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Preparing for Your First Trail Running Event: Dress, Shoes, Nutrition, and Training Tips

Preparing for Your First Trail Running Event: Dress, Shoes, Nutrition, and Training Tips

trail running

Embarking on your first trail running event can be both exciting and daunting. The unpredictable terrain, the beauty of the outdoors, and the camaraderie of fellow trail runners make it an experience worth remembering. To make the most of your first trail running event and set yourself up for success, it’s essential to prepare effectively. In this article, we’ll cover how to dress, what shoes to wear, what to eat beforehand, and the preparatory training you should do.

Dressing for Trail Running Success

When selecting your trail running attire, consider the weather and terrain you’ll be facing. Here are some tips for dressing appropriately:

  • Dress in layers: This allows you to adjust to changing weather conditions or your body temperature. Opt for moisture-wicking, breathable materials that help regulate your body temperature and keep you dry.
  • Avoid cotton: Cotton absorbs moisture and takes longer to dry, potentially causing discomfort or chafing.
  • Wear trail-specific socks: Choose socks designed for trail running, with cushioning and moisture-wicking properties to prevent blisters.
  • Accessorize smartly: Depending on the conditions, you might need a hat, sunglasses, or gloves. Make sure these items are comfortable and suitable for trail running.

Choosing the Right Trail Running Shoes

The right shoes can make a significant difference in your trail running experience. Here’s what to look for:

  • Trail-specific design: Trail running shoes have increased traction, durability, and protection compared to road running shoes. Look for shoes with aggressive lug patterns to grip different surfaces and a reinforced toe cap to protect your feet from rocks and roots.
  • Proper fit: Your shoes should fit snugly but have enough room for your toes to wiggle. Make sure to wear the socks you plan to use during the event when trying on shoes.
  • Test them out: Break in your shoes by going on several trail runs before your event. This helps identify potential issues and ensures your shoes are comfortable on race day.

Pre-Event Nutrition

Proper nutrition is crucial for fueling your body and optimizing your performance. Follow these guidelines:

  • Eat a balanced diet: In the weeks leading up to your event, focus on consuming a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Hydrate: Drink enough water leading up to the event and during the race. Electrolyte replacement drinks can also help maintain your hydration levels.
  • Pre-race meal: Eat a light, easily digestible meal 2-3 hours before the event. Choose foods high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fiber to provide lasting energy.

Preparatory Training

Training for a trail running event involves more than just increasing your mileage. Here are some tips to prepare for the unique challenges of trail running:

  • Mix up your terrain: Train on a variety of surfaces, including dirt, grass, and rocky trails. This will help you adapt to different trail conditions and improve your balance and stability.
  • Include hill work: Incorporate hill repeats or long, steady climbs in your training to build strength and endurance.
  • Strengthen your core and lower body: Incorporate exercises like planks, lunges, and squats to improve your stability and power on uneven terrain.
  • Practice technical skills: Work on your downhill running technique, navigating tight turns, and jumping over obstacles to build confidence on the trails.


Preparing for your first trail running event can be an enjoyable and rewarding process. By dressing appropriately, selecting the right shoes, maintaining proper nutrition, and following a well-rounded training plan, you’ll set yourself up for a successful and memorable experience on the trails. Now, check out Strambecco’s picks for some of the best trail-running events:

Or, browse through all of our events in the Trail Running category.

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