/ Poles,do you use em?

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misterb 12 Jun 2019

I. am toying with the idea of using poles for my next ultra marathon a  Hilly ish 112 miler

I've got a long time to get used to therm but not sure about blowing loads of cash on them

i want to go light as poss so looking at the leki foldable ones or the black diamond equivalent as they will attach to the front of my race vest for easy access when you only need them for shorter hills

i did see many people using them on the actual race a month ago which has piqued my interest

I'm not planning on winning the thing,hopefully mid pack and at least a finish ,average 4mph which i have done for other races up to 100k

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BedRock 12 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

i've just started using them for longer runs - as with anything new, once I got over the faff of actually getting used to having them and learning how to put them away quickly i now quite like them.  Have a 50miler planned later int he year so planning on using them for that.

Think Mountain Run in the Lakes do a 'learn to run with poles' course - friend went on this and said it was really useful - made her decide she didn't want to run with poles for her particular races but said after learning how to use them properly she would choose to run some races with. 

Guess its a personal thing like marmite - you either like them or you don't!

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yorkshire_lad2 12 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

Try before 31 Oct or they'll be gone ....

(Sorry, I'll get my coat.....)

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misterb 12 Jun 2019
In reply to yorkshire_lad2:

Ha ha ha ha ha

Didn't really check my original for political correctness

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Roadrunner6 12 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

I like them for big hilly runs, they just save the legs, train with them and use them early. Just becareful of other runners.

I have the black diamond carbon z poles, or whatever they are called..

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petegunn 12 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

I used Mountain King Skyrunner poles on my BG they are about 120g per pole and you can get them in carbon or aluminum, £80. Very similar to the BD ones.

Post edited at 14:53
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DaveHK 12 Jun 2019
In reply to BedRock:

> Think Mountain Run in the Lakes do a 'learn to run with poles' course -

This cracks me up, anything you need to know that wouldn't immediately occur can be learned with about ten mins googling and a day's practice. Full marks to them though for monetizing something so simple!

Post edited at 15:26
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Roadrunner6 12 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Like a learn how to run course.. 

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DaveHK 12 Jun 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> Like a learn how to run course.. 

Maybe I've been doing it wrong all this time?

Post edited at 15:55
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misterb 12 Jun 2019
In reply to petegunn:

Cool i will take a look at them,i see salmon do something similar to those too so i will look at some reviews

Cheers

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Deleted bagger 12 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

Occasionally carry one to help cross burns. Beyond that I can't see the point of them. They just get in the way IMO. 

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DaveHK 12 Jun 2019
In reply to Deleted bagger:

> Occasionally carry one to help cross burns. Beyond that I can't see the point of them. They just get in the way IMO. 

Perhaps you need to go on a course to learn how to use them properly? ;) 

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Steff 13 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

It really depends on your definition of "hilly ish", I suppose. I have used poles for very mountains runs in the Alps and Pyrenees. 

I find they work well on very long ascents with mainly walking. I don't like them on relatively fast terrain. Some people seem to be able to use them effectively on technical descents, but I can't get used them on the downhills. 

I was given some sort of elastic belt which has rubber bands for holding collapsed poles across the back.  Sits just below the running backpack and is really useful for storing them quickly.  

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yorkshireman 13 Jun 2019
In reply to Steff:

> It really depends on your definition of "hilly ish", I suppose. I have used poles for very mountains runs in the Alps and Pyrenees. 

There's quite a snobbish reluctance to use them in the UK. I felt a bit like that at first. Then I moved to the Alps and realised they're popular for a reason. I've used the BD Carbon Z as well for a few years and really rate them. They're not height adjustable so make sure you measure up and get the right size. I have a UD race pack which as elastic loops under the armpits and down the bottom so they collapse up and stow nicely in there - other sacks have different systems (I never got on well with the Salomon system) and you can buy separate 'quivers'.

> I find they work well on very long ascents with mainly walking. I don't like them on relatively fast terrain. Some people seem to be able to use them effectively on technical descents, but I can't get used them on the downhills. 

Exactly this. Some people 'save their legs' on the downhills but I prefer to put them away as I find the effort in managing the placement outweighs the benefits. On long, sustained uphills they make getting into an uphill rhythm a lot easier.

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gooberman-hill 13 Jun 2019
In reply to yorkshireman:

I have used poles on a whole series of alpine ultras (up to 340km). On downhills you don't necessarily need them to save your legs (although that can be quite useful if you are falling apart). However, for fast technical descents they can be really useful just in your hands - because you really want you arms reasonably wide for balance, having a pole in each hand adds a little bit of extra stability, which maybe gives you more confidence to go fast downhill.

Steve

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misterb 13 Jun 2019
In reply to Steff:

Yeah i will be definitely fast walking all the up hill just to survive

It's the South West coast to coast I'm going to do next year and i guess for most hardcore ultra runners it's relatively flat but having just run the whole thing over 4 individual days jus got quite a bit of up i would like some assistance with

Most of the fast runners this year were using them or at least carrying them ,although the winner did not

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yorkshireman 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> because you really want you arms reasonably wide for balance, having a pole in each hand adds a little bit of extra stability, which maybe gives you more confidence to go fast downhill.

I get what you mean, but on technical single track I find that the poles drag in the undergrowth and find this really annoying - especially with a really light carbon fibre pole. I prefer to just descend without them. Sometimes if the terrain is undulating I'll keep them and plant along with them but I guess this is all down to personal preference.

In reply to: Steff

> It's the South West coast to coast I'm going to do next year

Like I said its really down to preference and like you say racing over 4 days they may make a difference. FWIW I did a 100 miler in that part of the world (Jurassic Coast) last year and chose not to use poles, precisely because although the course was 'hilly' (5000m cumulative) there were no continuous climbs more than say 150m and I figured (rightly in my opinion) that getting the poles out for these then putting them away again continuously would be a pain in the arse. In the Alps, its worth the investment if you're going to be slogging away uphill for three hours.

Each to their own though, just food for thought.

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The New NickB 13 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Given the number of people who don’t know how to run with them, perhaps we need more of these courses. Or is the main aim to stop people overtaking by a) taking up the whole path; and b) the ever present risk of taking an eye out.

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Deleted bagger 13 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

> Perhaps you need to go on a course to learn how to use them properly? ;) 

Not on my life. Never been a course to learn the bleeding obvious. Coming from s traditional fell running background I can't see myself benefiting from them.

There doesn't seem to be any independent research about the benefits of poles. 

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Roadrunner6 13 Jun 2019
In reply to Deleted bagger:

> Not on my life. Never been a course to learn the bleeding obvious. Coming from s traditional fell running background I can't see myself benefiting from them.

> There doesn't seem to be any independent research about the benefits of poles. 

I think its things like the UTMB they help, that's about all I've used them for.

I didnt use them for any of the bigger rounds I did in the UK.

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DaveHK 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I think its things like the UTMB they help, that's about all I've used them for.

I agree with that.

As a bit of an experiment I used poles in my race yesterday (38k, 2900m cut from 45k due to weather). I thought they were legal for that race but it turns out they weren't! Oops. My conclusion was that if you're trying to move at more than a plod they're more hindrance than help as they change stride and arm action and they're added faff.

However, I will continue to use them for really big days out where I'm moving slowly. 

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kingholmesy 16 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

Hi Nick, hope you’re well.  The coast to coast sounds like a great event.

I ran my first ultra last week - the Classic Quarter.  It was “only” 44 miles but in the last 10 or 15 miles I was really suffering on the steeper downhill sections - my quads were pretty f*cked and my left knee a bit sore.

Admittedly I had only done about six weeks’ training after not running for more than a year, but do people think poles would help take some of the weight off on steep descents, especially steps down on the coast path?

There’s a couple of longer coastal ultras that I’m looking at and wonder if poles would help ....

Cheers, Luke.

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SouthernSteve 16 Jun 2019
In reply to kingholmesy:

> Admittedly I had only done about six weeks’ training after not running for more than a year, but do people think poles would help take some of the weight off on steep descents, especially steps down on the coast path?

When I take them, they seem more help in accelerating my upward progress than helping going down – but may be just me!

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Moley 17 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

I bought some poles when I turned 60 (call them my zimmer aids) to help me on long slow climbs mainly - not for racing obviously - I wouldn't be without them now and they help tremendously. If used correctly!

I am no slave to them and they are for suitable uphills only, I have never got the hang of them downhill or flat, then they are folded.

Mountain King aluminium Trail Blaze for me, chose correct length and they have done all I've asked at a reasonable price and pretty bomb proof.

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Roadrunner6 17 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

I know Scottish Athletics used to ban them, I'm not sure if that's still the case but they were classed as 'mechanical aids' for the WHW race 15 years ago.

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DaveHK 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I know Scottish Athletics used to ban them,

Still do in fact. They're not allowed at any hill race I've done in Scotland but this was more like a Skyline style waymarked thing (ultratrail Scotland 45k it was called or something like that). I checked the website and no mention of poles, nothing said at start or sign in and a few others with poles on their bags so I just assumed it was ok. Had one marshal shouting something about Scottish athletics regs at me half way round and it turned out he was right. Confessed my sins at the finish and the organiser admitted he could have made it clearer. Did wonder for a bit if I might get dq'd but common sense prevailed! 

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Roadrunner6 17 Jun 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

I'm the same, on a long climb you can certainly get into a rhythm, probably in places as fell runners we'd use the hands on the knees technique but Poles are better when its less steep and longer.

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Souteril 18 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

So many varieties, so many races. Like anything out there if you don’t practice with them you look like a bird with no wing feathers trying to flap around and poking everybody as they pass. If you’re running a variety of ground then light z type poles are ideal but solid non folding poles are more suitable for straight up and down as they give more support on the descent. In France you see more poles being carried than you do in Warsaw on a Friday night 😊

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misterb 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Souteril:

Ha ha i guess it's all about trying some and finding out then

There are some decent long hills on the coast to coast race and i think with my overall build which is not very runner like they might help as i get more tired in the last 50 miles 

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misterb 18 Jun 2019
In reply to kingholmesy:

Hi luke 

Good effort on that, it's a nice race and good fun if a little difficult to get a rhythm going after the first 25 miles

I definitely don't think i will want them for downhill, just for hauling my fat arse up them as that is my main problem ha ha

The left knee thing was probably just running on a camber,I had a similar issue on that race if i remember

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DaveHK 19 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

> Did wonder for a bit if I might get dq'd but common sense prevailed! 

So it seems common sense did not prevail and I have been disqualified. First time for everything I suppose! Oh well, not like it was my A race for the season.

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