Please enjoy the following Q&A with Garmin Ambassador and avid trial runner Raina @seenonmytrail!
Garmin: How’d you get into trail running?
Raina: Injuries. I had a bad bout of plantar fasciitis and had to take some time off of running. After physical therapy, when I started running again, I knew I’d have to slow it down. Trails gave me a good excuse to go slower, and I fell in love with the toughness and the scenery of it.
G: What do you love about it?
R: I love to explore! Nothing compares to finding a new route and seeing what’s around the next bend. Also, trail running requires a good amount of concentration on where you’re placing your feet, so it can be a good distraction from the intense level of exertion happening at the same time.
G: What are some of your struggles?
R: If there’s one area I struggle with, it’s balancing my time adventuring with taking care of responsibility at home. It might be easier if I lived in a van, but my family has some objections to that. Another struggle I have is taking so many pictures on my runs that I take longer than I expect. I’ve had to trim down my photo taking to recovery days, or just for special trips. Otherwise, I lose the endurance aspect and get home way too late.
G: What’s in your pack?
R: First thing in my pocket is the car key! Sometimes I get extra miles when this is forgotten. My running buddy and I dropped a car off once, ran 7 miles of trail to the other car, then when we got there we had to run back, it turned into a good long run!
I would be lost without my orange mud vest pack, unless I’m out for just a very short run. It carries everything! 40 ounces of fluid and 4 stretchy pouches for other things.
Almost always I pack some Skout bars for fuel, my phone, and often my tripod and VIRB Ultra 30 camera.
Surprisingly this is all pretty light, and I carry the tripod in my hand while running (runs less than 2 hours.)
Some basics any trail runner should pack if running solo:
- water (and, in summer, a way to filter it. I use a Sawyer.)
- If you’re planning to run near dusk or anytime fall through spring, I suggest a compact space blanket (very cheap) or emergency bivvy (about 20$, but like a tarp sleeping bag the size of a can of beans and much lighter) .
- A whistle.
G: How does Garmin help you?
My watch and camera are amazing! I love the Forerunner 735XT. It helps me with tracking my routes, which I save and look at later, and with measuring my time running, mileage and serves as a leash to keep me in the right heart rate zone. Also, there’s a super handy “back to start” feature that I’ve been glad to have a few times. (Like when I got semi-lost on some sand dunes that went for 2.5 miles).
I’m still figuring out the VIRB Ultra 30, but it’s a really fun toy. I can take high quality videos of where I’m running to share with friends, and, since it’s voice activated, it’s super easy to use while moving.
G: What features do you like/use the most?
R: Voice control and burst photo mode on the VIRB. On the Forerunner 735XT the “back to start” is pretty handy! I always use the distance, time and heart rate features.
G: What advice would you give to people wanting to get into trail running?
R: Be prepared to take your time! Enjoy yourself when you go outdoors. The benefits are amazing on a physical and emotional level. Take a friend if you can, but if you like to explore solo, don’t forget to pack the essentials, be prepared for the weather, and please leave a note about your destination and time!