Plenty of trail runners are happy enough either running local routes or pulling out the Ordnance Survey map and heading off on an all-day adventure. Others like to enter the many trail running events that are put on by a variety of companies throughout the UK and beyond. These events often have multiple distance routes, ranging from 10k up to 100miles. Some are self-navigated and self-supported, whilst others are well marshalled with a series of checkpoints where you can refuel. As part of your trail training programme, your ultra marathon kit list forms a key part of your prep.
The Right Kit for the Right Event
Personally, we enjoy a mixture of many different terrains and distances – local routes most weekends and evenings, an O/S adventure with a group of friends every few months and a couple of 50 mile ultra marathons a year.
What all of these have in common (especially the longer distances) is the requirement to have the correct ultra marathon kit for the run. Depending on the time of year, for organised events, this kit is usually mandatory and although non-mandatory for other runs, you should always ask yourself before setting off “if something went wrong, how long could I last for before I’m in serious trouble?”
Acquiring Ultra Marathon Kit
Equipping yourself can seem costly at first, but good quality kit can last a long time and you don’t need to buy the most expensive items for your own ultra marathon kit. Should the worst happen and it be needed in an emergency, I guarantee you will consider any one of these items to be one of your best purchases ever! We tend to pick up our kit from a variety of sources from sites like inov-8 for trail shoes and hydration vests to Amazon for the more generic items.
Here we list the items of kit that we wear or have carried on a number of ultra marathons or even when we’re heading out running with friends:
- Water bottle or bladder, usually minimum 500ml
- Hydration vest to carry the water and kit
- Waterproof jacket with taped seams
- Waterproof trousers with taped seams
- Hat or buff
- GPS running watch
- Headtorch with charged batteries
- Emergency foil blanket
- Fully charged mobile phone
- Map and compass – which you know how to use and a plastic wallet to protect it in the rain
- Sunblock – even on cloudy days, you can get sunburnt
- First aid kit
- Energy bar, shot blocks or food that works for you
- Bodyglide/vaseline for chaffing
Now while we carry these with us as standard most of the time, you will find that many events have pre-determined ultra marathon kit lists that you cannot run without. Be sure to check out the requirements of the race and of course, run with the kit and practise with it in training runs.
How Much do You Need to Carry?
Consider how far you will be travelling, how much of this kit you will need with you and how much can be picked up along route. When we do ultras, we often have friends that meet us out on the course with our head torch later in the day, more water or other items so that we don’t have to carry everything. You have to consider what you will need if you do get stuck though, or if you don’t have access to aid stations and support on route.
It’s important to bear in mind that you have to be able to run and carry the kit that you can pack so opt for lighter options that don’t weight as much or take up as much space. Make sure you test it out on a training run as well. Don’t use new kit that you have never worn or tested on the day.
Read More About Trail Training Here…
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