5 steps to your ultimate trailrunning weekend
Step-by-step tips for exploring the great outdoors on the run
1 LEARN TO NAVIGATE
A map and compass, and the ability to use both, is vital. But make use of GPS technology too. Systems like Strava are also an incredibly useful source of local knowledge. Choosing established and marked routes like the Kintyre Way make planning your weekender easier – the signage on this one was as good as any I’ve seen.
2 DON’T SLOSH
Far too many people carry excessively large amounts of water with them from the start. The west of Scotland has plenty of water and so does the rest of the UK. You can even buy some along the way! Hydration is important, but comfort is too. Collapsible squashy bottles are my preferred refill tool.
3CHECK THE FORECAST
We’ve all cursed the Met Office but the reality is that current forecasts are pretty accurate. Of course, we all want to escape the tolls of modern life, but WiFi and 4G are handy for essential updates – forestry provides shelter, but trees are harvested and maps aren’t always up to date. Check sunrise and sunset times too – carry a head torch and spare batteries just in case.
4 FUEL UP PROPERLY
Nutrition is a huge topic, but I have two key bits of advice: firstly, use what you’ve tried and tested – now’s not the time to try something new (gels in particular are an acquired taste). Secondly, take time to choose a comfortable method of carrying food. It needs to be easy to access, otherwise you’re more likely to skip eating it, even when you really need it.
5GET TO THE POINT
I’m a big fan of point-to-point outdoor activities. They provide a welcome sense of purpose. To save long drives or train rides back to where your car is parked, get friends to run the route in the opposite direction and swap keys at your overnight stop halfway. Don’t forget the appropriate car insurance.