Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Anyone who starts trail running should deal with the special equipment, especially shoes, poles and backpack. Today we give you some tips about the shoes and the poles. In a later post it will be the turn of the backpack.
A trail runner should exclude road running shoes and mountain boots. Meanwhile, very many brands have trail running shoes in the range: they are more stable than running shoes, lighter than mountain boots and above all have a grippy sole. Depending on the surface, the lugs are arranged differently: for mud a little further apart, for scree / stones a little closer. If you want to avoid blue toenails, you need to have shoes protecting your toes on rocky trails. Long story short: a visit in a sports store is the be-all and end-all for choosing the right shoe.
Another essential piece of equipment, especially for longer distances, are the poles. They relieve pressure on certain muscle groups and help with balance, especially if you're on difficult trails and/or tired. In addition, they allow a total body workout: hands, arms, shoulders, torso are involved.
A question that comes up often: starting from which incline are poles necessary? This is very individual: I recommend training on a hill with and without poles. You will quickly realize when you need them. And keep checking what and where suits you best: over time you will (hopefully!) improve both with and without poles, and the need for their use will change as well.
There are many types of poles on the market: originally made of aluminum, they are now partly or entirely in carbon and correspondingly lighter (but also more fragile and expensive). Hand straps are also available in different designs.
Should the poles be in one piece or foldable and thus also stowable in / on the backpack? This depends on the nature of the route (frequent or sporadic use) as well as your preferences; sticks made of one piece are of course lighter.
The length of the poles depends on the inclination of the route, the body size but also on the personal feeling. A visit to a specialist store is also worthwhile in this case.
Trail shoes and trail poles are important investments: it is therefore important to get them now, so you have enough time to test them. Would this be an idea for a Christmas gift? And maybe you can also put on your gift list some coaching lessons or a coaching program? The trail running coach knows a lot about the equipment and can help you evaluate and test it.
Less than eight months before the Engadin Ultra Trail are not much, but enough to prepare your race carefully - and anyway to look forward to the training sessions and the run in the Engadin!