Trail running can be hard, especially without the right stuff to keep you comfortable and fueled during longer distances. Alex Varner of the Nike Trail Elite Team has you covered though. Varner, who placed in the top-five at several high-profile ultramarathons in the US since 2013 and has represented the USA at the Ultra Trail Long Distance World Championships twice, shared with Competitor his must-have items.
Check out the tech, gear and grub Alex can’t run without.
- PickyBars—These are great. Real food and they work. I eat them before runs and races. They’re also one of the few solid foods I can handle during longer training runs/races, which is a big deal for me.
- GU energy gels—I use these during longer training runs/races. They’re easy to digest and you don’t have to chew, which makes them easier to swallow while you’re breathing hard. They deliver a quick boost when I’m feeling low.
- Nike Terra Kiger 4—I run almost all of my trail runs in these shoes. They’re fast and responsive but also have a good amount of protection which keeps my feet from getting too beat up during longer efforts. They’re an absolute must for me on race day.
- Nike Aeroswift 2″ Short—I definitely prefer split shorts to longer shorts, but the biggest problem is finding split shorts that have adequate storage. These have three pockets (two in back and one in the front) and can store a couple of GU’s, a phone, and a couple of credit cards. Plus the waistband is amazingly comfortable. These are a staple during my longer efforts when I need to carry some fuel with me.
- Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical—I don’t run without this watch. It has a very customizable display which you can personalize to show all sorts of stats across several different views and you can pair it with a heart rate monitor or foot pod. It syncs wirelessly via bluetooth with my phone and the GPS unit is in the bezel, which makes the fit seamless on my wrist.