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AMR Gears Up: Race Day Essentials: Ultra

Welcome to a new series on Another Mother Runner: Race Day Essentials.

We've already covered favorite gear for the 5K/10Khalf marathon; and marathon. 

Up today? The Ultra.

When it comes to running a long, long way, Kat Schjei, a BAMRBassador and mother of three in Irvine, California, knows a thing or fifty. She has completed 15 ultras, including four 100 milers, and is currently training for the Black Canyon 100k in Arizona in February.

Check out the gear that takes her through miles and hours of training + racing.

ultra gear

SHOES + SOCKS: HOKA TORRENT ($120; sizes 5-11) + FEETURES ELITE ($15.99; sizes S-XL)

I love Hoka Torrent because they don't have too much cushion so you can feel the terrain. Plus, they have great grippy lugs. My preferred socks are Feetures Elite (ultra light thickness). I have a tradition of buying a new pair to wear for every race.

TOP + SHORTS: BRIGHT + BUGS

I'm a shorts girl, no matter the weather. And I LOVE bright color. These are an old pair of Lululemon shorts covered with bugs! Everyone that knows me knows that I #loveallthecreatures. I'm very self-conscious of my post-three-baby stomach skin and diastasis recti, so I insist on loose-fitting, flowy tanks. This one from Zyia Active is my favorite!

VARIOUS TOPS + LAYERS:
COLUMBIA ARCADIA SHELL ($59.99; sizes XS-XL) +
REI DOWN JACKET ($99.95; sizes XS-XL)

In ultras, you must be prepared for any weather conditions. I've run races in the mountains through 100 degree heat, hail storms, monsoons, and snow! I love my AMR long sleeve that has the best mantra, "My pace, my peace". For rain, my go-to jacket is the Columbia Arcadia packable, breathable waterproof shell.

And for pre and post race warmth, this REI co-op puffy down jacket is the best. I always get severely chilled post-race, even in summer, so I need to be prepared.

ultra gear

ACCESSORIES: RUNNING 4 THOSE WHO CAN'T HAT ($29.95) + KNOCKAROUND SUNGLASSES ($10)+ BUFF ($20)

Are you even an ultra runner if you don't wear a trucker hat?? I love my friend's company, Running 4 Those Who Can't...

You can't ever find me without a bright colored pair of Knockaround sunglasses. (Bonus: they're inexpensive so you can buy all the colors!)

A Buff is also essential for all types of weather. When it's cold, I wear it over my ears and when it's hot, I roll ice into a tube and wear it around my neck to keep me cool during hours on exposed California trails.

Mittens are a necessity too. Never gloves, always mittens. I have Reynaud's phenomenon so my hands require mittens any time the temperature dips below 50 degrees.

ultra gear

PACK: SALOMON SKIN 5 PACK ($155)

A pack is a huge must in ultra running! I recently upgraded to this Salomon Skin 5 Women's pack and I adore how it bungees to the body for no bounce and perfect fit around the "girls". Plus, I can carry a 1.5L sleeve in the back for water and soft flasks in front pockets for Tailwind nutrition drink mix. Most ultras are "cupless" which totally rocks, so I have a few collapsible cups to fill up at aid stations along the way.

ultra gear

NUTRITION: SO.MANY.CALORIES!

Nutrition and getting in enough calories is vital in ultras. I actually learned from Coach Stephanie in the Train Like a Mother Ultra Programs to keep nutrition simple and consistent. I stick to mostly a GU every 45 minutes and add Spring Energy higher calorie gels and bars here and there.

I have found that it is easier to get calories in via liquid form when I hit that ultra nauseous mode and my go to is Tailwind Nutrition. Love their convenient stick packs for cramming into my "drop bags" which we get to leave at various designated aid stations along an ultra course.

Finally, I need minty gum to channel any nervous energy. A fresh mouth just makes me feel better after hours on the dirt trails.

ultra gear

GADGETS: COROS PACE GPS ($199.99) + NATHAN WAIST LIGHT ($39.99)

Ultras can get techy and I actually consider myself quite minimal in this department. My COROS Pace GPS watch is truly amazing. It has a battery life of over 24 hours, and all the other activity trackers and smart capability you might want. It easily uploads data to Strava to track my runs.

In ultra running, we often run in the dark so a headlamp is required. I'm a fan of Black Diamond lamps. I also have a newer Nathan waist light for more lumens. I keep an Anker charging pod in my drop bag in case my phone dies (duh, how else will I take pics?!) or if I'm running longer than 24 hours at a time.

ultra gear

LOTIONS + POTIONS, INCLUDING SUNBUM SUNSCREEN ($9.99) + RUNGOO ($17.99)

Last but certainly not least, here are some extra ultra essentials. SunBum sunscreen, Bigelow mentha lip gloss, Tiger Balm for sore muscles,Off Deep Woods to keep the mosquitos away (they can get super aggressive 50 miles off trail!), Squirrels Nut Butter anti-chafe rub, and my favorite, RunGoo, which is the best anti-blister and anti-chafe rub I've ever tried. (Seriously, this stuff is magical!)

Ultra runners, sound off: What gear do first-timers need?

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