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Discussion: Poles?

in: Kris; Kris > 2023-04-29

Apr 30, 2023 9:27 PM # 
What trail race are you preparing for that needs poles? A UTMB race?
May 1, 2023 8:45 AM # 
World Trail and Mountain Running Championships is what I'm thinking about. It has a lot of climbing in the middle third and the possibility of picking up/leaving poles at aid stations.

Not sure I will use them for that, but figured I'll probably end up running something where they would be useful..
May 1, 2023 11:29 AM # 
Good for skiing. Or dancing.
May 2, 2023 6:35 AM # 
Which poles did you get?
May 2, 2023 8:15 AM # 
I'm on the fence on this one. My feeling is that if you have been using poles for a long time and it is second nature then they probably offer a small advantage on good trails where you can use them with a good rhythm. The down side in my opinion is the faff factor - it is much more awkward trying to eat and drink with poles to worry about too, so not great if you have to carry them for a whole race. If you have the option to pick them up and drop them off then maybe worth a try. Have you seen any good evidence for or against? There is a bit of research out there, but mostly seems to be about hiking rather than running.
May 2, 2023 10:55 AM # 
JT - mountain king skyrunner
OJ - from what (little) research I've done, it seems like poles reduce your economy but increase your speed. Of course, there is the familiarisation factor but I didn't feel like using them was too awkward. I did notice the faff of getting them out/putting them away, and the difficulty of getting in food when using them. I'm still on the fence, but I think it's worth experimenting.
May 2, 2023 12:12 PM # 
You've still got decent knees and hips Kris, and you're races aren't overly long just now..... when you become a mega ultra runner they will more likely come in handier :-)
May 2, 2023 3:45 PM # 
I found them helpful in winter conditions, where they aid balance on snow and ice, increasing traction, reducing the effort expended to move across these and increasing speed.
Again not sure there is much to be gained otherwise for a fit strong runner with good balance and co-ordination.
At the other end of the scale you have those who use them to try and compensate for a lack of balance and co-ordination, which might seem a good idea, but I reckon its a spiral of disaster - if you can't co-ordinate 2 limbs to run, then trying to coordinate 4 just ain't going to happen.
Perhaps benefit in reducing the eccentric load of descending - one for you Oli ? ;-)
May 2, 2023 5:29 PM # 
Using poles for descending is next level. Serious risk of lower limb entanglement.

This discussion thread is closed.