Make sure that you are correctly equipped for the run in terms of clothing, especially in cold weather:
• You will need wicking (moisture management), quick dry clothes that keep moisture away from your body while keeping you warm. Wear layers of clothes.
• Avoid cotton. It gets wet and stays wet keeping you cold.
• Wear a cap or a hat to keep your head warm. You lose most of your body heat through your head.
• Always carry a good windbreaker (preferably a waterproof jacket) for when you are resting or injured.
• For winter running, many runners like wearing leggings (but if you are “old-school”, don’t even think about it; it’s like wearing a Speedo);
• Carry an emergency / space blanket. If you get injured this will keep you very warm until helps arrives. They are cheap and ultra-light.
• Carrying a basic medical kit can be very useful. Its one of those things that seems to be a hassle most of the time but you will be SO glad to have it with you when you really need it. For the purposes of the VOB runs, the run organiser usually (please confirm beforehand) carries a basic medical kit in their pack, so if someone injured themselves, find this person;
• Carry a whistle for when you are in trouble and need to attract attention.
Try and wear proper trail running shoes. They really do make a significant difference, especially with regard to stability and grip. Its money well spent.
Carry enough food and water for MORE time than you are actually going to be out in the mountains in case you become incapacitated.
Try and carry a cell phone (preferably an old one) for that emergency call or just to let people know you’re okay when taking longer than expected. Programme the Run Leader’s cell number into your phone.
Always let someone (preferably your emergency contact) know where you are going, when you are starting and how long you are going to be out. Give them the route description. Don’t forget to let them know when you have returned safely.
Try and stay in groups, for safety reasons and try and avoid crime hotspots. Don’t run alone.
Familiarise yourself with the route beforehand and estimate how long you are going to take. Examine a map and route description beforehand if possible; even if you are running with people who know the route because you may get separated from them. It also ensures that you are adequately prepared in terms of food etc.
If you go ahead of the group leader on an organised trail run then make sure that you know where you are going. If you come to a place where you are in ANY doubt, then stop and wait for them to catch up or go back and fetch them.
This also applies if you are running in a fast group on an organised trail run. If the fast group drops you and you are at all unsure of the way, then STOP and wait for the next group to come through. Don’t try and guess the route unless you can actually still clearly see the others ahead of you.
Carry a form of Identity that can speak for you when you can’t. This should be in the form of a tag with vital information (emergency contact number, blood group, allergies, medication etc) which you can wear in bracelet form or attached to the laces of your shoes.
Watch your footing at all times when running. If you want to enjoy the view then stop and look. Otherwise, you will find that you will stop anyway, and not in a nice way.
Gloves and beanie for those who REALLY feel the cold; especially on those very clear, cold mornings – Julia Curtis
GPS – it’s always nice to be able to download all the info afterwards and check out where you ran. It’s also very useful for planning future runs as you have exact times and distances etc - Ian Nixon
Shock Stick of the cattle prod variety. This is an unfortunate reflection on our times and society but it is actually not a bad suggestion at all – Michele “Alice” Priestman.