Essential kit for all-terrain runners

A good pair of running shoes might suffice for pounding the pavements, but if you plan on getting your exercise out in the countryside, you'll almost certainly need more specialist kit.

All-terrain running kit

Pic: Getty

We check out the bits and pieces you'll need for running over all terrain in all weathers.

Clearly shoes are an essential piece of running kit, and ensuring that you're comfortable and safe are of paramount importance. If you're heading out into the countryside, you'll need more grip than the average running shoe, but there are many options available, ranging from the seriously studded to more versatile shoes.

Manufacturers such as Inov8 - which makes a variety of shoes including the Mudclaw for steep hills, and the Roclite 315, which is able to cope with a little mud and slip but is also comfortable on harder surfaces - La Sportiva, and Salomon all provide safe and varied options depending on how rugged your likely terrain. Most importantly, visit a specialist shop, if possible in the area you will be running, where knowledgeable staff will be only to happy to advise and assist you in finding the right pair for the job.

It might be summertime, but if you plan on running in hills, mountains or fells, you should be aware that the weather can turn very quickly, and stronger winds can add a chill even on warm days. Therefore, it's worth making sure you have enough clothing for any occasion.

Quick-dry leggings and a wicking long-sleeved shirt may well be enough, and are certainly lightweight, but if you're heading out on a hot day and opting for shorts and a T-shirt, it's worth packing arm and leg warmers just in case.

A lightweight windproof jacket with durable water repellent (DWR) is also a good idea as it will protect you from winds at higher levels and light rain. North Face, Montane and OMM all offer breathable, quick-drying jackets that pack small and very light.

As Brits, we know only too well that even in summertime you're never entirely safe from a downpour. Since running when soaking wet is not only uncomfortable but can leave you very cold, a breathable but waterproof cover-up is essential. Once again, OMM have come up trumps with the Kamleika waterproof jacket and trousers, which are made from a soft, stretch fabric, as well as other products specifically designed for mountain running. As the old saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.

A fabulous, comfortable pair of shoes is one thing, but without a decent pair of quality socks to go with them, you could easily end up with blisters that take all the fun out of your run. Looks for specifically designed running socks that will dry out quickly and help to prevent the dreaded blister - try the likes of Inov8, Teko or Thorlo.

And though you may not feel the need for a hat in mid-summer, a buff makes for a cheap, lightweight alternative, that can be worn in all manner of ways and keep your noggin warm if the weather turns.

The more rugged your running destination, the more kit you'll need, unfortunately, but don't be blase about the possibilities. With waterproofs and the like in tow, you'll need a backpack anyway (and specialist running shops will have plenty of lightweight options available) so it's worth taking maps and a compass in case you lose your way... easily done in unfamiliar territory.

Along with your high energy snacks and essential water bottles, make sure you include a watertight bag in which to carry your mobile phone - it could prove an invaluable resource as it will allow you to check weather forecasts and provide you with a GPS capability. And last but not least, take a little cash. You never know when it might come in handy.

What are your top pieces of kit for cross country running? Leave your comments below...