this practical article. 

Their workout combines both aerobic and resistance training in a series of 12 exercises that takes 7 minutes to complete:

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Wall sit
  3. Push ups
  4. Abdominal crunches
  5. Step ups
  6. Squats
  7. Triceps dips
  8. Plank
  9. High knees running on the spot
  10. Lunge
  11. Push ups with rotation
  12. Side plank

Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds at maximum intensity, doing as many reps as you can, with 10 seconds of rest between exercises.

The circuit was designed to exercise all the major muscle groups and achieve a balance of strength throughout the body. Ideally the exercises should be performed in the order shown above, to allow opposing muscle groups enough time for recovery.

However after a while, for variety and progression you’ll no doubt want to substitute your own exercises into the mix. For example, you could do jumping lunges, push ups with legs elevated, bulgarian split squats etc etc.

Natural Movement Workout 1

Goals: cardiorespiratory fitness, strength, functional movement training

Where: at home, in the garden, in a park

Equipment required: pull up bar or sturdy tree branch; large rock, medicine ball or kettle bell to deadlift;  2 logs or 2 kettle bells for the farmers carry

This is a high intensity circuit training workout. For each type of exercise, either do the number of reps specified below or as many as you can in 30 seconds, with 10 seconds rest between exercises.

Repeat the circuit 3 times:

  • Pull ups x 8
  • Deadlift x 8
  • Bear crawl 20 – 50m
  • Broad jump x 8
  • Farmers carry 50m


Remember to use progressions. If pull ups are too difficult at this stage, then do negative pull-ups: jump up to the top of the movement and slowly lower yourself down under control.