The gear you need…and then comes the work

The following is a summary of the gear necessary (so far) for my ultra training and for managing nutrition:

Clothes – Running, Cycling, Crossfit

  • Really reflective vests:, firecracker jacket
  • Bike shorts – I am biking in week 3 and my bottom still hurts!  My athletic girlfriend says use triathlon shorts and do not wear underwear….My friend recommended buying tri shorts vs. bike shorts
  • Compression tights – I am a fan of Athleta and having tights with an easily accessible pocket to pull your phone in and out of during runs (NOT the zippers). BEST TIGHTS EVER = ALL IN TIGHT (Sculptek material) by Athleta.  Side pockets for phone, zip pockets, great compression, lasts forever.
    • If you get tights going just below knee, make sure the lowest band is 2″ wide or it can cut into your leg/back of your knee.
    • If under 25F, I’ll wear my pair with fleece inside else these are good for normal winter days in New England.
    • The Athleta Salutation tight with stash pocket made from Powervita material is similar with good side open phone pocket but not as thick material and not as compressive.
    • Thermal Ronhill Tech Winter Tights (medium cocoa color) are awesome with one biggish side pocket
  • A good sports bra –
    • nothing moves in this thing!  PrimaDonna sport “Sweater” bra Size (size UK34F for me, cosmic grey) which clasps in back with no underwire WHICH WILL CHAFE AND HURT YOU! at Copley Mall at a store called Rigby and Peller.  If you have underwire, use body butter or something between the girls or you will get a burn eventually.
    • DONT LIKE EXCEPT FOR LIGHTEST SUPPORT USED FOR CYCLING: Just started using SHEFIT which seems supportive but need to see how it performs on hot days and if it wicks water/sweat away or becomes a wet mess.  SHEFIT bras zip in front and are very supportive but heavier and more restrictive under arms than PrimaDonna.
  • I’ll wear cotton shirts for crossfit workouts but if running or hiking, I’ll wear wicking shirts.  I’ve found that one long sleeved shirt plus one medium weight fleece is all you need down to 10F with hat and gloves
  • XOSKIN short sleeve shirts – no seams/no chafing
  • I’m in love with smartwool shirts although they have to be the lightest weight to wear to crossfit and you don’t want to get too hot running.
    • Found brand MONTANE in Londo and got Primino 140 shirt mix of smartwool and polyester – very lightweight like the old Athleta tops I can’t find anymore
  • I don’t wear gloves unless its below 32F.
  • Good socks –
    •  Thorlos have the most cushion so are good for walking around the house and seem to be the least tight as well.
    • Becoming fan of Darn tough, used these in Hamsterwheel
    • Balega -were these Ragnar?  My lucky socks end of year 2019
    • Smartwool
  • Shoes – I like minimalist, zero drop shoes and use inov8 (I am now smarter and have a separate blog on just trail shoes) and Altra trail shoes such as Lone Peaks (my favorite – great in mud, rocks, etc) for trails and were Altra Superiors for road (but these lack structureand I pronate inwards). All Altras have a wide toe box and zero drop.
    • Altra Superiors no longer road favorites due to lack of inner arch support.  Recently got a pair of HOKA One
    • 2022:  Trying inserts in Lone peak for added cushion and arch support
  • Colder weather gear:
    • Windproof overlayer pant:  Arcteryx Trino SL Tight (awesome to also wear around house but doesn’t come in petite size), narrower at ankle. great over compressive tights but for cold day <32F
    • Trailrun/Hike Jacket:  Arcteryx Gaea jacket – awesome, not waterproof, perhaps perfect over light or medium smartwool base layer.  Jacket is warm even if -11F with windchill – use with very light base layer (short sleeved smartwool tshirt, not long sleeved midweight)
    • Running skort:  Lululemon Pace Rival Skirt (tall) which has two great pockets in the shorts and waistband storage also.  On longer runs have had some chafing.
    • Wind/waterproof insulated overlayer:  Arcteryx Norvan SL Insulated hoody:  superlight, wind/rainproof and so warm for being so thin.  Need a good cold day for this though or over a very light underlayer.
    • Wind/waterproof summer layer:  Arcteryx Norvan LT jacket
    • Windproof layer:  Must have very very light jacket, I use one from Patagonia – good at all times, a must carry anytime
    • Note:  Arcteryx clothing seems to be smaller sized so I always get a Large

Running Gear

  • Night visibility equipment:  hand torch (don’t like anymore) with front and rear lights, clip on lights (my favorite are the smiley faces), a high vis vest I also wear in the daytime on every run, a light “harness” ( Noxgear- see pic below) which blinks and changes colors, headlamp (Petzl Arctic Core)
  • Aftershkoz wireless bone conduction headphones by AEROPEX – purchased DURING Hamsterwheel where you can’t play phone out loud with number of people on course.
  • Gymboss Charge interval timer for the run/walk method.  This one vibrates or beeps and has rechargeable batteries.  Only 99 cycles though so you need to restart the count every few hours – it vibrates a ton when it runs out so easy to know.  Vibrations could be stronger as hard to feel on cold leg!  Used this for first time in Hamsterwheel – ended up carrying it in my hand whole race.  Batteries still fine after 15 hours
  • I now own Trekking poles – got Leki macro varie that break down
  • Microspikes for snow/ice during hiking – Just got kahtoola
  • Dion racing snowshoes
  • Hydration Vest with ~5L of water (3L bladder in back and 2 18 oz bottles in front) with zipped pockets and open pockets for food and electrolytes and first aid, etc.  Love my inov8 2:1 vest as you can attach an additional “bag” to it for longer mountainous hikes where you want extra clothes, etc.  This vest is great in all weather and is used for Ultra races.
  • Workout tracking:  now use Garmin F935 because I needed the GPS tracking and battery life to last >12 hours.  Anything based on iphone won’t work when its cold as iphone will die within a few minutes left in cold.  For tracking of heart rate, running foot cadence (pace in foot strikes/minute) I am using a Wahoo TICKR chest heart rate monitor that feeds data to my Garmin or the Wahoo Runfit App on iphone  (I like this app because it reads out your mile splits).  Results for Runt app in first pic and results for fitbit in next three.  RUNFIT is better because fitbit heart rate doesn’t seem accurate once it is high.  The results below are for the same run –

HR issue:  RUNFIT says avg HR 127 with max 154, FITBIT says avg 145 with max 164.

RUNFIT also gives you minutes/mile by mile, cadence and a map of your run. I LOVE that RUNFIT will talk to me and tell me every time I hit a mile and my HR and last mile time in additional to overall time.

FITBIT has a better map showing each mile point.

The problem with using your phone GPS (either with Fitbit or Runfit) is that it runs the battery down fast – I have an iphone and before a 70 min run today, it was at 60% and barely lasted the run.  This will be what forces me to switch over to a Garmin device with longer battery life when workouts get longer!

Cycling Gear

  • You don’t need this specific trainer but I got a KICKR Core Smart trainer that I bought with the appropriate cassette (rear gears) for my bike.
  • My Specialized Ruby bike (without rear tire)
  • Quadlock system to attach phone to bicycle handle bars EASILY.  You can get extra components and also sandwich a large battery in between as phone, in airplane, using screen and gps will only last an hour.  THIS IS CRITICAL!!  I haven’t had much luck with battery cases and this is just awesome
  • Bontrager Ion 200RT/flare RT Bike Light Set.  White/Red small lights
  • Got some sleeves to be able to wear short sleeves and then remove the arm sleeves if hot.
  • Application I use to do runs and be with other humans vs. alone in my basement is Zwift.
  • Using the Zwift application on my phone, I mirror results to the tv through Apple tv.
  • The Zwift phone app (or on your computer) will find any sensors you are using and your smart trainer.
  • Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor- if it isn’t picking up your heart rate, move the sensor down on your body.  My bra was blocking it for awhile before I figured this out.
  • Wahoo cadence sensor (for pedal turns/minute).  The RPM shown in the application without this sensor is not your pedal turns.
  • Sweat Towel
  • Extension Cord to charge your phone and a phone holder to put onto the bicycle handlebars

Overall Setup (we also have a Concept2 Rower):

From the left, a Wahoo cadence sensor (this is one piece only, no mating piece needed to determine cadence), iphone charger and handlebar holder (one below is horrible – get a Quadlock system), appletv, wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor.

Hiking gear

  • Started hiking again end of 2019 doing some elevation gains/distance on weekends but really started hiking again in 2020…am trying now to Peakbag the NH48
  • A running hydration pack is great for summer hiking – and my Inov8 2:1 pack has an extra 10L “pocket” you can attach to carry an extra jacket in fall
  • 2021 got a Thermarest NeoAir Topo Luxe sleeping pad (3 season R value=3.7), size wide, 1 lb 12 oz, 25″x72″x4″.  Needed it as I camped for Kilkenney ridge race trying to use our queen air mattresses which were too big for tent and leaked!  Can fill this using lungs only in <5 min.
  • 2022:  Now have a Zenbivy sleep system.  sleeping bag that can also be more like a blanket used with the sleeping pad above.  Used it at ~30F and was comfortable at Ragnar Zion.
  • For wet/colder fall days where you need microspikes, more backup layers, etc, I just got a new Osprey 20L pack the “Tempest 20” which has attachments for treking poles, some great pockets, storage in hip belt, room for bladder or Nalgene bottles, etc.  Tried for first time 10/24/20 and may need adjustment as had a little soreness in my back (which actually occurs to me almost anytime on long run/hike).  I got this vs. a 30-35L pack because I have lighter/easy to pack gear and for day hikes, this is more than enough room.
  • A note on hiking shoes:  Some people want ankle high “boots” for ankle support, especially with the rocks here in New England.  Other experienced hiker friends say basic trail running shoes are fine – good practice for ankle stability, etc.  For winter, perhaps a slightly warmer shoe would help but I’m sticking with trail shoes for now also as they drain to support water crossings, etc.

Other miscellaneous Gear

  • General hiking daypack:  For colder weather where the 20L of the Inov-8 2:1 pack isn’t enough or you need to carry Nalgene bottles because the soft bottles with narrow hoses may freeze, I researched and got a Osprey Tempest 20 day pack in fall of 2020. Key features include:
    • Easy to attach hiking poles
    • Storage on hip stracks for food (although I store mine in my hiking pants/tights)
    • Storage for 2 nalgene bottles and/or soft larger bladder
    • good separation of pockets to keep a few things at easier reach
    • Nice outer pocket to stuff in rainjacket, etc for easy access
  • Reusable Stasher sandwich bags for the trail – can also pour boiling water into them, freeze, etc
  • Scott Jureks chocolate/cashew/almond/coconut oil/fig bars rolled in coconut – amazing substitution for the gross GUs.  Also as they have some fats/proteins, better fuel
  • A good journal is indispensable – there doesn’t seem to be one answer to recording all that you do…cycling is in wahoo app (which uploads to strava), crossfit is nowhere I like, running is runfit (which uploads to Strava).  I use a journal to document things I am learning and all I do day to day along with my wall calendar for high level.
  • Jump rope for warmups
  • Fitibit Charge to stay connected with my family – we have weekly step challenges I love plus I was using it for running when I just cared about distance and mile pace which it does a great job at.  Fitbit also give you cool, uplifting messages in the morning when you put it back on after a shower!  It is NOT waterproof
  • A weight bench, 45 lb bar when I have to do a strength or crossfit type workout at home
  • Pullup bars upstairs on a bedroom door
  • Ring rows next to the weight bench
  • Last but not least, a good bed!  We just spent a ridiculous amount on a Sleep Number bed with adjustable base so we can go into zero gravity position.  Got it yesterday and you can see us with cat below trying it out.  Sleep Number can have adjustable hardness by side.  We returned a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress we had just gotten.  A good night sleep is so important!


Meal planning stuff


  • Food scale and for travel, a portable food scale and collapsible measuring cup
  • Protein powder and shaker bottle with ball or something to help powder mix (i do it with just water)
  • LEAK PROOF containers – I use Six Pack Fitness Containers shown above
  • Good olive oil – I recommend my neighbors’ who imports it (and I know good olive oil from living in Italy) – Johnny Madge
  • Bathroom scale

Hope this helps as I’ve been struggling to accumulate all this stuff over the last year!

and BTW unrelated to OCR, but this is the best camp chair ever that is foldable and super lightweight:


There are no excuses – no hurt shoulder – no lack of equipment – it is just me and the 250 days until the race…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s