Most people run 10ks, or 10 miles. For trail ultrarunner--or is that ultra trail runner?--and Altra athlete Jason Schlarb, 100 miles is his norm--and he pounds through them on rough dirt tracks, through thick foliage, and uneven rocky faces.
Schlarb's pursuit of speed and endurance has taken him to long-distance races among the most beautiful natural scenery in the world: Patagonia, the Italian Dolomites, New Zealand, the French countryside. Where you want to vacation and relax, he's sweated and panted his way through miles upon miles of it.
At the time of this writing, Schlarb was training hard for the Eiger Ultra Trail 100k in July 2015, which has been described as "tougher than the solo attempt of the Eiger North Face." By the numbers, that's 62 miles (almost two and a half marathon lengths) crisscrossing 22,000 feet of elevation gain.
My go to shoe for training and racing is the Altra Paradigm. The Paradigm is a light weight "maximalist" shoe with over 30mm of EVA cushion. Maximalist cushioning reduces the impacting forces of running, which enables me to run in the mountains longer and with less injury risk. The cut-out traction, rubber and exposed EVA is the perfect light weight mix of gripping power for most all terrain I run on. Of course the signature foot shaped and zero drop design of all Altra shoes keeps me running efficiently and naturally. When doing fast climbing workouts on the trail, or if it is particularly muddy or slippery, I'll use the nimble, high traction Superior 2. For speed work on the flats, I use the uber fast and light (5.9oz) One 2.
I use Smartwool apparel and socks for all of my outdoor endeavors. Merino wool is not only a sustainable material, it is amazingly high performance. The PhD run line from Smartwool keeps me cool when it is hot and toasty warm in the cold while on the run. The merino blend used in the Smartwool shirts is light and fast and performs in all conditions. I love Smartwool arms sleeves and they are essential gear when I race. When conditions change and I get hot or cold I can easily slide the merino wool arm sleeves on and off without stopping. Smartwool is the king of socks, enough said. I almost always run in Smartwool PhD Ultra Light with Cushion Run socks. Smartwool products, along with being high performance, have the distinct benefit of not feeling like plastic and doesn't get greasy and so stinky.
ULTIMATE DIRECTION ANTON KRUPICKA VEST
For training and most racing in North America, I run with the Ultimate Direction (UD) Anton Krupicka (AK) vest. The AK vest is super light (7oz) but has enough easy access storage for everything I need. In the front pockets I carry my UD soft flask(s) (sometimes I'll put the flask(s) in the rear compartment too). Also in the front pockets, I'll put my Vitargo (powder based nutrition), hat, gloves and sometimes my phone. In the no zipper back compartment, I'll store bigger stuff like a coat, long sleeve shirt or Kahtoola Micro Spikes in the winter. When racing in Europe, where there is a lot of mandatory equipment, I'll race in the UD Scott Jurek, which has more capacity for equipment.
Vitargo makes the absolute best performing carbohydrate fuel in the world. The Vitargo carbohydrate has a low osmolality which has been proven to leave the stomach twice as fast as other maltodextrin and sugar based products. Vitargo doesn't stay in my stomach as long and gets to my muscles quicker. In trail and ultra-running, not having a sugar bomb that sits in your stomach making you nauseous, is a massive advantage. Instead of sitting in my stomach, Vitargo gets to my muscle faster. Vitargo also makes an enzymatically hydrolyzed whey recovery drink, Vitargo Post, that I use after my workouts to maximize recovery and fuel me for my next workout.
"I do a lot of traveling around the US and internationally with my wife and 4 year old son and most of the time we are sleeping outside."
I run with a Garmin Forerunner to track my miles and climbing. While I love the Forerunner and have used their product for nearly a decade, I have a hard time recommending the product. I believe Garmin should take an active role in giving back to the trail and ultra running community by supporting events, races, athletes and the trail running customer base that so faithfully supports their US based company.
While the carb is king with regards to in training and race fueling, my diet is low carb and grain free. My primary snack and even meal replacement when traveling is EPIC Bars and EPIC Hunter Gatherer mixes. EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar. EPIC bars include Bison Bacon Cranberry (my favorite), Turkey Almond Cranberry, Beef Habanero Cherry and Lamb Currant Mint. EPIC is such a refreshing and awesome tasting alternative to sugary sweet traditional bars that fit my dietary needs.
PETZL NAO HEADLAMP
I use the Petzl NAO for all my night racing and running and for any other situation where I'm out in the dark and need a light. The "reactive lighting" feature is a game changer for headlamps. The NAO dims when I'm looking at terrain close to me and brightens when I'm looking far off, which not only provides situation appropriate lighting, it saves battery power. The NAO uses a rechargeable 8hr (closer to 6hr I've found) battery pack which is really important, as I hate using environmentally-unfriendly and expensive disposable batteries.
"Smartwool is the king of socks, enough said."
I rely on a lot of Flora products in my diet. From medicinal teas, to manuka honey, a wide variety of natural high quality supplements and vitamins and of course Udo's Oil and 7 Sources. I use 7 Sources every day in my smoothie. 7 Sources is a complete, all-in-one, essential fatty acid product derived from seven different land and sea plants. It has great fats my body needs and also contains Omega-3 EPA and DHA.
ZEBRA JULBO TRAIL SUNGLASSES
The Julbo Trail with Photochromic Zebra Light tinting are my go to running sunglasses. The Julbo Trails are feather light, flexible, have an anti-fog treatment and have the rare, but particularly important to me, adjustable nose bridge to keep the glasses from sliding down my nose on fast, technical descents. The Zebra Light tinting is light enough I've actually run with them in the dark (to keep bugs out of my eyes) but darken enough that I can use them running above treeline on a sunny day. Overall the Julbo Trail is the best glasses I've worn running. For hanging out, the Julbo Kaiser with Photochromic Falcon tinting, cool and functional.
BIG AGNES COPPER SPUR ULTRA LIGHT TENT
I do a lot of traveling around the US and internationally with my wife and 4 year old son and most of the time we are sleeping outside. We love Big Agnes camping tents, pads and bags. Everything Big Agnes makes is high performance and innovative. The three of us slept in a Copper Spur Ultra Light for 4 months while circumnavigating the South Island of New Zealand by bike. We continually marveled over our Big Agnes tent and bragged about how awesome it was to other campers.