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When did you start using poles?

Brand Partners

July 6th, 2022

2 min read


We all remember our first race or favorite adventure, but what about the first time you added poles into the mix? Below, LEKI athlete Sabrina Stanley shares her story of when she started running and training with poles and why it has been a game changer for her.

Have a story of your own? Share your experience in the comments section and be automatically entered for a chance to win a new pair of LEKI Ultratrail FX One Superlite Poles. One random winner will be selected and notified.

When did you start using poles when running?

I started running with poles consistently when I began training for a mountainous 100-miler in the summer of 2018. I knew I would be using poles for the entirety of the race, so I ran with poles during all my training miles. This helped get my upper body familiar with the additional load it would be taking on while climbing and descending. It also taught me how to use the poles efficiently. 

Was there an “Ah-Ha” moment when you knew running with poles was a game-changer?

My “Ah-Ha” moment came when I was studying the most competitive runners in the world at races that piqued my interest. These runners were all using poles. To be competitive I knew I had to learn how to use poles to assist in my running if I wanted to run at the same level as the top athletes.

In a sentence or two, how would you describe the benefits of running with poles?

Poles take some of the load off a runner’s legs while going up and downhill. This transfer of power to the upper body allows a runner to conserve their legs for a longer period.

Don’t forget! Comment below about your first experience running or training with poles and you could win a free pair of LEKI Ultratrail FX One Superlite Poles. [the contest period for commenting is now closed]

349 thoughts on "When did you start using poles?"

  1. Liz says:

    The first time I used poles was during a 20 mile run with 10k vertical gain, much of which was cross country. The poles kept coming apart and I swore them off after that. A year later I wanted to give them another go so I finally watched the how-to video on the brand website hoping for some tips. It was then I figured out I hadn’t pulled them all the way out so the locking mechanism could engage…they’ve been a lot better now that they don’t fall apart when I use them 😉

  2. Adrian Lazar Adler says:

    After my first couple of US 100-mile races, where poles were either not allowed or just not the done thing, I bought a pair when I qualified for UTMB. I made sure to get in plenty of practice with them and they are such a help when you know how to use them.

  3. Barry Miller says:

    I first used poles at my second Wasatch 100. It was terrible because I had no idea how to use them. I put them away for several years. I got them back out about 4 years ago. I carry them almost all the time. First, they are my crutches if I hurt myself. Second, now that I’ve learned my rythm with them, they are great for taking just enough pounding off these aging muscles and joints that I can keep up a nicer gait and pace. I use them mostly for uphills, but also on non-steep terrain late in long runs to keep me running instead of succumbing to walking.

  4. Alissa says:

    I introduced poles when I started snow running!

  5. Mike Teger says:

    As a long time hiker and high altitude climber (8,000m+), using poles was just second nature in the transition to using them in mountainous ultras. Save the legs, share the burden, etc.. Get good with them and you’ll never go back.

  6. Jonathan F Lantz says:

    I currently am not training with poles but training for TDS and definitely want to use some then!

  7. Beth says:

    When I first started long distance hiking and then just kept them while running

  8. Harrison A. says:

    I started using poles after my first winter 100 miler.

  9. Ben Stewart says:

    I just used poles for the first time for the Broken Arrow Sky Race 50k to assist with the long, steep climbs. It was a two-lap race around the same route and I held off on using the poles longer on the second lap. I can say the climb was harder without the poles, and no, it was not solely because it was the second lap. I just need to get more accustomed to using them to become a full believer.

  10. Mark Bowman says:

    I started using poles when I signed up for the Tahoe 200. I knew I would need all the support I could get. I continue to use them to this day in a lot of runs because of failing eyesight and balance. They are a godsend.

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