It’s a love / hate thing

Posted on July 29, 2012

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Poles.  Whether you’re into mountain marathons or longer stuff, when it comes to technical terrain, there are those who use poles and those who don’t with few, if any, in between. Similar to the marmite debate I suppose.

I’ve had many a conversation during and post races re their merits but never been quite convinced myself … until recently that is when they proved an absolute godsend during the Ice Trail. Ronnie convinced me I would need them … and in hindsight, without them I would have struggled. With the battling winds up on the Grande Motte combined with deep snow and ice underfoot, they helped no end with balance and stability. And when descending the long pistes, which I would have far rather been sashaying down on my skis (!), they helped to gather speed without losing my footing.

Simply put, they turn your body into 4-wheel drive by helping you to:

  • Increase speed
  • Improve posture
  • Aid in establishing a good rhythm
  • Facilitate in crossing streams, loose rocks and slippery surfaces
  • Reduce leg fatigue
  • Decrease stress on the legs and joints
  • Improve balance
  • Provide extra stability
  • Reduce fatigue
  • And in turn increase the distance travelled in a day or the time to cover a set distance
  • They also help provide a nice little upper body work out and we musn’t ever overlook the importance of having toned, taut and sexy arms & shoulders!

As for the title of this post? 

The pair I used were borrowed from our friend and fellow runner, Sophie Power, who I did Racing the Planet Nepal with. Now Sophie doesn’t ever resort to anything but top of the range (even her sleeping bag has been made for her exact height!) and these poles were sturdy and strong yet lighter than even the best carbons out there. The trouble is, around 12 hours in, I stopped to change my gloves and wolf down a Cliff bar then failed to pick up the poles again, only realising after running down a giant hill.

Did I return?  Did I heck!

So yesterday, whilst it pained me to order her a brand new replacement pair at vast expense, I felt myself turn a little green with envy, which led to upgrading the quantity box from 1 to 2.

So with my own set on route, I now consider myself a fully-fledged convert and have no doubt they’ll come in handy during the Sabah Ultra in September.

As for you, if you remain on the fence, I strongly suggest giving them a go … just try keep a hold of them until the bitter end!

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