Alaska Running Essentials:
Summer in Alaska is arguably the best time to get outside and run or hike! Depending on where you go or what you are training for, there is a variety of gear that may be useful. (Gear that you may not know you need!) Whether you spend hours in the mountains or training for your next road race, there’s gear available right at your fingertips!
- Trail Shoes: This may seem self-explanatory, but it is so important to have grippy tread on technical trails and mountains. Road shoes can handle dirt and gravel pretty well, but anything beyond that gets sketchy. Trail shoes provide a little more security while cursing along your favorite trails!
- Road Shoes: This style of shoe comes in both stability and neutral options, allowing you to find what fit works best for you. These shoes are great for every-day training on paved trails, tracks, and treadmills. Not everyone needs a trail shoe, but most people need a road shoe!
- Insoles: Removing the stock insole and inserting a more substantial one can maximize the shoe’s comfort, making all the difference in the world! It is important to make sure your arches (however high they may be!) are supported while running over uneven terrain or pavement. Slipping a pair into your favorite road shoes is a way to make your shoe more comfortable and to keep the little muscles in your feet happy!
- Moisture-wicking socks: Nobody wants blisters! No cotton allowed! Socks that wick away moisture and have a high thread count are great for keeping feet dry and reduce friction in the shoe. They also don’t get holes as easily!
- Tights / Long Sleeve / Light Windbreaker / Gloves / Buff: This might sound weird in the summer, but the weather changes fast. If you are out hiking or running in the mountains or more remote trails, it’s important to make sure you have appropriate layers of clothing. Tights and long sleeves may seem like a no-brainer, but gloves and a headband can go a long way if the wind picks up or if you hit a snowy patch.
- Shorts / T-Shirt / Tank Top: It’s important to make sure that these are made of synthetic material and not cotton! Synthetic material breathes much better, allowing you to stay cool. It also dries fast to keep you from getting cold should you be out running for a longer period of time.
- Body Glide: Chafing is the worst and it is so preventable! There are tons of lotion and glide options to eliminate chafing.
- Sunglasses: Protect your eyes! Find a pair of polarized lenses that work well and get outside!
- Scat Belt / Bear Spray: While many of the local trail systems are heavily populated, it is still important to be prepared should you encounter a bear. Scat Belts work great as they hold a canister of bear spray as well as your phone. If you have a hydration pack, bear spray can easily fit in one of the chest pockets.
- Hydration Packs / Hip Belts / Water Bottles: With the hot summers Alaska has been having, making sure you are staying hydrated is more important than ever! Even with hydrating enough the day before, it is still nice to have a little extra water for those longer adventures. Some water bottles are small enough to be worn on your hand, while others can be worn around the waist. These packs often do not hold more than 16 oz of water, but if more is needed than a chest hydration pack usually works best. These packs can usually hold a liter or more of water and can often store things like bear spray and extra clothing as well.
- Nutrition / Salt Tabs: Activity under 90 minutes often does not require any calories, but on any kind of run beyond that, it is a good idea to carry at least a gel or bar just in case you need it. There are a lot of nutrition options out there (gel, bars, chews, waffles, etc.), so it is good to experiment with what works best for you. Salt tabs are also super valuable on long days as they help to prevent cramping; water alone is not enough to replenish the fluids lost through exercise.
- Recovery Sandals: The best feeling in the world after a run is slipping into a pair of sandals or slides. Brands like Oofos and Hoka One One provide cushions support for feet after long days when they want to be free of shoes.
- Dry Clothes: Keeping a pair of dry pants, warm shirts, socks, and an insulated coat in the car is great for the rainy and cold days when you don’t want to drive home in your wet clothes.
- Foam Rollers / Theragun / Resistance Bands / Calf Sleeves & Socks: recovery modalities and techniques are crucial in keeping you running further for longer. Foam rollers and equipment like a Theragun can help relieve tight and sore muscles while resistance bands can stretch and strengthen them. Calf sleeves and socks can help increase blood flow and reduce swelling after long days on your feet.