BEGINNER BUNDLE £79
All the essentials to get you started on the trails. Mix and match your choice of race vest, soft flasks. Have peace of mind you have the safety basics.
With this bundle you will get:
Choice of Harrier Race Vest
Choice of two Soft Flasks (or Water Bladder)
Two Long Straws
Mini First Aid Kit
Emergency Survival Bag
Cold Eco Cup
Our beginner collection has all the trail running essentials.
Scroll down to see our guidance on how to choose a race vest, hydration and safety options that are right for you.
NOT SURE WHERE TO START?
TRAIL RUNNING FOR BEGINNERS
Whether you are completely new to running or moving from road to trail, it can be tricky to know how to get started. We have put together a beginners guide below that you may find useful.
Trail is a very loose term for any kind of running off road. Terrain can vary greatly from grassy, to muddy to rocky. It can include footpaths, bridle ways, mountain trails and everything in between.
If you are a beginner, start with easy trails, those you are already be used to from local walks. Some country parks have colour coded trails which make it very easy to follow a route, plus you know the distance and difficulty before you start.
If you are completely new to running, go slow! Build up slowly and don't be afraid to walk / jog routes. Stop and enjoy the scenery, take your time and your strength, speed and confidence will build naturally.
If you have any questions about how to get going don't hesitate to contact us.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT RACE VEST
Race vests are great for carrying water and extra items such as phone, keys, safety items, snacks, hat, and gloves.
Don’t be put off by the term ‘race vest’. It’s just another name for hydration pack or trail running backpack.
Trail runners of all abilities wear them and they are much better than wearing a normal rucksack because they are:
• Better fitted to you for minimal bounce
• Have everything you need easy to access
• More breathable
• Less prone to rubs / sores
We keep it simple with two options for you to choose from - a 5 litre or 10 litre capacity.
These numbers relate to how much you can hold in the race vest. So the 10 litre can take twice the amount of kit compared to the 5 litre.
6 front pockets
2 zipped side pocket
1 large back compartment, split into handy dividers
10L Kinder or Stanage*
6 front pockets
2 zipped side pockets
1 very large back compartment, split into handy dividers
Bungee cord on the back - great for things like waterproofs
*Stanage 10L is especially for XL and XXL sizes. It has the same features as the Kinder 10L, just adapted to fit better as a larger size.
The 5 litre is an ideal beginner race vest. It will carry everything you need when you are starting out. It's lightweight, comfortable and simple to use.
The 10 litre is great if you are planning on doing longer runs in the future. Perhaps you have moved over from road running to trail and so think you can up your distances quicker. Or, you may run in autumn and winter when the weather is worse and you may need to carry extra kit such as warm layers and waterproofs.
Choose the race vest that will be the most practical for you. Also, think ahead. If you aspire to doing longer distances that require more kit, the 10 litre will future proof you!
If you are still not sure contact us, we are happy to help.
WHICH HYDRATION TO CHOOSE
Soft flasks are a great option for beginners. Having a couple of Harrier Soft Flasks gives you the option of taking one on a shorter run and having two available for longer runs. They:
· Can be held in your hand
· Fit comfortably in front race vest pockets, some running belts / bum bags
· Squish down as you drink to reduce space and don't make a sloshing noise
· Harrier has 300ml and 500ml size options
· Come in twelve different colours, handy for different types of drinks e.g. water and energy
Soft flasks squash up as you drink from them so it's easy to carry one in your hand on a short run. Your race vest holds two up front when you need more.
The Harrier race vests give you the option of carrying two soft flasks up front. If you need more you can add more in the back compartment, or try a water bladder.
We have two sizes available - 500ml or 300ml. It is the regular shape (and not the slim) that fit Harrier race vest front pockets.
Kate “If I’m nipping out locally for 30 – 45 minutes I will use a pocket for my phone and carry a 300ml soft flask for water in my hand. If I go further and will be out for longer than an hour I’ll wear my vest and take two soft flasks, my phone, keys and any other bits I might need such as snacks or a first aid kit just in case.”
Top Tip for Soft Flasks
Carrying enough water depends on how much you drink when exercising, weather conditions and time spent out. It's always better to have too much than too little.
Keep a mental note how much you drink on a run. For example, you may drink 300ml per hour normally, and 500ml on a hot day. This will help you estimate how much you will need on longer runs, always take a bit extra just in case.
Soak your flasks over night before use with a sterilising tablet or warm soapy water. Then give it a few good rinses out. This helps to get rid of any residue taste quicker. All Harrier flasks come with a free sterilising tablet.
You will see three straw options with your soft flasks.
1. Short tops
2. Long straws
3. Extra long straws
Short tops are very handy and keep the bottle neat in your pocket. They are also very easy to hold in your hand on shorter runs.
Long straws are great in vests when you don't want neck ache! It means you aren't bending your head over to take a drink, the straw is right next to your mouth already.
If you are very new to running and starting out on short runs, the short tops will do nicely.
If you are doing longer runs where you will be using a race vest then long straw options can be very handy.
The beginners bundle gives you short top and long straw attachments so you can mix and match depending on your run. If you are only buying the soft flasks, you also have the option of adding an additional straw so you can have both.
Extra long straws are not for Harrier race vests. These are for other brands where the soft flasks sit very low in the vest.
These are larger water holders that you would carry on your back in your race vest. A tube then comes around the front for you to drink from. Bladders are great for long distance runs when you know you’ll be out for several hours without any water available en route.
If you want to know more about bladders you can see the info on our intermediate page, but you probably won’t need one of these when you are getting started.
Having a Mini Runner First Aid Kit to hand is great in case you or anyone else needs some medical assistance. A few plasters, micro-pore tape and bandage can go a long way. This one is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can be dropped in your race vest.
An Emergency Survival Bag is better than a foil blanket. If you were to have a trip or fall somewhere remote you need to keep warm. When you stop running it is amazing how quickly you can get cold even on a warm day. A blanket will not keep you fully protected.
A tube scarf is also a really versatile piece of kit because you can use it as a scarf, a hat, bandanna or headband.
Our Safety Bundle provides all three for £15. Each item is lightweight and fits in the palm of your hand so you won't even notice you are carrying them in your race vest or bumbag.
A Dry Bag is a useful extra to put all of your kit inside your race vest in case it rains. It gives 100% waterproof protection to all of your items. Because no one wants soggy kit on a rainy British day!
There are a few simple things you can do to be prepared if anything goes wrong during your trail run.
1. Run with a friend, group or a club at the start. They will take the pressure off finding nice routes, getting lost and knowing what’s within your comfort zone.
See our info on Finding a Club or Group further down the page.
2. If you can’t run with others, try local country parks where you are not isolated or at risk of getting lost. Google search ‘country parks near me’.
3. Let someone know what route you are running and when you expect to be home.
4. Have a fully charged mobile phone for security.
5. Carry a Harrier Mini Runner First Aid Kit in case of any trips or falls.
TRAIL RUNNING MYTH BUSTERS
What if I get lost? Is it safe? What about cows!?
Everyone has worries about trail running when they first start. Below are a few key things that can help you get going.
Run trails you are already familiar with walking, or ones that are close to home.
Join a trail or fell running group. Help on this is included further down the page.
Use a country parks that have coloured coded and arrowed routes to guide you around. Here is the blue route around Sherwood Pines - where Kate started trail running!
Google search 'Country Parks Near me'
Aim for time on feet rather than distance. For example, 30 minutes out is less pressure than ‘I must run 5km’
Alternate jogging and fast-walking. Trails are more demanding than tarmac due to the lumpy terrain, so strategic power-hiking is definitely allowed!
Enjoy the scenery and take it easy. Run at an easy pace where you are not short of breath and are able to hold a conversation. This means you are running aerobically which is great for building fitness in a sustainable way and reducing risk of injury.
If you want to be faster, speed will happen naturally as volume increases, don’t force it.
You probably already have most of the things you need to get going.
Raid your wardrobe for those old t-shirts! Trail running is a simple sport. To get started all you really need is:
• Trail running trainers (road trainers are fine in dry weather on easier country park trails)
• Shorts, leggings, joggers
• T-shirt, long or short sleeved
• Sports bra for the ladies!
• Water bottle
• Charged phone
• Sports watch – not essential but useful
Buy second hand. EBay and Facebook Marketplace are great for a bargain. You can buy nearly new for a fraction of the price.
"All of my trail running shoes are second hand. Other people buy brand new, find they are half a size out then sell them worn once for a third of the price. It has saved me hundreds of pounds over the past few years." Kate
Make do with what you have. Do you have things are home already that you could use? Such as your other half's cycling t-shirt, a refillable water bottle you use for picnics.
Before you buy, ask yourself “do I really need this item to run on a trail?”
Buy selectively. Investment in key items can set you up for a long time, especially if you take good care of your kit.
This is a big concern to a lot of people. Cows, horses and other livestock in fields can be unpredictable and safety around them is paramount. Here are some key things to reduce the risks on your trail runs.
Stop running and walk. Do not run past the animals - especially cows and horses. They may either see this as a chance to be curious and run alongside you, which is scary. Or even worse take it as a sign you are a threat and go into charge mode which can be very dangerous.
Have an escape route. This may mean taking the long way around the edge of the field so you can hop over a wall or fence in an emergency. However do not make a habit of climbing fences and walls as it damages property.
Dogs on lead. If you cannot fully see a field before you enter it, put the dog on the lead before just in case. This is as much safety for you as the animals in the field.
Don't be loud. If you are with another person or group be quiet and keep your voice down rather than shouting and laughing which may spook them.
No selfies! Don't start waving your phone or camera in the face of an animal.
If you are in doubt, or just have a 'bad feeling' turn around and find an alternative route, it isn't worth the risk.
Choose routes with no farmland. This may be country parks or national park areas where there isn't any grazing land.
FIND A CLUB OR GROUP
Link to https://www.fellrunner.org.uk/links.php To find some trail running buddies you can see:
1. England Athletics website for a list of all running clubs in the UK.
Many road running clubs now have spin off trail groups as alternative sessions – contact a couple and see what they say. Most will let you do a trial session before signing up.
2. Fell Running Association (FRA) for a list of clubs that specifically do trail and fell running. Don’t be put off that they are classed as fell – many have beginners groups and are more trail based. Plus fell runners are a very friendly bunch!
If you want to know the difference between fell and trail running see our video below on Fell Running for Rookies.
3. Social media groups on Facebook. You can ask in groups such as ‘Trail and Ultra Running UK’ or ‘Fell Runners UK’ if people know of a trail running group near you.
Below are the general differences between clubs and groups. There is a lot of cross over and all are different. Have a chat with both types near to you and even try some session with more than one to see which you prefer.
Have annual membership fees, usually £10 - £20 depending on membership type
Mixture of structured training nights and informal group runs split by ability level
Affiliated for league races such as cross country
Cross country races are different to trail in that it’s mostly on grass, fast and furious. Usually around 5 miles in distance. It’s hard work but great fun!
Trail Running Groups
More causal, pay on the day sessions.
Mixed ability but all run together at a relaxed pace with a focus on enjoying the trails and scenery
Make contact with both types local to you and see what response you get.
You’ll want them to be friendly and welcoming, with a supportive beginners programme. That is the most important aspect whether they are a club or a group.
It’s ok to try a couple of sessions to get a feel which you are more comfortable with and offers what you want from your running.
Each club and group is different and you need one that feels right for you.
Kate is England Athletics Leader in Run Fitness (LiRF) qualified and an experienced trail run group leader.
Depending on government guidelines we will be putting on guided trail runs during the summer of 2020. See our Facebook page for full details when we set up event dates or subscribe to the mailing list (in the footer below).
To look for trail races and events near you, here are some handy links:
The Trail Running Association
Fell Running Association
Note for Fell Running Association events
Look for CS category races if you are new to trail running. These are less than 10km with small-ish hills.
If you have been road running for a while and not a complete novice - CS, CM and BS category races are ok. They are less than 10km or less than 20km with small hills respectively. Pick a distance you are comfortable with and have run before.
Full guidance on fell race categories can be found on the FRA website on the link above.
SPEAK TO US!
Use the chat box to speak to us direct, or drop Kate and email at firstname.lastname@example.org