Aliza Lapierre is tough to catch up with, but we did just that recently in order to get her thoughts on gear, running trends, and the state of the running world.
Lapierre, an ultra runner from Williston, Vermont, says she finds peace and a sense of belonging while running in mountains. Since getting involved in competitive running in 2004, she has excelled in 50-mile races and had recently moved on to tackle the top competition 100 milers. She placed third in last year’s Western States (18:18) and set a course record at the Bull Run Run 50 Mile. See more about her at her blog here.
Gear Institute: Hi Aliza. What are you up to these days?
Aliza Lapierre: I am enjoying some unstructured running as I am in my off-season. I feel free and relaxed when I can pick my route, distance and intensity based solely on the moment. As I work on some off-season strength I am working on building a schedule for next season and my hope is to incorporate a speed attempt on the Long Trail.
Gear Institute: Wow. Tackling the Long Trail speed record is a real challenge. As you know, we are primarily a gear publication, so tell us: What items of gear do you ALWAYS bring when venturing out on training runs or races?
Lapierre: On longer runs I always carry a Lifestraw in my pack as it lets me drink directly from streams or lakes and the straw removes 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria.
I also use GU gels but I also carry individual packaged servings of Justin’s Nut butter. These provide calories that stick with me, and the flavors are all amazing.
I try to be prepared incase of the unthinkable so I always have a SOL Emergency Bivvy in my kit. This lightweight/packable bivvy is waterproof, windproof and reflects 90% of your body heat back to you! It really provides a sense of security and could be a lifesaver.
I also always wear a Buff. The Buff provides sun protection and skin coverage, even as conditions change. It can be used in so many ways, from protection from the sun to skin protection during cold spells, or even as a bandage or wrap on an injured limb.
Gear Institute: So that’s your standard gear. How about techniques. Are there any special packing or gear-protecting tips you can share?
Lapierre: I typically run with a pack and extra gear since I never know if the weather will turn or how long a route may actually take. I organize things into baggies so they are packed down and to ensure they don’t get wet. This system also seems to minimize bouncing.
Gear Institute: Let’s jump back to some gear now. We covered your essentials, but as a sponsored athlete, you have access to a lot of other gear—and I’m sure your sponsors want you to tell us about that. So what gear from your sponsors do you rely on in your running?
Lapierre: I currently run with a Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin Hydro 12 Pack. This pack is hugs me in all the right places, is super light and allows for soft flasks and/or a hydration bladder. There is also ample storage for extra gear.
I also wear the Suunto Ambit 3 all the time. I have tried many GPS watches and this by far is my go to piece to track my movements. The feedback and data options are endless and because you can update the software you are never left in the dust with a device that doesn’t have the latest and greatest functions.
When it comes to shoes, the Salomon S-Lab Sense Soft Ground shoes are my “glass slippers.” The fit is perfect and I like the aggressive tread, which gives me control and cushion. Also they offer enough protection underfoot without taking away proprioception.
Gear Institute: As a sponsored athlete, you enjoy a bit of insider information I’m sure. Thinking about the outdoor industry, and running specifically, what do you see happening that is of interest right now?
Lapierre: I am closely following women’s specific products to see if they are in fact as versatile and durable as men’s or unisex products: My hope is yes! Also, I am intrigued by the development in headlamps as companies are now introducing “reactive lighting”. I think that products are only going to get lighter, brighter, and smarter.
Gear Institute: Thank you, Aliza, for your time. Before we let you go, is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
Lapierre: Trail running is such breathe of fresh air and great way to see different landscapes, while discovering what you are capable of. My advice is it is better to be over prepared than underprepared even if that means carrying a little extra weight. Go out, explore and see what you find!