>  Running   >  Gearing Up for An Ultramarathon

In less than one month I’ll be running my first ultramarathon. I know four weeks doesn’t sound like a time crunch, but boy, oh boy it feels like it. As we enter the home stretch of training, before running our 50-miler, my running buddy and I are focused on injury prevention, getting the miles in… and calming our nerves.

On April 1 we are running the Umstead 100 in Raleigh, North Carolina. If you want to read about race details or WHY the heck we’ve decided to run 50 consecutive miles, then check out my last post: A Pants-Shitting Big Goal: Training for an Ultramarathon .

But we are not here to talk any of that stuff today.

Nope, today we are talking something far more fun than stretching or running or being wracked with pre-race anxiety—GEAR! Training for an ultramarathon is no joke, and though the most important thing is your physical and mental fitness, it is still important to have the right gear. I’m going over all the gear I’m wearing and using in the lead-up to my first ever ultramarathon. I’ll include some links in case you are inspired to purchase any of these recommended items. Some of the links will be affiliate links, so I’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through them. You won’t pay extra but every little bit helps to keep this site running.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the gear.

My Favorite Gear for Ultramarathon Training

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Training is better with friends.



HOKA Speedgoat 5

The HOKA Speedgoat is a lightweight trail-running shoe. This is the same shoe I wore on the Camino de Santiago. I figured if it served me well walking 500 miles through Northern Spain, then it would probably hold up well for my 50-mile run. I opted for a trail running shoe because the Umstead 100 takes place in a wooded park.  The ultramarathon winds its way through Umstead Park, a natural area in Raleigh, North Carolina. The HOKA Speedgoat has enough tread to get through this trail run, but I don’t know about a craggier terrain. It doesn’t have the extreme hard spike-like tread that you’ll find in more intense trail runners. But it should work just fine for me.

Click here to Shop HOKA Speedgoat on Amazon

Check Here to buy from HOKA.

HOKA Clifton 8

Since most of my training runs are on pavement, I had to get myself a new pair of road running shoes, too. Training for a 50 miler means wayyyy more than 50 miles of running. But I won’t complain about two new pairs of sneakers.

I was already well into my ultramarathon training when I decided to buy new shoes. With the race only a couple months away (less at this point!) I didn’t want to get anything that needed too much breaking in. I went with the old faithful HOKA Clifton 8s. I’ve been running in these shoes for about a year and a half and though I don’t think they do anything for my speed, the comfort is next level. The month or two leading up to an ultramarathon is no time to be experimenting with new footwear.

I did mix it up slightly by purchasing men’s footwear. This was only because I found a better color option.

Click here to shop Hoka Cliftons on Amazon.

Get ALLL the Colors from HOKA online.  



Let us not be so excited about our brand new shoes that we neglect the other half of the footwear equation. Socks are important. Especially in high-mile situations.


Socks for Runners

I have one pair of special running socks that I have been wearing since training for my first marathon in 2019, that I believe are made of wool and called Feetures. They are great for warmer temperatures, but because I got the no-show height, I haven’t been able to train in them this winter.

You can shop Feetures Running Socks on Amazon.


I’ve also run in Darn Tough wool socks. Don’t be fooled by the word “wool”, these socks are not bulky or too hot! This is another recommendation that comes from my Camino de Santiago. Everyone kept talking about how wool socks prevent blisters. A coworker told me she hikes in Darn Tough socks and they last “Literally forever”. But if they don’t, you can return them. They’re guaranteed for life. Merino Wool is moisture-wicking and breathable, making it a good sock choice for both hot and cold weather. Simply choose the right weight sock, light weight for warmer weather and a heavy sock for cold.

I cannot attest to “forever” yet, as I’ve only had my Darn Tough Merino Wool socks since last summer, but they were used every day for more than a month and have held up well so far. I did get two blisters in my first week of the Camino de Santiago, but once they healed, I went through the rest of the 500-mile trek with no foot issues. These socks are made in Vermont, and it also feels good to support a local New England-based company.

Click here to buy direct at

Or buy them on Amazon.


Everyday socks (that still work for runners)

I know I just went over the good quality specialty socks I wear. But now I have a little confession…

When it comes to socks, I’m actually very low maintenance. My feet are chill and as long as the sock isn’t falling down the back of my shoe, or super thin, I’m okay. When I’m not running in my Darn Tough Socks or Feetures running socks, I swear by Puma socks. They have great cushioning on the bottom of foot, and in my experience, they last for years. This makes up the majority of the socks I own, and I don’t just run in them. I wear them to the gym, on a night out under booties, to the grocery store, to bed, etc. These are cheaper than specialty running socks, and you can often find them for a discount at stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. Don’t you just love a bargain?

Or you can Click here to shop Puma socks on Amazon.



Hydration Pack

Camelback Hydration Backpack

I’m currently using the Camelback Lobo Hydration Pack, which is technically meant for biking. I was gifted it a few years ago, and in an effort to curb my consumerism and not spend a million dollars on new gear for this ultra, I’m training with what I have. An even lighter vest hydration pack might be better, but so far this Camelback backpack is doing the trick. It is super small—much smaller than a typical small sized hiking bag. It also holds its form, so there is not a bunch of fabric swooshing around while you’re trying to run. It clips around to waist , stays in place, and has ventilation in the back panel

Click here to buy Camelback Lobo Hydration Pack it on Amazon.

Shop other hydration vests on Amazon

Food for Runners

Water is the most important thing to consider on long runs, but on a 50-mile run, you’ll need more fuel than that. A girl’s gotta eat—especially on an ultramarathon course.

One important part of training for an ultramarathon is training your body to ingest food while you run. This sounded to me like the best part of training—”Snacks? Yay!”—but it’s serious business. The worst thing you can do is try something new on race day. No one wants to be barfing on the side of the trail (though I’m told it might happen anyway.) So my running buddy and I have been experimenting with different fuel options during our long runs. We, admittedly, haven’t gotten around to eating hot food while running, which would have been smart since the Umstead 100 has TONS of different food options available for runners. Maybe in the next month we can try out a grilled cheese on the go for preparation.

In the meantime, we have been trying different easy fuel options like GU Energy Gel, Energy Chews, CLIF Bars, and Jelly Belly Sports Beans. The chews, beans, and gel have electrolytes, amino acids, and vitamins to help you power through the workout. And the bars are packed with protein to satiate and make you feel like you’re actually eating. I’ve tried other sports bars, but I’m partial to Cliff. GU products are gluten-free and vegan, CLIF bars are vegetarian, organic, and Kosher.

So far so good on the eating front. I tried the jelly beans twice and have found them to be a bit on the sour side and quite citrus-y. My body is sensitive to acidic foods, so I’m probably going to steer clear of these ones in the future. Other people might like them, just a personal preference. The GU Energy Chews in orange flavor were delicious—like those sugar-covered orange slices your grandma had in a crystal candy bowl as a kid—and did not taste especially acidic or sour. GU gel is a tried-and-true member of the rotation, and I love a good protein bar, so always happy to munch on the go.

Click any of the links above or click here to shop snacks for runners.

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Fuel is essential when you're burning this many calories on a run.



Beats Fit Pro

These are my current ear buds and I LOVE them.

I walked 500 miles through Spain using one earbud. In fact, for at least six months, I was running around with only one earbud. I lost its partner and just, I don’t know, was waiting to lose the other one, I guess. Finally in November I left my sole earbud behind in a hotel room and had to choose a new pair.

I was going back and forth between Airpods and Beats Fit Pro (though I had previously  been using a cheap pair of buds that served me well, and I will also link below.) I decided on the Beats Fit Pro because of the wing-tip feature that is supposed to be good for keeping them in your ears while doing physical activity. Obviously, as a runner this is appealing. I can’t think of anything worse than having to stop, turn around, and run in the wrong direction to get your fallen headphones back. But working as a flight attendant and seeing the number of people who lose their earbuds while sleeping also made this feature a must-have.

I’ve only had my Beats Fit Pro for a few months, but I am loving them. Beats is owned by Apple now, so the tech inside is about the same. The sound is great, and the battery seems to last forever. The connectivity is quick and seamless, and I love the noise-cancelling feature for the plane or the gym.

The Beats Fit Pro come in a eight different colors, which sets them apart from their mono-tone competitor. I got the stone purple, but had it existed at the time, the  Volt Yellow would have been a definite contender. Buy Beats Fit Pro on Amazon and have them in 2 days!

Click here to Buy Beats Fit Pro Plus.

Bass on a Budget

The old earbuds I had were cheapies but really did the trick. If you want a decent quality set of earbuds that won’t break the bank, try the JLab Go Air Pop True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. (Say that five times fast!) These can be purchased at Walmart, Amazon, etc. and retail between $20-$35. They don’t have noise-cancelling, but otherwise I had no complaints while using them.

Click here to buy JLab Go Air ‘Buds on Amazon.



Better to prevent an injury than to treat one. And at the ripe old age of 37, I am taking serious precautions while training for my first 50-mile run.


Foam Roller

When people say “It hurts so good” about foam rolling, I literally want to slap them. I’m not a fan of pain, and the foam roller brings it. Only temporarily, of course, and then it provides you with a bunch of benefits like reduced muscle tightness, increased range of motion, reduced inflammation, and even reduced soreness, if you can believe it.

I have this lime green FitGear bumpy foam roller. (The bumpy ones get into the deep tissue, so it sucks more while you’re doing it.) Though I hate using my foam roller, it really works. And at $16.99 it’s a steal.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.


As I mentioned, I am not a fan of pain. Ibuprofen is the right pain reliever for sore muscles and preventative dosing because it is an anti-inflammatory. Before a long run (18 or more miles) I pop an ibuprofen in the car on the way to my running spot. This helps to prevent inflammation and associated pains. Obviously I’m not a doctor, so check with yours before you start any medication regimen.

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Decked out in my Camelback Lobo, Goodr Sunglasses, and BUFF for my recent training run. All smiles 12 miles in!



Against the Sun

1. A kick-ass sunscreen.

I ran for four and a half hours on a training run today. Though I’m in New England and spring has definitely not sprung, the sun was still shining all day and UV rays are harmful even when the air is cold. If you’ve been here before, you know what I swear by. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is the best of the best sunscreen for faces. It’s SPF 40 and silky smooth with no white caste, greasy feel, or sunscreen smell. It also happens to be cruelty-free and reef-friendly. Summer will be here before you know it, so get stocked up. You will not regret this buy.

Buy Supergoop on Amazon.

Or buy direct from


2. Polarized Sunglasses

A not-so-nice side effect of getting older is that my vision is ever so gradually worsening. I find myself squinting ALL the time nowadays. I’m not about to squint in the sunlight through a 1, 4, or 12-hour run, and even if I didn’t mind the wrinkles, I would mind the UV damage. A good pair of polarized sunglasses is essential if you’re outdoors a lot, running or not.

I have these Goodr OG Sunglasses and they are great. They block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, are glare-reducing, and don’t slip, or bounce while running. The confession I’ll make is that I got these glasses for free when I volunteered at the Umstead 100 last year, but at $25-35 a pair, this is not an investment that will break the bank.

Click here to visit the Goodr site.

Or Buy them on Amazon.

Against the Cold

Training in New England in the winter is not for the faint of heart. My running buddy and I have run over through snow and mud puddles and biting wind. I had to make a rule for myself that when the temperature is below 20 degrees I don’t run outside. This came after a piddly 3-miler that almost resulted in frostbitten fingertips.

Making sure my ears and fingers are protected is a huge priority when running in cold conditions. I use some cheapo gloves from who knows where, and for my ears I’ve been using a BUFF neck gaiter. I got my BUFF, like a lot of the other gear listed here, before venturing on the Camino de Santiago. BUFFs are lightweight gaiters that can be used as neck warmers, ear warmers, or face warmers. What’s nice is there is enough fabric that you can double it up, or scrunch it, to make it warmer. I didn’t use my BUFF very often on the Camino, but it has been a lifesaver in training for an ultramarathon.

Shop BUFFs on Amazon.

And that about sums it up, all the gear I’m using while training for my first ultramarathon.  I hope this list was helpful for someone, and please feel free to leave your own gear suggestions in the comments below!

So far ,the most I’ve run is 24 miles. That is a looooong way to 50 in a short amount of time. But with the right gear, the right mindset, and the right preparation (including but not limited to the foam roller of death) I’m confident we will be ready and able to have a great run on race day.

Please wish us luck!


Have a great weekend and take care of yourselves <3

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    March 30, 2023

    yayayay!!! i am so excited for you! I can’t wait! I think i might buy those earbuds through your link too! happy running!!


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