The Main Gear All Ultra Runners Need

The Main Gear All Ultra Runners Need By: Lauren Keating For some runners, 26.2 miles just isn’t enough. After having a few marathons under your belt, it’s time to start considering getting your toes wet into the world of ultra running. But with that comes a whole new set of gear needed to be prepared for some very long distances. As marathoners, there are certain things we have down pat. This includes knowing the importance of good running shoes and anti-chafing cream. But what’s some of the other main pieces of gear all ultra runners need? A Hydration Vest Some runners make this an early purchase. That’s because hydration vests are a great way to have water on hand to stay hydrated during the workout without needing to hold anything. For ultra runners, a hydration vest is a must-have. It can hold lots more water compared to a hydration belt. Plus it doubles as a backpack to hold other important gear like energy chews, chapstick, tissues, etc. Enough Fuel Runners already know the importance of workout nutrition. But in when it comes to ultramarathon races and runs, it’s time to up the ante on fuel.  Ultramarathons typically have food at aid stations. (Yes, this includes candy.) However, some runners might not want to a chance on a particular item especially if you have dietary restrictions.  And remember, there are no aid stations when training.  Runners burn anywhere from 400 to 600 calories per hour or 200 calories per mile. This varies on many different factors like gender, weight, pace, and fitness level.  Consume fuel every 45 to 60 minutes of exercise. Experiment with sports nutrition products like Kramp Krushers and a mix of solid food. Kramp Krushers are ideal for ultra runners because it is made for entrance training. This includes carbs and dextrose for fast performance fuel that is easy to digest. It also has natural sea salt for hydration and replenishing electrolytes.  It gives runners that boost of energy without caffeine while preventing cramping and supporting nerve to muscle communication. Keep track of calorie by setting an alarm on your fitness watch to remember when to eat next. Even when you don’t feel hungry, continue to eat to prevent hitting the wall. Gear Drop Bag One of the main items of gear ultra runners need to a bag to hold all your gear.  Besides knowing what to pack in a gear drop bag, it’s first important to have one.  Gear drop bags are needed because ultrarunning requires lots of gear. Runners are working out for hours, sometimes days. This means changes in weather, the need to eat and drink, and the need for various articles of clothes like extra sneakers or a lightweight waterproof jacket if it starts to rain. Gear bags are dropped at various miles throughout the race. The runner then has the option to get anything they need or leave it behind. Gear bags should be durable, waterproof, and compact. Also, make sure to get one that is easy to recognize.  To save space packed travel size items like salt tabs, pain reliever, body glide, and bandaids.  Group like things together is freezer bags like nutrition for easy access and organization.  Gear bags can be anything from drawstring bags, backpacks to a small duffle bag.  Properly Fitted Clothing And Other Gear This sounds obvious, but running for longer times with a hydration vest on means running in a tank top isn’t ideal when it comes to irritation over time. Make sure to have activewear that fits properly, is breathable and moisture-wicking. This also includes a pair or two of compression socks for recovery after.  Other articles of clothing needed is a running hat to keep hair away from the face and sweat from the eyes. Many runners also wear sunglasses to avoid squinting in the sun. Cold weather requires other necessities like gloves, warmer crew socks, and layers.  Also, make sure to have a reliable GPS-enabled fitness watch. This is important for knowing pace and distance. This is crucial for when knowing when an aid station is approaching and when wondering how many miles are left. A Headlamp Getting a headlamp is another main piece of gear for ultra runners. Since runners are often running for a long periods in the dark, you must be able to see in the dark. It’s important to find a headlamp that is easy it put on and take off and has a long battery. It should also be lightweight and affordable.  Ultra runners should also get reflective gear for running in low light situations.  Sources: 15 bits of kit to make you want to run an ultra, Red Bull, ultra-marathon-kit-essentials Fueling for an Ultramarathon: A Complete Guide to Race Day Nutrition, Relentless Forward Commotion, The Beginners Guide to Packing an Ultramarathon Drop Bag, Relentless Forward Commotion, The Gear I Used for My 1st Ultramarathon, Molly Hurford, ultramarathon-gear-running-ultra-race