What do I need for a long mountain run?

Personal trainer Carla Gibbons on the preparation needed to stay safe in the hills

mountain runner

by Carla Gibbons |

The Fell Runners Association has a list of kit which it is essential to carry on a long fell race (20k or over) in the mountains or any event with fairly significant height gain. This is a good starting point for any long run in the hills or mountains.

A map and compass are essential to navigate your route and, of course, the ability to use them effectively, even if the clag comes down! This can be supplemented with a GPS watch or navigation device although, if it is an event, you need to check whether you are allowed to use GPS.

You need full-body cover - waterproof top and bottoms, hat, gloves maybe an extra base layer. Conditions in the mountains or hills can change very quickly. You also have to consider what you would need to keep safely warm if you had to walk or stop due to injury. In the winter, a survival bag would be an advisable precaution.

Plan for your needs in terms of water ( or other fluids) and fueling. It is always worth taking more than you think you'll need and a mix of different things. I’ve been known to carry a mix of gels, Mini Cheddars and Naked bars. I like the variety, because if I need something but really can’t stomach something sweet, I know I have a savoury option.

You should also carry a whistle to attract attention in the event that you fall or get lost and had to call mountain rescue.

Other things you may want to consider include a headtorch - especially in winter when the light can fade quickly, basic first-aid kit, blister plasters, phone. And finally, money or credit card to treat yourself to a well earned snack at the end - or, in the worst case, a taxi home or back to your car!

Carla Gibbons is a personal trainer, run leader and passionate trail runner.

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