Here is my promise: you can run further by running only ONCE per week.
How is that possible?
Simple, just run once per week! Okay, so there’s a little more to it. And I can teach you the process. It’s how I’ve run from a few miles on a treadmill to 100-mile ultramarathons in a short period of time.
But first, know that’s only one of the uncommon principles that I will share.
I personally packed this article with 17 uncommon running principles that will help you run further. Why are they uncommon? Well, because it’s unusual to run extraordinarily long distances. But, if you’re open to what you are about to read, you can run from a 5k to a marathon and even an ultramarathon!
And it all starts with one fundamental realization. It’s critical to understand that the path to conquering long distance starts from within…not from without.
You see, the most powerful tool you have to run long distance is your MIND. And when you master it, the boundaries of your endurance disintegrate.
Here’s the thing, I appreciate every single person who reads my posts, and I hope it’s helped you along your own running journey. But I don’t cross the finish line for you…YOU do. That’s because ALL the answers you are searching for are NOT within me…they are within YOU. I’m not your running GURU; I’m your running GUIDE. I’m a guide to help you find the answers within yourself and bring them out right NOW.
Yes, I’ve ran nearly 100 ultra distances in a short time, and have many useful tips and tricks, but no one can run those miles for you. It’s an INSIDE job. If you really want to run extraordinary distances, then your efforts must come from the inside-out, not from the outside-in. Sure, the finish line will make you feel good to a point. But if you always focus on the metals that you receive and the praise that you get then the process will ultimately feel empty, and it’s an emptiness that no fuel will ever fill.
When you search from within you will start to find meaning in your running and develop faith in your abilities. Here is where you will find the inspiration that propels you forward to run further distances if you want it bad enough.
Remember—ANYONE can become a runner. You were born to run. In life you stand, you walk, and you run. There’s nothing complicated about the process. It’s just some of us put running on a pedestal like you have to be part of some exclusive club and forget that running is simply the way of life.
Between the gear, fuel, shoes, and everything else sold in the industry, running sometimes can lose its simplicity. So try not to make running more complicated than it really is.
If you ask me, the simplicity of the sport is one of it’s best qualities. Well, the simplicity as well as the freedom you experience. Running doesn’t require equipment like a bike, and you don’t need to find water like a swim. All you need is a pair of legs and the determination in your heart.
I mean, how incredible does it feel just to throw on a pair of shoes and run where ever you want whenever you want? It’s FREEDOM in its rawest form, and it encourages the process of growth. Some may even call it a metaphor for life.
As I mentioned, there’s nothing like the freedom of a run. That’s why this article does not list a set of “rules” to run further. There are too many so-called “rules” in the running industry (rules I stopped giving attention to a long time ago). So I didn’t want to provide any more rules to follow.
In fact, it wasn’t until I stopped paying attention to the rules and started paying attention to MYSELF that my running really improved. Here is where I began to transform into a runner able to run distances like 100 miles.
Okay…so I’m sure by now you want to know the 17 principles I keep bringing up.
They are 17 uncommon running principles that if you read, and understand, will help you run further. Well, that’s only if you are open to them. And if you’re not open to all of them, no big deal, just choose a few you can relate to.
But I think if you keep reading, even if you don’t fully grasp every principle right away, it will only better your running. You will find a tip or alter your perspective that will change the actions you take in helping you run further.
If you continue to read you will learn uncommon tips, tricks, and different perspectives I’ve picked up on my journey into ultra running.
And here’s the best part: there’s no real process or steps required for most of them. Just read, let them sink in, and as your perspective changes, your actions will change. Naturally, you will begin to take effective actions that morph you into a runner who can run vast distances by foot. And it will be because you’ve stepped back from a narrow scope and opened your eyes up to an understanding that ANY distance is possible by ANYONE who is daring enough to try.
So are you ready? Are you excited? I sure am! Let’s dive in and reshape your running world for good. Let’s learn how to run further by following the 17 uncommon running principles that follow. Starting with…. running once per week!!!!
Principle #1- Run Once Per Week And Run Any Distance Imaginable
The problem we face most when becoming runners or running a further distance is TIME.
You would run that half-marathon but…you just don’t have the TIME. You would start that marathon training schedule but…there’s just no TIME to train. You would give an ultramarathon a shot but…the typical training program looks more like a full-TIME job schedule than a running plan.
I know how a jam-packed day feels, I can tell you from experience. Being a full-time dad and husband, working full-time, having a social life (what social life?), all while chasing your passions and still finding time to work out and sleep can be challenging to say the least. It can seem impossible to find TIME to train.
But guess what? I found the time, and with it, so far, I ran nearly 100 ultra distances. I’ve run marathons, 50ks, 50 miles, 100ks, 100 miles and even 116 miles across the state of Florida.
And this may be the truest words ever spoken: if I can do it, so can you!
So how did I run so many distances with such a busy schedule? What plan did I follow? What is my secret?
Well, I’m glad you asked! I developed my own training program to run further. We could even call it a SECRET formula for running ANY distance by running only ONCE per week.
And I share it all in my new book called, A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get It Done. It will not only change your running for the better, but it will change your life. It will give you more TIME and allow you to cross the finish line of ANY distance if you follow the program.
Now your only problem becomes finding a place to put all your finisher medals.
Here’s my promise to you: by reading my new book, A Runners Secret, and following the training programs, you will have the tools to run ANY distance by running ONE DAY PER WEEK!
Picture yourself approaching the finish line of your first marathon with the crowd roaring, cheering you on. Or imagine hopping off the couch and taking your life back by setting the goal of running a 5k. Or see yourself becoming leaner and developing more energy from training and finishing your first half-marathon.
Or….if you dare…imagine reaching an unfathomable level of consciousness by defying the laws of human endurance and ripping through your first ultramarathon.
If any of this sounds like something worth doing or a new way worth living, then give A Runner’s Secret a read.
Inside the pages, you will learn…
–The secret formula for designing A Runner’s Secret training program: That’s right, you get the secret sauce. YOU become the master.
–Training programs for 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile distances: This means no time wasted planning your runs. Just simply pick a plan, start with week 1, and begin training the instant you open your book.
–Racing & training tips for every distance: These expert tips will help the entire process go a whole lot smoother. No wasted time and energy from trial and error. You gain the know-how before you even begin.
–The secret Dos and Don’ts to make running once per week even easier: These secret tricks are the icing on the cake. They will make this simple process even simpler and help ensure you get through training.
–And much….much more: the mental aspect is my favorite. There are enough fresh perspectives in this thing to destroy every limited belief you may be holding that prevents you from running long distances.
Put simply: run once per week and run any distance imaginable!
Principle #2- Someone Has Already Reached Your Goal and That Someone Has The Answer
There’s a simple yet powerful saying: if you want to be the best, then you have to model the best.
What does “model the best” mean exactly?
It means that no matter what goal you have, there’s someone who has already accomplished that goal. So, find that person who can run further, learn what they did, and use the same strategy. If you do this and go all in, then you will see similar results.
For example, let’s say you want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Simply find a runner who has qualified and buy their training program. You could even hire their coach. Most coaching is done online nowadays anyway.
Why waste the time of trial and error? Why try to reinvent the wheel?
And the best part is you can find an effective strategy by doing a quick search on your phone. Just hop online, find a runner who has qualified for the Boston Marathon, and ask what plan they used.
Why not take advantage of social media and learn a thing or two?
No matter what beliefs you hold about the world, the truth is, most people like to lend a helping hand. I know I do. People message me all the time and ask for help in running marathons and ultramarathons. The long run is my specialty, and I happily help them any way I can.
The point is the answers are out there, and you just have to ask.
Think about the real advantages of a book. Some self-help books are only a few hundred pages in length that contain a strategy that took someone 30 years to develop. You literally receive 30 years of expertise in a book you can finish in one sitting.
30 years of knowledge in a 2 hour read? Talk about finding a way to save time.
That’s why my new book A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get It Done has become so popular. People don’t just buy it because I’m a nice guy or because they like me. They buy it because they receive a strategy that saves them a MASSIVE amount of time. It’s a strategy from an expert in long distance running. And most importantly, it’s a strategy that WORKS.
Do you know how much trial and error I went through in becoming an ultramarathon runner? If we sat here as I told you all the problems I solved to be able to run 100 miles we would be here for weeks.
So, if you were a person who wanted to run their first marathon or ultramarathon and saw a weekend warrior like myself running those distances, I would most likely get your attention. Then if you saw I ran nearly 100 ultramarathon distances in a four-year span, while working full-time and still having the energy to be a dad and a husband, you would probably be curious how I did it. And then if you saw that I wrote a book on how, and it only cost a few bucks, and it only required you to run once per week, there would be no reason not to pick up a copy.
You can grab a copy here —> A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get It Done.
But that’s just one example. There are many runners in the industry with information to reach just about any goal you can think of.
And then one day…YOU become the expert.
Principle #3- Taking ONE Step Is The Only Ingredient In Becoming A Runner
If you want to become a better long distance runner tomorrow, then consider yourself a better long distance runner TODAY.
When you first start running or move up to a further distance, it can sometimes be intimidating. I know it was for me. It took courage to show up the morning of my first marathon. On race day I remember thinking “I’m no marathon runner” but fortunately I found the courage to give it a shot anyway. The same thing happened on the morning of my first ultramarathon, I thought “Am I crazy? I’m not an ultramarathon runner, look at these people.”
It takes time to understand the truth about long-distance running. The truth that ANY runner can run ANY distance.
So start calling yourself a runner TODAY. It’s as easy as saying “I AM a runner.” Say it enough times, and a runner is who you become.
We get so caught up in not considering ourselves runners based on the standards of others.
Well, guess what? Here’s the recipe for becoming a runner: walk outside, take ONE step, and POOF…you are a runner.
Remember, your distance and time are only relative to your own abilities. If you are putting in an honest effort, then no matter if you can run one mile or one hundred, you are as much a runner as anyone else.
When you start off as a runner or work your way up to a new distance, sometimes you don’t feel good enough. You see other runners who look like they came right from a stock image online. They have the right gear, they are in the perfect shape and run with a big smile on their face.
And although some runners resemble this on race day, guess what? Most do not. Runner’s are all different shapes and sizes and go about race day with many different strategies.
You know why? Because running a marathon or ultramarathon is much more mental than it is physical.
The marathon distance was the first race I ever ran. I didn’t have a bunch of fancy gear, and I sure didn’t run in a group. I shoved a hand full of gels in my pocket, walked to the start, and thought “If these thirty thousand people can finish 26.2 miles, why not me?”
So here’s my question: why not YOU?
If you feel like a marathon or ultramarathon runner on the inside, then you will be a marathon or ultramarathon runner on the outside. You will train differently, and hold yourself to a new standard. And that goes for any distance from a 5k to an ultramarathon. If you always stress on the inside, I guarantee you regularly find yourself in stressful situations on the outside.
I’m sure you know that person with road rage who can’t drive for 10 minutes without getting into an altercation. And then, on the contrary, you may know someone who hasn’t gotten into a confrontation whatsoever.
That’s because, as I mentioned, your inside world is an EXACT reflection of your outside world. A stressful internal environment creates a stressful external environment. So, if you feel like you are NOT a runner on the inside, then you are setting yourself up for one tough road to the finish line. Sure it’s still doable, but why not make the experience easier on yourself?
If you want to follow through on training and cross the finish line EVERY time then start seeing yourself as that runner NOW. When you do this, subconsciously you will progress with much less effort. It will feel like a natural occurrence.
ANYone can run ANY distance, so guess what… you are a runner in my book. So start being a runner TODAY and run further starting right NOW.
Principle #4 – Your Energy Is Like A Bank On Race Day
One of the most common mistakes beginners make is starting off way too fast when racing. Your body needs time to warm up and to adjust. Warming up your lungs, heart, and legs is essential for running.
Ever jump out of bed too fast? Pretty uncomfortable, I know—even painful at times. Instead, start slow, and you’ll prevent frustration, overexertion, pain, and even injuries.
Look at your next race as a bank with energy as your currency. You only have so much energy to withdraw on race day. Fueling will add more to the account, but processing takes time. Meaning, it takes time to convert fuel to usable energy like it takes time for a check to clear in your account. If you withdraw all your funds at once, even when you’ve deposited more funds, you will go broke. That’s why going out too quickly can cause you to tire, even when fueling. The key is to start slow and pace yourself.
Here’s a tip:
When pacing yourself, try not to get caught up running faster than the person next to you. You have the whole race and heading out the gate too fast can set you up for an exhausting experience.
First and foremost, running is about the race against yourself. Remember your training, start off slow, and adjust your pace based on how YOU feel. Don’t change it based on the person running next to you.
If your races go well, you will develop the motivation to run further thus running more races.
Principle #5- If You Visualize Crossing The Finish Your Brain MUST Find A Way
Visualization is a tool that professionals use in every sport.
There was a study conducted at the University of Chicago to prove the amazing benefits of visualization in athletics. During the study, they split the participants into three groups. Within each group, they recorded how many free throws were made in a given time.
After recording the number of baskets made, it was time to try and improve each groups shooting percentage.
The first group practiced free throws every single day for 1 hour.
The second group didn’t practice at all.
The third group didn’t practice physically shooting; instead, they visualized themselves sinking free throw after free throw.
Thirty days later they tested each group again, and something very interesting happened.
The first group improved by 24%. The second group, as expected, didn’t improve at all. But the third group improved by 23%! And guess what? They didn’t even touch a basketball!
Now consider a professional who practices every day as well as visualizes their success. Think about the possibilities! The mind is a powerful force. It can enslave you or empower you, the choice is yours.
In running, when you picture yourself crossing the finish line over and over again, you subconsciously start finding a way. There’s a system in your body called the “reticular activating system” which helps your brain decide exactly what it should be focusing on. For example, ever decide you want a particular car then start seeing it everywhere you go? That’s your RAS at work.
When you have a purpose and focus solely on achieving your goal with complete certainty, you will influence the RAS system, and you will begin to pay special attention to the things that will help you achieve it. So visualize the finish line, see it, and watch it happen.
So how do you get started? First, determine EXACTLY what you want. Clarification is key. For example, if you want to lose SOME weight, then you will become just that, a person who loses SOME weight. So if you lose one pound, then you reached your goal. One pound is SOME weight, right?
But if you say “I will lose 10 lbs in the next four weeks by working out three days per week,” then your brain will find ways to get you there.
It may be an article that catches your eye about how removing bread from your diet makes you thin. Or you may just happen to meet someone who has lost a significant amount of weight themselves.
The fact is this: if you want to run further than you need to pick the distance (whether you think you can run it or not) and declare it as your goal. Our brains are exceptional at finding patterns. And if you have a clear and precise goal, you will find a way unless you let negative emotions get in the way. And that’s where the next principal comes in.
Principle #6- Emotions Propel You In Motion To Run Further
A positive thought reflects the principle of creation, while a negative thought reflects the principle of destruction. That’s why most consider a positive thought to be 100 times more powerful than a negative one. So staying positive while running is 100 times more powerful than becoming negative. Reasons to quit are always available, but guess what? So are reasons to finish.
And you know the best part? When you set the intention to find positive thoughts, you are subconsciously looking for reasons to be positive. Remember—humans are the world’s best pattern-recognition machines. So the more positive things you look for, the more you will find thus becoming more optimistic, which gives you incredible energy during your run. The path to positivity is an upward spring as long as you feed it with the intention of becoming more positive in your thoughts.
How do you think I get through 100-mile ultramarathons? I think positive and find things to be grateful for. Every step I take is a “thank you” for my health to run and for the miracle of life.
And of course, these positive thoughts don’t always come naturally. Running 86 miles into a 100-mile race with severe chafing and stomach nausea isn’t exactly the most positive situation to build from. You have to set the intention, and when times are at their darkest, it takes more effort to find the light. Remember—you can’t see the stars without the darkness of the sky.
Plus, negative thoughts are lazy. They are easy. It takes no courage to be negative. But to have a positive thought takes effort and it can be difficult at times. This is because most people, unfortunately, hold onto negative thoughts and will challenge your new way of thinking.
But if you think good thoughts, you will feel good emotions thus creating heightened energy for your run.
Why will you create this new found raised energy?
Think about it…emotions literally mean “energy in motion.” And since your THOUGHTS create your EMOTION, your positive THOUGHTS are creating your ENERGY to run. And since a positive thought is 100 times more powerful than a negative one, think about the advantage you’ll have through your entire run. Well, that is, assuming you are also following an effective fueling strategy.
So by thinking good, you will feel good, thus CREATING a good run. Sure, it will take some practice at first but what’s great about this principle is that it works IMMEDIATELY. If you change your thoughts, and create positive emotions, you can start running right NOW and feel good.
Okay, so now you know the power of positive thoughts, but what if you just can’t get rid of the negativity? What if you are past the point of return and are ready to just give up on this running thing? Or worse yet, what if you just don’t want to get rid of negativity? I mean, we all have an emotional home so it can feel foreign to make a change if living in a negative one. We human beings sure like order and routine.
Well, although positive thoughts provide more energy than negative ones, they still provide some energy. That’s because energy is still energy no matter if it’s good or bad. There’s hot water, and there’s cold water, but no matter the temperature, guess what? Water is still water. Just like there’s positive and negative energy, energy is still energy.
So if you’re mad, use it. If you’re sad, use it. If you’re fed up, use it. As long as you’re using the energy for a positive outcome, it can still be used to propel your run. And becoming a better runner who can run further is nothing but positive.
So let’s say you’re angry. When you feel this emotion, your body is already getting ready to take action. Blood starts flowing, your pulse begins to race, adrenaline pumps through your system… and as a result, you take action. At first, your action may be yelling, punching a bag, or kicking a tire. But if you can learn to direct this energy in a positive direction—like when you run—you can use your anger for good instead. And eventually, your anger will dissipate from your positive outcome.
The point is this: the EMOTION (anger) moves you to take ACTION (run).
So step back, try to see your emotions objectively, and guide that energy into a positive outcome. The positive outcome of continuing to move forward through training, to race day, and crossing the finish line.
Principle #7- When You Are Grateful It’s Impossible To Feel Bad
If you follow my writing, you know that I express bringing gratitude into your running routinely. That’s because I do it in my own running and in my own life.
For me, it’s essential to keep my spirits high while running. This has been by far the most significant impact on my training. When you’re 50 miles into a run, it’s not your stride or your fueling technique that will disrupt your run. That’s because if you made it that far, chances are you have the mechanics down. What helps you run such frequent long and taxing distances are keeping your mind right and your spirits high. And the best way to achieve that is through GRATITUDE.
When you run long distances, the highs and lows come with every run. But here’s the thing, if you can run from a much higher spirit, your lows become relatively higher. That is, your lows aren’t nearly as low relative to the average runner. What I mean is your new “low” is equivalent to the average runner’s regular mood. And YOUR highs are off the chart! This way it becomes difficult to reach any kind of low that stops you from ending your race early. This is the number one reason I contribute to finishing every ultramarathon I’ve ever taken on.
When I experienced extreme nausea for 50 miles, instead of quitting I thought, “thank you for the abundance of food around me, where I can eat so much that my stomach hurts.” And then… I kept moving forward. When I was chaffing during a 30-hour run it felt like razors were rubbing between my legs with every stride. I then found a bag of flour and dumped it down my pants and thought “thank you for the gas station having something to relieve the pain so I can continue running.” And then…I kept moving forward. Or the time I cramped so bad it took me to the ground, and I thought “thank you for the reminder of how important my electrolyte balance is because if this were a longer race, I would really have a problem.” And then…I kept moving forward.
It’s not naïve, it’s about understanding that life is happening FOR you, not TO you.
Here’s a test. Think about something unknown or something that frightens you. You know, something that makes you uncomfortable, even fearful. Not like BOO fearful, more like an uneasy feeling. Now, once you have that thought, switch to something that you’re thankful for. And focus on it. For example, if you have kids, picture them laughing with their big loving smiles. Okay…now…what instantly happens to your fear? If you practice it enough, your fear diminishes, I know mine does.
Now, wouldn’t this be extremely helpful on race day when your mind tells you to quit? When things get tough? When it’s uncomfortable during a race?
If I were forced to lose all my knowledge of running beside one aspect, it would be my experience in using gratitude to empower my run.
Just a few weeks ago I was running a local 50-mile trail ultramarathon. I ran up to the 40-mile aid station with a smile on my face. A volunteer asked how I felt. My reply was, “incredible!” He then looked up at me and said he never had anyone tell him they felt incredible that far along in a race. We both laughed as I continued down the dirt path ahead to the finish.
As I’ve said many times before: When you’re grateful, it’s impossible to feel bad. And in a sport where discomfort is a guarantee, gratitude will help you along the way.
Principle #8- Bad Runs Can Be Leveraged To Create Good Runs
Whether you want to hear it or not, bad runs are normal.
Think about it, how do you know if you’re having a good run if you haven’t had a bad run? Bad runs are a part of the process. They come, and they go.
But here’s the good news: you can use bad runs to your advantage. Meaning, you can use a bad run to create a good run.
Yes, I know, sounds a bit unusual. Bad runs can bring you down pretty low, I’ve been there. But with every valley comes a peak. With every top comes a bottom. With every high comes and low. When you perform exercises at the gym, you must dip down before you can push up. You must break those muscles down before they grow back bigger and stronger.
Here’s how to use a bad run to create a good run:
So first, determine when is your best time to run. For me, it’s the morning. I feel fresh and inspired when I wake up. This holds especially true when I start off my morning with a long run. When I’m deep in my training, I even wake up at 1:00 am to train before I start off my day. That’s how much more I prefer a morning run compared to a day or night run.
Just the other morning I ran 31 miles before the start of my workday.
At the same time, I have my bad morning runs too. When I feel I’ve had consecutive bad runs in the morning, I run one at night. I go through a lower low, so when I run again in the morning, I feel much better and grateful to be out running into the sunrise.
So in like manner, if you’re a night runner, you would run one earlier in the day and then at night. Or if you run in a group, you would run one by yourself and then with your group. Or if you love nature, you would run one inside, and then back outside.
The key is to go lower into your low and push yourself through it. When you get into a funk, sometimes, you need to push through a run harder. Anytime I feel like I’ve had multiple “bad runs” I know I must put in extra effort, take a long rest, and go back at it with higher spirits.
After experiencing multiple bad runs, I do the following:
Run at night —> rest longer than usual —> hydrate and fuel up while recovering —> download a new playlist —> wake up extra early for my run—> meditate with gratitude —> and run into the morning sunrise.
It works every time… all the time.
Principle #9- When You Strike The Ground The Ground Strikes You Back
Do you remember learning about Newton’s Third law in grade school?
If not, to avoid taking a possibly unpleasant trip down memory lane, allow me to explain. Newton’s third law states “for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
So how does this apply to running?
Well, when you run, both forces are present whenever you strike the ground. Your foot strikes the ground pushing down against the ground, and the ground pushes back.
To explain it better, imagine shooting a basketball while wearing a pair of roller blades when you were a kid.
What happened? When you shot forward, it sent you rolling backward, right? The force of your shot pushes back against you with an equal force that you applied while shooting the basket.
This is a critical point to understand when running, especially when using poor running form. If you strike the ground with poor form, a misalignment is created thus sending a whole lot of force in all the wrong places. This will ultimately cause injury. For example, let’s say you’re running with flat feet in a neutral shoe. The force of the ground is not being applied evenly throughout your foot. That’s because when you overpronate, your foot rolls inwards. So the force that should be applied evenly throughout your foot is only being applied to the inside part of your foot (creating a misalignment). The force stays the same, but the area becomes smaller. So that massive amount of force is now targeting ligaments and tendons which cause knee pain and shin splints.
Picture someone stepping on your foot with their whole shoe versus a heel. The heel hurts much more, does it not? That’s because the same amount of pressure applies to a smaller area.
Without proper form, you are possibly setting yourself up for injury. To help poor form, I explain what I call the “Big Domino’s” of proper running form in Runner Injuries: How To Avoid Injury And Run Pain-Free. If you get a minute, it’s definitely worth a read.
The point is this: every stride comes with an opposing force. So, be aware of where that force goes so you can find longevity in your running, not injury.
Principle #10 – Today’s Training Run Is The Only Run That Matters Today
Sometimes as runners, we get caught up in our future goals or what we’ve achieved in the past.
Maybe you think back on a big race you finished…or didn’t finish. Or maybe you’re focused on how you plan to tackle your next run. But the fact is, the past and future hold no direct benefit in your progression today.
The miles you ran yesterday do not make you a better runner going forward. And the training you plan to do tomorrow doesn’t make you a better runner today. It’s about the actions you take TODAY that make you better. It’s about what you do at each moment, what you do at THIS moment, and the decisions you make. Any decision you make right NOW, in this very instance, has the potential to change the entire course of your life.
It’s the small things you do TODAY that matters most. And it only takes a few minor changes each day because the NEW you will build on top of the OLD you. Your self-improvement compounds!
For example, if you improve by 1% every day for ten days, it’s not a 10% increase from where you first started. Remember — self-improvement compounds. So you improve by 1% on top of the new you who already improved 1%.
Pretty awesome, right?
Take running an ultramarathon for instance. If you decide to run an ultramarathon, the end result can seem light years away. It becomes intimidating and here’s when the self-doubt creeps in. You think “who am I kidding. I’m not an ultramarathon runner.” But remember— the person you are when you start an ultramarathon training program is not the same person who crosses the finish line.
The person who crosses the finish line is the new you. It’s the person who woke up early on training days instead of hitting the snooze button. The person who finished that long run when they thought they couldn’t run another inch. The person who didn’t sit on the warm couch but instead ran through the cold rain.
The new you went through weeks of progressive training morphing your mind and body into the person capable of finishing an ultramarathon.
It’s not until you actually cross the finish line that you realize you didn’t just run an ultramarathon, but you BECAME the person who could run an ultramarathon. And it happened by taking a few small steps every day.
It’s the same reason why the best athletes or the best musicians master their craft. It’s about the amount of hard work they put in each and every day that makes them a success. And although it can seem like their talent is natural, that’s usually far from the truth.
In How To Use Running Stress The Right Way I refer to Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I explain how although you may think Michelangelo’s artistry was a gifted natural talent, the truth is the guy worked hard.
Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
So remember, your past training doesn’t help you become a better runner TODAY. And your future planned run won’t give you more endurance in the present moment. It’s what you do TODAY that counts and eventually all those little actions add up to one GIANT success.
Principle #11- If You Barely Train Then You Will Barley Finish
If you want to run a new PR, then you must put in the effort of a runner who can run that PR. For example, if you want to run a marathon in 3 hours than you have to train like a sub 3-hour marathon runner.
What you put into your running (training) is what you get out of your running (racing). So, if you train faster, then you will race faster. If you train further, then you will run further.
If you want to run an extraordinary distance than you must put in an extraordinary effort.
Get the point?
But remember, this goes both ways. So if you put in a so-so effort than you will have a so-so performance, meaning, if you barely train then you will barely finish.
Many runners put in an enormous amount of effort during the bulk of their training but take it easy while tapering. But the problem here is by putting on the brakes you are losing momentum as you near the race. When you taper, you want to increase your intensity to prepare yourself for race day.
Of course, it’s your decision, but if you take it too easily without challenging yourself then your performance will suffer. However, if you always run with everything you have, you will always get everything you want.
Principle #12- There Is Magic In Gradual Adaptation
While running, your body needs time to stress, adapt, and grow. It’s a process. That’s why you can’t wake up out of bed, snap your fingers, and run 100 miles.
Remember—a person who climbs Mount Everest once could only climb a schoolyard hill.
It takes time to progress through the mileage and build a body that’s capable of handling long distances. And it’s not just the distance, you must do it all without getting injured or burnt out.
The 10% rule in running is one of the best guidelines there are. I can tell you from experience. The 10% rule states a runner should progress their mileage only by 10% each week. This way you cover your mileage, and run just further enough to grow but not too far where you do more harm than good.
And your mind gradually adapts as well. I’ve learned this first hand from the many ultra distances I’ve run thus far. At one time, running an ultramarathon was tough even to comprehend. WOW, I sure remember how brutal it was getting through my first 50-miler. Now I run 50 miles and can stay in the present moment for most of the time.
As your body gradually adapts, so does your mind.
One day running around the block literally meant running around a block. Now when I run “around the block” it consists of a few different interstates and towns. But in my mind, I’m just doing a short loop.
A 10% guideline is helpful for those interested in becoming a fat adapted runner too! Run fasted 10% further each week and watch your body transform. I plan to put out information on becoming a fat adapted runner in the near future. But for now know this: fat adaption creates the ultimate freedom when running long distances. And it starts with only a 10% percent increase.
The theory of gradual adaptation is the foundation of A Runner’s Secret.
Principle #13- Certain Muscles Will Strengthen From Certain Surfaces
While on the topic of gradual adaptation, it’s imperative to train on the surface you are preparing to race on. This holds especially true for high elevations.
When you are picking out a race, determine its elevation gain and train at a similar elevation. For instance, if you are training for a trail race with steep terrain, then you need to train on steep hills. This will strengthen your hill running muscles and prepare your body for that kind of resistance. And that also goes for flat ground. If you’re running on a flat course, then do yourself a favor and train on flat ground. This will strengthen your flat running muscles and prepare your body for THAT kind of resistance.
Understandably there might not be similar elevation near where you live. For example, if you’re training for a mountain race but live by the beach or in a city it may be difficult to find high elevation. So, if you can’t find similar altitude then…create it.
One time I was training for a mountain ultramarathon, but the problem was I didn’t live near any real mountains. So the days leading up to the race I ran up a Stair Master to add elevation to my training. Although I wasn’t running up a mountain, I was strengthening my mountain running muscles and could feel the difference on race day.
So make sure you get out and run those hills if you plan to race on them. Your legs will thank you for it later.
Principle #14- Runners Run Too Much
One of the major issues that we face as runners is we run too much. Yes, we run WAY too much. Sounds a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
But 65%-85% of runners every year develop an injury. Whether it’s one that puts you on the sidelines or an irritation managed through a brace, ice, and ibuprofen, the odds are, as a runner, you will likely suffer an injury.
And do you know what the number one type of injury is?
The answer: overuse injury.
And overuse injuries stems from, yes you guessed it, running too much!
I’m sure we are all guilty of running too much or attempting to run through an injury. I know I am. I’ve literally changed my entire stride and cadence to train for another race because of a hurt knee. Then, after the race, I tell myself I will relax and rehab. But what happens? After the race, I find myself signed up for another one! So again, I manage the pain dealing with the effect of the injury instead of resting and facing the cause.
For some, running too much will also lead to exhaustion. If you’re new to running and begin a training program running 5-6 days per week exhaustion is a guarantee. That’s if an injury doesn’t take you out first.
So, avoid injury and exhaustion by focusing on RECOVERY. Rest and recovery are essential for your growth.
When you run, your body breaks down, adapts, and grows back stronger. But this growth does not occur during the actual act of running; it happens when you are resting. You grow when you recover. Without rest, there is no growth. That’s why it’s essential to rest more and run less. So run your heart out, take adequate time off, and get right back to your next long run. With a recharged pair of legs and a clear mind, you will be ready to run farther than ever before!
And here is where A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get It Done helps your running. By running once per week, you will rest long enough without losing ANY endurance. You will then progress each week for 12 weeks until crossing the finish line of a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, or ultramarathon.
And most importantly—you will avoid injury and exhaustion caused by running way too much.
Principle #15- Relativity Can Harm You Or Hurt You
There are various inspirational tales of individuals taking on astounding challenges, like swimming across oceans and running across deserts. There are movies about space explorations, athletic achievements, and fighting racial oppression. Readings from activists, poets, and philosophers that provide inspiration in such abundance that it oozes out of this world. You can instantly change your state of mind to get moving out the door and towards your next starting line when you become inspired.
Seeing the incredible bouts of human endurance achieved by others benefits us due to the law of relativity. When you compare the distance you wish to run to an even longer distance, it puts your next race into its proper perspective. No matter how long the distance you want to run, there is always someone who is running a much longer one. Like everything else in life, running is relative.
Furthermore, nothing in life has any meaning except for the meaning you give it. A half-marathon could be the largest goal in your life right now, or it can be the start of something more significant. The difference is the meaning you give it. And the meaning you give it directly affects your performance through training and on race day.
Race day can be the hardest day of your life, or it can be the most rewarding. The choice is yours. If you compare your run to someone else, you will feel better or worse, depending on relativity. Let’s say you are training for a half-marathon and compare it to someone who runs a 5k, a half-marathon can seem impossible. But if you compare it to someone who runs marathons, then you begin to see it as a stepping stone to your ultimate running destination.
Relativity creates the importance in finding inspiration. And when you become inspired, your mind opens up to a world of possibilities. You have a forever expanding mind in a forever expanding universe. In that sense, growth is life. As far as your mind expands is as far as your running expands, period.
Principle #16- A Growth Mindset Will Set You Free To Run Further
When you fall in love with running, you fall in love with struggle. And when you fall in love with struggle, you fall in love with life. The moment when you realize failure is a lesson is the exact moment when you understand your life is limitless.
You see, many people avoid failure at all cost. Many give failure a negative meaning and everything associated with it. They would rather avoid adversity, failure, and resistance instead of taking a shot at something extraordinary. But these stresses are not problems when you learn from them.
Like weights in a gym, stress is the resistance in your life to help you grow. A bodybuilder must push against an enormous amount of resistance to break down and become more muscular.
Well, that same concept goes for stress in your life. When you face a problem, you are under resistance. And when you solve that problem, or learn from your failures and find better solutions, you grow back even stronger. You become more resourceful and knowledgeable which puts you one step closer to your goal.
Know this: nothing in your life is static. If you avoid stress you don’t stay the same, you actually move backward, just like your muscles, you lose strength. Your dreams are either growing or dying.
So try your best to adopt a growth mindset instead of thinking you were born with particular circumstances. When you stop this unintentional habit of discrediting others, you realize your true potential. You can be or do ANYTHING that you give enough focus to. And with a growth mindset, you break free from the mental prison of limiting beliefs. This is when your life becomes limitless.
And suddenly that marathon or ultramarathon is no longer perceived as impossible, it’s just an outcome of your progressive growth. You no longer GO through it, you GROW through it, and training suddenly becomes much more meaningful.
Principle #17- Faith Guides You Through The Uncertainty Of Long Distances
You must have faith in the outcome. Remember—people say “I’ll believe it when I see it” but faith says “I’ll believe it and then I’ll see it.”
In The 3 Secret Ingredients To A Successful Runner, I write:
“We will all experience some level of uncertainty in running no matter how focused we are. But understand this—it is absolutely possible.
In running, you will be uncertain at times and forced to take risks. The level of risk is up to you. So if risk is bound to happen, if risk is unavoidable, if risk is inevitable, then shouldn’t you risk believing in yourself?
When you contemplate taking a risk on yourself, faith will help you move forward. Faith gives you that level of certainty to combat hesitation.
Sure we do not know where it comes from, but just like all of the most significant figures throughout time, you must decide to have it anyway. Have faith in your abilities, in your strength, and in your courage.
Standing at the starting line of my first 100-mile ultramarathon, I was completely uncertain if I could cover a distance of such magnitude. But this was true before every new distance. I had some level of uncertainty before my first 50 miles, my first 100K, my first 100 miles, and the first time I broke 100 miles. Sure, there was a level of uncertainty but I had faith in myself, and because of that, I was able to stand at the starting line with my head up on every race day morning, ready to tackle what I considered impossible at the time. These were all risks I decided to take with faith in my abilities to finish.”
It takes boldness to step into the unknown, that it, into uncertain situations. But faith is what guides you through the unknown. Think about it, if you were certain of the outcome, you wouldn’t need faith.
Here’s the point: faith is needed to reach further distances.
Let’s Take It Home
Remember that 31-mile training run I mentioned earlier on? The one I ran before work?
Well, just a few days ago I was driving on the way to dinner with my wife and two sons. About halfway there I said to my wife, “Hold on, I need to pull over.” She looked at me with a puzzled yet concerned look. I then said, “I forgot about my shirt I left in that bush up ahead”. She laughed because she has grown accustomed to my long running life, but although it’s normal to her, most wives aren’t used to their husbands running 31 miles half-naked through the streets at 2:00 am before a workday.
But here’s the thing–if you want to run long distances then it takes a change. It takes a change in your running, a change in your behaviors, and a change in your perception. It’s not the distance you must conquer in running, it’s yourself. Running a marathon takes a change in your body and your mind. And if you push it far enough, you can even run an ultramarathon. Remember this: to become an ultramarathon runner you must have the courage to explore the vast depths of the impossible until you find a possibility.
That’s what these uncommon principles do, they help you find a possibility in a distance that seems impossible. And remember, distance is relevant. So YOUR ultramarathon could be metaphorical. Your ultramarathon could be getting yourself off the couch and running your first 5k. Or pushing yourself to start training for that half-marathon with your friends from work. Or having the courage to run your first marathon in a big city.
Either way, these 17 uncommon running principles help you dig deeper until you see the possibility in your running, and most important, the possibility in YOURSELF. And then one day you’ll cross the finish line of a further distance, and it will feel like a natural occurrence. That’s because it’s never about the finish to cross, it’s forever about the journey to travel.
And with that, I hope I’ve helped you along your own journey in becoming a long distance runner who can run further.
Remember—you can’t see the stars without the darkness of the sky
And if you want to speed things along, don’t forget to read A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get It Done. As I mentioned, it contains training programs for each distance in this order: 5k -> 10k -> half-marathon -> marathon -> 50k -> 50-mile -> 100k -> 100-mile. Simply determine your starting distance, click the book image below, and start training TODAY because…all it takes is one run per week!
Ebook version available here.
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