In the lead up to Ultra Trail Australia I had to buy quite a bit of new gear. Some mandatory items needed for an emergency but also new pieces that would make the distance and perform well so I could focus on enjoying the race.

Lack of preparation can really set you back. Take chafing or blisters, for example, if you don’t take care to prepare properly you can be left with some pretty sore spots that can either turn into something bigger or just take a really long time to heal.

So given that I walked away from UTA100 without a blister or chafe to speak of I’d like to share my top gear picks that took the worry out of running an let me just enjoy the experience.

  1. Abi and Joseph – ENDURANCE DUAL POCKET MID-THIGH TIGHT

This isn’t where I expected to find the shorts of my 100km dreams but I searched high and low for a 5″ tight short and actually stumbled across these when I saw them on a runner on Instagram. I couldn’t be happier with how they performed, only wearing them once in training prior to the race I knew just by the way they sat, without moving and the support throughout the waistline they were a winner.

On the day they didn’t disappoint and I’ve already bought 2 more pairs just for a rainy day.

 

2. Garmin Forerunner® 935

This is worth a mention all on its own because the performance of this watch really took the worry and guesswork out of my event.

For UTA100 I wanted a watch that would

a) go the distance

b) not annoy me, functionally or aesthetically

c) be simple enough to use.

The device superseded all of my expectations.

a) I ran for over 16hrs with the watch in full GPS mode with HR, altitude, course map and lap function on and I had 22% battery life left at the finish line!

b) It’s the easiest and most functional device I’ve ever owned. Like I mean it literally it just works. Activities auto sync without need for manual intervention. It weighs a tiny 49grams AND is super sexy so I never want to take it off. Plus it gives me a bucket load of cool data that I don’t need to be an analyst to understand.

 

3. La Sportiva Mutant

After literally ripping through a couple of pairs of my previous trail show of choice in as many years I knew I needed the try something new. After coming to terms with the colour (yes it still gives me a heart attack that they’re not black) I decided to give these a crack based on some of the reviews online and from a friend.

The wide bed is perfect for my foot and while they look like a suped up 4WD car they actually have great connectivity underfoot so floating across technical trails is brilliant. I didn’t ever feel the need to change shoes throughout the race and came away with zero blisters or signs of trauma. With over 300km in them, I still can’t see any sign of wear, so I’m super glad I found them for my wild adventures.

 

4. Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set

This pack just did everything I needed it to for the event. No rubbing or movement in the vest itself meant I was comfortable all day.

  • More than enough room for all my mandatory gear (which was heaps, see here)
  • The super stretchy pockets at the front gave me heaps of room for extra gels, a pair of gloves AND my iPhone Plus so I could grab it really quickly for photos.

Very happy with the performance and love the new all-black version, may have to try that soon.

 

5. 2XU Compression Socks

These are an oldy but a goody and I wore these for the race because I wanted a little extra support around my ankles and protection for my calves across such a long distance. They have the right amount of tension to keep the whole lower leg nice and secure without being too tight or moving about. Maybe a bit of it is psychological but wearing them on the trails gives me a sense of protection from ankle rolls too.

 

6. Petzl BINDI Headlamp

My new little running buddy and I love it. This was my back up headlamp for the race and I got it out at the bottom of the Furber steps when my other one was about to die. It gives out a sweet 200 lumens for about 2hrs running making it the perfect accessory for everyday winter running. It’s super light (35grams), rechargeable and the elastic drawstring makes it so comfy as its fully adjustable. Oh also, this means you can just wrap it around your wrist when it gets light in the morning (like a hair tie).

They’re a must-have for any runner and retail for $99 but if you use your Runphoria discount at Find Your Feet they come down to about $78.

Other than that there were a few things that took the worry out of my race and there’s not much to it.

Vaseline for chafe prevention. I’ve used other fancy products but find this to be the best for longevity and performance.

My Runphoria buff, I had one on my wrist and one on my head…this is a brilliant piece of kit for any trail runner. Whether it’s keeping your ears warm or wiping the sweat away they’re just a must have.

Visor, I’ve made the mistake of not wearing my Runphoria Visor on some trail races lately and it’s not pretty. If you’re in the early morning sun and trying to navigate technical trails while holding your hand up to shade the sun….. well it’s not easy or very safe.

So that’s just a few of the things that I couldn’t have done without and that made my race so enjoyable.

This Is Running | This Is Runphoria

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