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Tips on Prepping for your next Trail Run - Merrell Alpha Michael Lewis

Before I venture out on my trail runs I always reference my checklist to be sure that I don't forget anything.

I try to have a routine for before, during and after a run.

I always start with some tea and a light breakfast so as not to get weighed down. It's very important to pre-hydrate before you head out to ensure that you aren't burning through your first bottle too fast.

The most obvious and important item on that list is certainly water. I bring about 16oz for every 5 miles I'll be going. I don't typically need 16oz on a 5mile run BUT it's always good to have it for those "just in case" moments.

I generally carry two 24oz bottles and one is plain, cold water and the other will have a blend of carbs and electrolytes in it. I also carry electrolyte pills with me and take 2-3 every 60-90 minutes depending on how hot it is.

Never wait until you're thirsty to drink water. By then you are already well on your way to becoming dehydrated and it takes time to catch up. I always like to know about any local sources of portable water such as a garden hose in someone's yard, or a water fountain at a local school.

These little reminders are great to consider especially if you're going on a hike or run with people. If they are short on water it'll be up to you to help out so bring a little extra or make sure they bring enough. Be a pack leader!

Always bring sun glasses. There's is nothing more punishing than having to squint for 3 hours, and subject your eyes to damaging sunlight or even glare from an overcast day. Sunscreen is always a plus too. Apply some before you go and maybe have a little travel size in your pack incase you need to reapply later.

I also like to pack an extra layer just in case I end up climbing higher than planned or the weather turns and temperature drops. You also never ever know if you'll need to spend the night in the hills and an extra layer could be a life saver. I tend to bring a long sleeve zip up that rolls up into a nice small tight ball which i tuck in my pack or tie it around my waist.

Also, I bring extra shoe laces. They take up very little room, add no weight and will come in handy if you snap a lace or encounter a "MacGyver Moment".

As you go you'll burn calories using up the glucose in your blood and glycogen storage so you'll need to feed the machine. I try to head out with at least 3 gel packs and 2 nutrition bars for every 2-3 hours of activity. To give you an idea of burn rate I went out for a 4 hour run today and burned roughly 4,000 calories. Now it's not effective to try and consume that many during activity but it's wise to keep fueling the fire.

Last thing I do before I go have fun is check the weather. Much of this is common sense, but I can speak from personal experience that the weather will impact your water, food, clothing and electrolytic needs. I look at the what the low and high is going to be and I usually add 10 degrees to the high because my body will heat up and make 60 degrees feel like 70 or more.

Make certain you have extra water and some food in the car so you can have it immediately when you're finished. Rehydration and food immediately following activity will help replace what you burned and reduce soreness afterwards.

The most important thing to do is be safe and go out and have fun and don't forget to stretch.

PS don't forget your Merrell trail shoes.