Mountain Running Questions

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  • #7797
    James H

    I’ve entered a mountain marathon in July, part of the mandatory kit to be carried is a fully waterproof jacket. I’ve got a hardshell that I use for Mountaineering/hiking but was looking to purchase a lighter more minimalist jacket. Any recommendations? Ideally not crazy expensive !

    Nutrition wise I have a strategy that works well for mountaineering but as I’ll be moving faster I’m wondering if I should adapt it.

    I’ve done uphill only races and didn’t use trekking poles but as this race has lots of descents too I’m thinking poles might be good idea ? Experiences ?

Posted In: Mountain Running

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    Anonymous on #7831


    Sounds like a cool goal. As for jackets: Most hard shells have a lot of bells and whistles and get really heavy as well as expensive. I have used a cheapy eBay cycling ran jacket for just this sort of thing. They are really minimalist with very light and pack down to nothin with only a rear pocket but totally water proof. These are not made by any recognizable brand name. But check that type of garment out. It used to be that several of the bigger brands made water proof light weight jackets and maybe someone else knows of one. But mine was under $20 rolls up to no bigger than a fist and keeps the rain off in a pinch.

    As for fueling strategies: This is high individual so not general recommendations are possible. If you are highly fat adapted then you won’t need much. If not then you’ll need a lot of sugar to get you through the race. I’d concentrate on getting very fat adapted to start with. Then try different eating methods in your longer runs to find what works well for you.

    Poles work well on steep ascents and descents. They will slow your descent though as they slow the arm turn over so you can haul ass down hill as easily. Try them on downhills in training and if you think they help or hurt. I think if you are well trained and have sufficient leg strength you won’t get much benefit.


    Anonymous on #7841


    * If you must have something waterproof purely for race safety requirements, then Scott’s suggestion is the best bet, especially for the price.
    * The lightest waterproof jacket I’ve found is the UD Ultra at 167g. If you’ll fit a small, it looks like it’s on sale (while the other sizes are sold out).
    * If you can get away with something that’s just windproof, the CAMP Tempest is hard to beat at only 90g. It packs up smaller than a fist.


    As Scott said, you may or may not find any benefit from poles for descents, and they’ll likely slow you down. For ascents, I wouldn’t race without them. You can get noticeable amounts of uphill thrust from using poles.

    James H on #7842

    Hi Scott and Scott – thanks for the replies guys! this is the event – so quite a lot of technical ground to cover.

    Jacket wise yeah its just for race requirements (has to have taped seams) – I’ve got a standard climbing hardshell thats light but nowhere near as light/packable as the above options and I’d imagine if the weather is bad enough to warrant a full hardshell the route would probably altered for safety.

    Gels and fruit and nut bars seem to work pretty well for me. On an 8 hour climbing day in the alps last year I remember I consumed 2 bars and 2 gels and I think that came to around 700-800 calories.

    Anonymous on #7844

    A couple more thoughts on food:

    * Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the pace of the race will be higher than a climbing day. If it were me, I’d plan on almost twice that rate of calorie consumption: 200-300 calories per hour with lots of fat.

    * A good calorie-per-gram food is halvah. Most grocery stores will have a couple flavors to choose from.

    * Whatever you choose as your food strategy, make sure that you test it out on some long training runs. You want to make sure that you know without a doubt what your calorie requirements will be, and that you can put down your food of choice. For example, I can’t eat halvah in the kitchen, but I gobble it up on big days. I find it much too rich at home, but on big days, it’s perfect.

    Robert on #7869

    Hi James,

    I agree with Scott about an inexpensive, minimal jacket/windbreaker, so long as it has a DWR treatment.

    This type of minimal jacket is what I use in many mountain races that do not require the waterproof, tapped seams garment. It is a windbreaker with a DWR treatment that weighs 70 gms and it works exceptionally well provided you are moving quickly. When there is a high degree of certainty that it will rain I will use a slightly more performance-oriented product that is a bit more than twice as heavy (180 gm) but provides a 10k/10k protection level and is also well ventilated.

    For the Sky Racing where a 20k/20k waterproof jacket is required I will suggest the following option based on personal experience at such races (although there are many other products that will perform similarly):

    1. Salomon Bonatti Pro (at only 200 gems it is a very high performance option)

    As this jacket only weighs 200 gems, it is good alternative to the 180 gm 10k/10k option but it not as well ventilated, so one needs to be cognizant of this difference as ventilation will have a large influence on your comfort level. There are also companion pants for the 20k/20k garment. It is likely that the organizers are requiring waterproof pants as well, although I have not confirmed this.

    Good luck!

    lionfish90 on #7877

    I’m not a racer, but I like carrying DriDucks or Frogg Toggs as a backpacking and climbing raingear option when I don’t really expect wet conditions (CA Sierra Nevada mountains in most seasons). Like here:

    They’re not very durable, but the reality has been (for my use), they’re fairly tough, waterproof, light weight (about 6 oz. jacket + 4 oz pant, IIRC), CHEAP, and surprisingly breathable (much more than Gore-Tex-like fabrics in my limited experience).

    Hard to beat the price to try them, US$25 for jacket + pant. They can feel somewhat papery, but mine have withstood even occasional not-too-dense bushwhacking and rips or holes can be repaired in the normal way (tape, duct or otherwise 🙂 ).

    I’ve seen them in a couple of weights (targeted at hunters/fishers vs. at backpackers); you’d want to lightest one. The others are tougher but quite a bit heavier (and I imagine less breathable). Mine were totally waterproof (when new) and still mostly waterproof after many years of sitting stuffed in the bottom of a pack and being used as a wind layer when surprised by conditions.

    Good luck in your race!

    lionfish90 on #7882

    (PS–At that price and weight, don’t expect (m)any features: No pockets, no drawstrings, no extra zips, not necessarily the best fitting. I prefer that, in order to keep the weight and price down, but YMMV!)

    Luke Nelson on #8103

    I have experience with a lot of races that require mandatory kits. So let me chime in here. They are very particular about the jacket having taped seams. From what I have experienced with races like the Skyrace you are doing is that not only do you want to be able to meet the requirements but you will very likely be wearing the jacket for part of the race. It is worth investing in a good shell that will actually work for running, and meet the requirements out there. There are many good options but I would highly recommend the Patagonia Stormracer It is 170g and great for running in crap weather, packs small too. I can share that this jacket was developed and tested by myself and Jeff Browning who needed a great shell for mandatory kit races. Another option, although much pricier is the Arcteryx Norvan SL.

    I am happy to help with any other kit questions you have. I spent a lot of time tweaking my kit to as light and functional as possible.

    James H on #8192

    Hi Luke thanks for the reply! I picked up an outdoor research helium jacket that is very light and fully taped seams. Although I was still going to carry my trusty Houdini jacket as it is way way more breathable than a waterproof shell and is obviously much better to run in if it’s cold or just light rain/drizzle. For my ‘long sleeve warm layer’ I was going to go with an R1 pull over. I’ll be out there a lot longer than you would be but roughly how many calories do you shoot for over this sort of event ?

    Luke Nelson on #8265

    James, do you have a goal time or an estimate of how long it will take? Typically for shorter events, say less than 6 hours I shoot for 200 calories an hour. For longer events I try for closer to 300 for the first half or so, then often decrease around 200 as the event goes on. I do this mostly based of experience with how my stomach reacts the longer the I run, particularly if running faster paces. What you will really want to do is practice during your longer training runs to make sure the strategy works well.

    kfj on #14256

    hi Luke, what is your thoughts regarding how much water you need per hour fore races around 6h? I do understand its highly depending on how warm the wheater is but do you ha any rule of thumb regarding minimum water intake?

    Mariner_9 on #14283

    OutdoorGearLab had some reviews of running jackets with details of specs (appreciate you already picked one up, link might be useful to others).

    re poles – the lightest I’ve found are those from Gossamer Gear and Locus Gear.

    Land on #14298

    The Ultimate Direction FK Trekking poles are actually lighter or really close (and they have straps which are essential for really producing thrust). And cheaper. I’ve used em a fair amount and they are super super light. Even carrying them in hand running flats is totally doable for miles.

    I did break a tip (ferrule) on one by wedging it in a crevice below some snow. I expected an easy fix by doing the usual ski pole hot water trick, but it seems they use a differemt glue. So, not serviceable really, but UD did send me a brand new PAIR to replace the broken pole. Good on em. Other than that, they seem robust enough for the weight.

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