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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. Julian Lopez says:

    I come from a background as a XC skier. I started using poles for running a year ago. Doing the transition was very easy and felt so natural, given my expertise with ski poles.
    Running with poles gives me the feeling that I am “flying” in the trails, specially climbing up the hills. I have used poles in two races: the first one a 80 km and the second one, a 100 miles, and in both of them I felt like I can “run forever”. The impact in joints and muscles is so much less, that it almost feels like I’m cheating.
    I highly recommend using poles for long runs and working in the right technique to maximize their use

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I actually just used poles for the first time today! I’m traveling in Switzerland and had a hard time descending from the Mettlehorn in Zermatt last week and was recommended to use poles by my boyfriend who is an experienced trail runner. We went for a trail run today in the Jungfrau region and the difference was incredible. I’m borrowing a pair of mismatched poles at the moment, so getting a pair of my own would be wonderful to use now that I’ve gotten hooked on using them.

  3. Bill says:

    I am just starting to learn about using poles, in preparation for a high altitude race in October.

  4. Robert Prosser says:

    2022 training for more mountainous races such as run the rut and Speedgoat!

  5. Just started! I am aiming for my first qualifier for Hardrock and I have quickly learned that poles are going to go along with me for this ride 🙂

  6. June Gessner says:

    When I moved to Colorado and spent a lot of time on mountain trails

  7. Alejandro Reyes says:

    I started using poles about 10 years ago. At first I didn’t see much improvement because I was fast and super lean, but now with the aging and a few kilos added, they are essential for my running.
    And since I discovered Leki I don’t change it for other brand, mostly because they are the only ones with the trail shark device; and now I’m waiting for the new FX one superlight to go on sale.

  8. Paul LaPorte says:

    I used poles for the first time recently at the Canyons 100K (2022). It was literally a lifesaver (race saver). I made two cutoff times by less than 1 minute, ultimately finishing the race. Using poles helped substantially on the uphill course, providing climbing support on the ups and added stability on the steep downs and slushy muck late in the race. I would have DNF’d if I had not used them – will not be doing an ultra without them whenever allowed. Looking forward to the new Leki poles specifically designed for ultratrail excursions.

  9. Jessica Turner says:

    I like it for keeping a pace. I can feel when my pace is slowing when I get feedback from my poles.

  10. Kayla H says:

    I started using poles 2 years ago, when training for my first 100miler. I tripped myself on my first training run using poles…. I’m still learning.

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