How do ultra runner’s cover such extraordinary distances over and over again?
Why do they not only run 100-mile races but they repeat their triumph countless times?
What are they doing differently? What is the secret path to everlasting ultra running motivation?
The answer: the path to self-discovery.
That is, running to find out just who you are and what you are made of. And there are three stages to reach this infinite source of ultra running motivation that I will reveal. But first, know the ultramarathon community is quickly expanding.
The fact is a growing number of runners are headed in that direction. People are looking for more satisfaction in their lives, and it seems that ultramarathon running has been filling that void.
Whether it’s the social isolation, an increase of self-esteem, or the struggle that creates growth…in ultra running, self-discovery might not just be a possibility, but, for some, it may be the sole purpose of taking on such a challenge in the first place.
And becoming an ultra runner can happen quicker than you may think.
One day you are running a few miles down the street looking at the same old cracks in the road. You glance over at the same bushes along your neighborhood pavement and gaze at the same big yellow house on the corner. And then suddenly…you are hit with a wave of desire.
The desire to RUN FURTHER.
Here is when you are unknowingly bitten by the ultra running motivation bug. And not too long after you are cranking-out distances even as far as 100 miles. Some runners go even longer!
So, how do ultra runner’s reach these extraordinary distances in such little time?
Let’s keep reading to find out…
The Universal Principle of Ultra Running
Different runners use different techniques to run ultra distances. But they all understand one universal principle. They know the magic of holding on just a little longer.
Running until you can’t take another step, and then…taking one more…that’s the exact essence of ultramarathon running. Except it goes far beyond one more step when running ultra distances.
When running an ultramarathon you must run as far as you possibly can and then…run 50 more miles.
For ultra runners, pushing the limits is what we are designed to do. We don’t know any other way. It’s in every ounce of our being.
As you become an ultra runner, your perspective of time and distance transforms. One day when driving down the highway with 100 miles left in your trip, you think, “are we there yet?” and the next, it becomes “I could run that.”
Running an ultramarathon will not only change your perspective on these relative forms of measurement, but it begins to change your perspective on who you are.
Finding Yourself Through Ultramarathon Running
Ultra running creates an intense struggle to find a deeper meaning of self. It’s similar to the many ancient stories of a person leaving home, going through an enormous struggle, and returning with a deeper understanding of life, but most importantly, a deeper understanding of who they are.
The characters in these stories eventually realize what they have been searching for has been inside of them all along.
Self-discovery is not only what propels ultra running motivation, but it’s a motivation for everyday life.
At least, it is for those who step outside of the mind and are consciously aware of their thoughts.
Going deep into oneself will help you run further because let’s be honest, you can read and study all the ultramarathon training programs on the planet, but without the drive to see one through, it remains just a purposeless piece of paper blowing in the wind.
So, you take those extra steps and run those extra miles until eventually…all your efforts begin to create a path. And that path leads to a discovery, a discovery of self, and you may be fortunate enough to find that person you’ve been running towards all along…
The Secret Path to Self-Discovery
It is called self-discovery, and it’s a natural path you may find in ultra running as you continue to run further distances. It has the potential to provide an enormous amount of ultra running motivation if you let it. That’s because we can only be motivated by what sits on the surface for just so long.
Examples of SURFACE ultra running motivation are achievement, pride, and significance. So, we keep digging, moving our feet forward, traveling higher, lower, and longer, continuing our search further and further.
The search alone has the potential to take you to extraordinary distances…
My journey so far has guided me to complete a 200-mile ultramarathon. It was a distance of unfathomable depths that was both humbling and hellacious, gratifying and grueling, and rewarding and rigorous.
In the process of running long distances, you learn a lot about what drives you. But most importantly, you learn to look inwards for motivation…not outwards. Outward motivation only lasts for so long. But if you find something to hold onto deep within, it will help anchor your motivation. Now it’s much more difficult to lose it. You can then run distances you once couldn’t comprehend let alone take a shot at running.
That’s why it’s essential to know who you are and before anything else…be comfortable with that person.
Being comfortable with who you are will make reaching a new distance less like a quantum leap and more like a game of hopscotch.
And that’s true for jumping from 50k to 50 miles, 50 miles to 100 miles, and 100 miles to 200 miles. As you can see, in ultra running you do not progress elegantly to your next distance, you double it! It takes faith in the unknown to reach a new distance, but most importantly, it takes faith in yourself.
Standing at the 200-mile starting line, I didn’t have a clue if I could cover such an extraordinary distance. I had no idea at all. But what I did have was faith, I had faith in myself and faith in the unknown, and that’s all I needed, it’s all I ever needed.
Although training only lasts for so long, it feels like I was training for a 200-mile race for as far back as I could remember…and I didn’t even know it. It was just one more arrival down the path of not only discovering who I was as a runner but finding out who I was as a human being. Most don’t know when they are on the road to self-discovery and all you have is an intuitive compass to get you there.
Ultra running strips you down bare, past the PRs, race shirts, and finisher medals. Struggle, growth, pain, and pleasure…it’s the human experience in its rawest form.
Ultra running is a continuous journey from one distance to another. It provides you with new building blocks to construct yourself into a runner who is certain of one thing. You become sure that running ANY distance is possible for ANYONE if they want it bad enough.
How bad do you want it?
It just takes a substantial amount of focus, patience, and dedication to get you there. Oh…and a whole lot of ultra running motivation.
And on the way to those longer runs, you sure learn a whole lot about yourself. Or should I say…you sure find yourself. Self-discovery is a part of the process.
But sometimes as you trek down those trails and crank-out those miles, you find yourself in a dilemma. It seems the closer you get to finding yourself, the further away you become. Or better put, you must lose yourself before you can find yourself…
Tick-Tock On The Self Discovery Clock
You must LOSE yourself before you can FIND yourself.
I know…it sounds a bit paradoxical, sort of like a controlled accident…but hear me out.
Most don’t live as themselves because most live the way they think others think they should live.
It’s like we leave the 12 o’clock hour on a clock as ourselves and as time ticks away in our life we move further and further away from who we really are. Using the clock example, 6 o’clock would be the farthest from self as possible.
We try new things and meet new people, but in the process, we unconsciously take on a “role.” A role we THINK we should play just to please others to avoid rejection. Unknowingly, we become a copy of our parents, friends, or society’s beliefs and our thoughts are no longer our own.
We literally live as someone who we THINK we should be or who we THINK someone else thinks we should be rather than the someone that we are.
Then all a while we unconsciously search for a way back to our true self. We look for a way back home, a way back to 12 o’clock.
It’s like an unconscious game of hide and go seek.
We believe the path to fulfillment will create a path to self-discovery, but for most, we are too deep in the woods of our unconscious routines to find a way out. So we spend years on a metaphorical manhunt navigating through the maze with a blindfold on. We live a lukewarm life looking for the fire that feeds our most burning desires. The light that feeds our souls.
But here’s the trap: there is no path.
No path? How could there be no path to discovery?
Well, there isn’t a path YET. Following a pre-paved path will lead you nowhere fast. If there is a path to follow then it’s someone else’s path. You must create your own path, no matter how difficult the road less traveled becomes. YOUR path is YOUR path and all the good and bad that comes with it.
Everyone wants to see the view at the top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs when you’re climbing it.
And each step we take towards our passions fuels us further because progress is the key to happiness. The closer you come to fulfillment the more you fill the empty hole towards becoming your whole self…the closer you tick back towards 12 o’clock.
Yes, progress is the key to happiness.
And isn’t that the secret to an exceptional life? One of your progress towards fulfillment?
That’s why you’ve been promised the pursuit of happiness and not happiness itself. That’s because the happiness is actually in the pursuit, it’s in the progress, it’s in the growth.
There’s no pot at the end of the rainbow, just a beautiful rainbow to climb.
In considering the clock example…two things can happen as your clock keeps ticking…
- Eventually, you wake up. The hour hand keeps ticking, and you head back to your true self, back to 12 o’clock. You find the path to fulfillment, and now every step is a progressive step to who you are. That is, towards your self-discovery. Or should I say your self RE-discovery?
- You get lost in the hour hands of life, and your clock stops before making it back to 12 o’clock. Even if it’s a life of success. If you get to the end of a successful life but are entirely unfulfilled, then you have achieved the ultimate failure.
Fortunately, that’s where ultra running can play a key role in self-discovery.
Ultra running will speed up your clock and keep it moving forward. That’s because ultra runners do not just reach outside their comfort zone, they live there. Ultra running motivation is rooted outside the realm of the possible hunting for its next impossible feat.
And though stress, struggle, and pain, guess what?
You begin to wake up…
Ultra Running Will Wake You Up
Ultra running has the potential to wake you up to who you really are by letting go of who you imagine yourself to be. An “awakening” if you will.
It helps you develop into a person who can recognize limiting beliefs. You understand that if you are the one who created them, then you are the one who can change them.
Isolation is a gift. With the time spent alone through the struggle, discomfort, and pain, you learn more about yourself than anyone could ever tell you. And you learn more about life through a 100 mile race than any book could ever teach you.
Plus, even better, ultra running will become a purification process if you let it. That’s because you start growing more sensitive to resistance in all forms. You can literally feel anything that tries to stop you from continuing on the road to that 50, 100, or 200-mile finish line.
Resistance in all forms requires energy, this holds especially true during the late stages of a race. Towards the end of an ultramarathon, you will feel all resistance whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual.
Even the thoughts you think can create stressful EMOTIONS that take up energy.
Think about it, EMOTIONS are created by your thoughts. Feelings like fear, sadness, and happiness, all come from the thoughts you think.
Have you ever considered what the word emotion means?
The word ’emotion’ comes from the Latin word ‘movere’ meaning “move” or “in motion.” Emotions literally are “thoughts in motion.” Motion in all forms takes energy…and yes, that includes your emotions.
So how does this relate to purification?
Well, the further you run the more sensitive you become to resistance. So you naturally start to eliminate it one by one out of your life. Now you begin to run further distances with what feels like less effort.
You can now easily see the negative impact of different resistances in your life. From bad relationships to your resentment towards others, or even eating processed foods. You can’t help but see the problematic habits and addictions you’ve developed.
Even if it’s giving up someone in your life that’s close to you like a friend. Suddenly you may wake up to the negative impact they have on you and see the relationship is doing more harm than good.
Ever work around negative people? They will consume more of your energy than just about any other kind of resistance on the planet.
Some people are energy consumers and will absorb it any chance they get.
But as ultra runner’s we also see resistance as a way to grow. You naturally adopt a growth mindset. So, even those challenging people can help shape you into the person you want to become. Just like weights in a gym, resistance like stress, adversity, and problems are a part of your life to help you grow.
Remember—life is not happening to us, it’s happening for us.
So you can either eliminate the resistance or use it for growth. But dwelling and stressing about it will only absorb your energy. The energy that’s required to live a healthy and happy life, and… to run EXTRAORDINARY distances.
All types of resistance are brought to the chair of persecution as an ultra runner. You must deal with it, or let it linger in the mind causing more resistance when running the real long stuff. This ultimately creates a harder race then the race was intended to be.
We as ultra runners don’t just struggle through the miles, we struggle through the mind… we struggle through ourselves, and we come out closer to our true selves by doing so.
When we are fueled by our ultra running motivation through self-discovery, we carve a path towards our true selves. This ultimately unlocks the door to an everlasting ultra running motivation, and it does so through 3 stages…
The Three Stages To Everlasting Ultra Running Motivation
Before we get into unlocking your everlasting ultra running motivation, first understand something.
Know that I write a lot of guides that have a practical application. Through my website, you will find many tips and tricks that are guaranteed to advance your running. But what you are reading now is not your typical guide. What you are reading now is thought-provoking. It’s more designed to help broaden your perspective on running extraordinary distances like those distances found in ultramarathons.
I believe the secret path to everlasting ultra running motivation is found through self-discovery. But, in your journey to self-discovery, will you reach the end? If so, how do you reach the end? And is there even an end to reach?
What exactly will you find if you keep searching?
Let’s keep reading to find out…
To stay motivated as an ultra runner you may go through a path of self-discovery. This path is built from three stages of motivation…
Stage 1: Run To Prove To Others
Stage 2: Run To Prove To Yourself
Stage 3: Run To Find Yourself
Let’s keep reading to learn how to reach each stage…
Stage 1: Run To Prove To Others
Early on in our running, we tend to run so we can prove ourselves to other people. This can be highly effective when you first start off and yes, you can reach far distances by using it. But over the long run…it’s a TRAP, and if you are not careful, you could spend an eternity here.
Fortunately, most will break free of this by pushing themselves further. But to be safe, how do you assure your escape?
Easy…stop holding someone else’s opinion of YOU higher than YOUR own.
It’s easy to say that you don’t, but the truth is…most do. Whether it be your friends, family, co-workers, or even total strangers…most care greatly about other people’s opinions.
But here’s the problem…proving yourself to others is a near never-ending process. There are over 7 billion people on this planet. And the fact is not everyone is going to like you or find your running impressive.
Running to prove yourself to others will wear you out. It creates stress in your running making it more of an acidic process then one of health and wellness. Too much of it can be corrosive.
Also, as you go searching for inspiration through many different outlets try to be careful what you feed your mind. Be the GUARDIAN of your mind.
Sayings like “prove them wrong” may be a short-term motivator, and it sure fuels your “prove to others” ultra running motivation, and YES, you CAN run further distances with this type of mentality. But for how long?
How long will it last?
Yes, even some of the best endurance runners use this motivator at times…I’m not sure it ever goes away 100%.
But if this is what primarily motivates you then achieving longevity in your ultra running career will be damaging. It can bring more harm to your life than good. This constant pushing towards your goals dependent on others’ opinions can be harmful.
Depending on where you are in your running journey you may resonate with this type of ultra running motivation…or…you may not.
Some runners will even become comfortable and stay here. But more than likely, if you keep running further, especially towards the 100-mile distance, this type of motivation will significantly reduce. As I mentioned, there will still be times you will run to prove yourself to others, and it can be effective if controlled and limited. But eventually it won’t be your PRIMARY motive.
Remember—if you are looking for longevity in your running, and want to run extraordinary distances like 100 mile ultramarathons, finding a purer ultra running motivation will make the impossible much more possible.
Finding a motivation deeper within yourself will happen naturally for most. But reading this may help you break free from the trap a bit earlier.
Sooner or later you may realize the approval of others is an illusion. You may see it for the addiction it is and feel how exhausting it makes you. It consumes a substantial amount of energy. You will see the unneeded resistance it creates in your training. And here is where you may begin looking for something more profound that drives you.
Remember—the trap is when you value someone else’s opinion of yourself more than you value your own.
And if you keep running and keep feeding your mind with the right knowledge, at some point, you realize you are not living as you, and you will wake up. You then see you are living as what you imagine others imagine you to be and soon…running will transfer from proving yourself to others, to proving yourself to…YOURSELF.
And so, you keep on running…
Stage 2: Run To Prove To Yourself
Running to prove something to yourself can be remarkably influencing. When you start directing your energy inwards instead of outwards, naturally, YOU feel more energized.
Pretty simple right?
Focusing on OTHER PEOPLE for ultra running motivation gives YOUR energy to OTHER PEOPLE; focusing on YOURSELF as ultra running motivation gives YOUR energy to YOURSELF.
Here is when you start developing an enormous amount of energy to run extraordinary distances.
Never forget this: where focus goes energy flows.
By shifting your focus away from others and back to yourself, you stop wasting your energy on the opinions of others. You stop working towards some imaginary at-a-boy and begin focusing on what YOU feel and what YOU think of yourself.
Here’s when you begin to take your mindset to an elite level.
When you start listening to your body, you begin changing the way you run. You make quicker and more effective decisions in your running when you are tuned into your body. You start taking action on INTUITION, and this might be the greatest secret of all.
I once heard a saying that prayer is when you speak to God and intuition is when God speaks to you.
Following your intuition and listening to your body will improve your running drastically. It can take you further than any supplement or piece of advice ever could. You will now run further distances on YOUR terms, and you will enjoy doing so. And running for the joy of running will self propel itself.
Personally, I’ve run over 100 ultra distances within a hand-full of years.
How did I do it?
I did it by falling in love with the process and enjoying myself while running. And maybe most importantly, I did it by being GRATEFUL for life.
Consider this: you’re living on a flying blue rock that rotates around a gigantic ball of fire. The odds of being born as YOU are 1 in 400 trillion! You hit the intergalactic lottery…life is a MIRACLE…be grateful for that.
So, running to prove something to yourself not only provides more energy, but it makes you more efficient, thus providing even more energy, thus allowing you to run even further.
Running to prove to yourself can take you to incredible distances.
But…when does it stop?
How much do you need to prove to yourself until you are satisfied? Is there an end?
Eventually, this too has the potential to provide a more acidic style of running. This also can be corrosive. Especially when running the really long stuff.
That’s because there’s is no end to proving your worth to yourself.
Running to prove something to yourself can eventually become exhausting. It too can create unnecessary resistance preventing you from running to the next level.
No, not as tiring as proving yourself to someone else because in that case, your energy is going outwards. But still tiring in its own respect.
So you keep running. You race at ultramarathon distances. You train at ultramarthon distances. You crank-out long run after long that strips you down more and more until one day you say…
Why do I need to prove anything to myself?
and wait…if I am “I” then who is “myself“?
You may realize you haven’t been being you, but only what you IMAGINE yourself to be. Playing a “character” in the book of life.
So you stop running to prove something to yourself because you realize the person you are convincing is an illusion of the mind. And when you become consciously aware of being conscious, things start expanding, and the boundaries between the possible and the impossible dissolve.
You feel lost, so you begin running to find yourself, and here’s when things start really falling into place. Here is where true running longevity is achieved. Here is where running distances like 200 miles become not just a possibility, but your reality.
Remember—the limitations of your mind are the outer limits of your reality. If you can observe your thoughts, then you can reshape your life and suddenly running extraordinary distances becomes a common practice.
And so, you keep on running…
Stage 3: Run To Find Yourself
“Who is myself?”
“Will running help me find self?”
Maybe you ask yourself questions like these. Or perhaps it’s just a feeling of emptiness you start to fill. Fortunately, you are already making progress because you now know the answers are within, not from without.
So you run further and layers of who you imagine yourself to be begin to come off one at a time. You get closer and closer to your true self.
Then you run further, and another layer comes off and so on, until one day you run that 100 or 200-mile distance and come to a realization.
You realize what you’ve been looking for is not there. No matter how many layers you remove, or how deep you go, there’s only more layers.
You haven’t been searching inside an apple with a core. You’ve been peeling an onion. Layer upon layer upon layer with no core inside. All you find is another layer that appears to be self or close to self until you find another layer.
Have you been spinning wheels this whole time?
Have you been trying to kick your foot with your own foot?
Have you been trying to bite your teeth with your own teeth?
That’s because past the atoms and past the subatomic particles is energy…PURE ENERGY. And that same energy that’s within me is the same energy that’s within you. And that same energy that’s in you is the same energy that’s in the trees along the trails and the birds in the sky.
When you become consciously aware of this universal energy field, you start running not from self, but from ALL. You start running from the everlasting energy that is YOU and the everlasting energy that is ME. You can feel the energy though a universal connection, and now you don’t just have the energy within you…
You come to realize YOU ARE ENERGY, and you can now run ANY distance, even 200 miles and longer!
It’s never been a matter of finding more energy to do it, it’s been a matter of understanding you are the energy to do it.
NOW go on a run and tell me how you feel!
Because when energy is the very essence of your being…how could you ever lose it?
Here is where you begin to master the art of running in the present moment. Here is where common forms of measurements like time and distance become an abstract illusion. Because if you are running in the NOW…how could they possibly exist?
This is one of the greatest secrets of super endurance athletes.
To run extraordinary distances, you forget about pace and run into space.
And as you wake up you begin to see everything around you is the same that’s within you…
And when you strip down through the pain and struggle…
And when you push yourself to the limits where it literally feels as if you are looking death square in the eyes, you know what happens?
Do you know what you desire most?…
The answer: a simple life.
Yes, you desire just what a human BEing is here to do…BE.
You desire to be a good friend, to marry the love of your life, to look your newborn child in the eyes for the first time, to do something kind for a stranger.
You desire to drop a tear of sadness, to love until it hurts, to care enough to get angry, and to laugh the night away.
And then here is when you realize maybe…just maybe you are not here to FIND yourself at all…but maybe…just maybe, you are here, as a human BEing to just BE yourself…that’s it. To be the extension of something greater that makes you YOU.
And running ultramarathon distances becomes a reminder of just that…to live a simple life designed by that shared energy that’s within us all. Yes, the REAL secret to ultra marathon motivation and the REAL secret to life is that shared energy, and that energy is LOVE.
The realization of oneness…this is love.
Yes…LOVE is the secret to running extraordinary distances and to living an extraordinary life.
Love for others, love for your passions, but most importantly…love for yourself.
Because when you love yourself, you become comfortable BEing yourself with all your corks and all your perceived “weaknesses” because that’s what makes you who you are and that’s what guides you to your GIFT, your gift to the world. That gift is YOU.
And now you have found your purpose in life, and now you are fulfilled, and now, you fall in love with the simplicity of life.
Let’s Take It Home
And after we reach the final stage and discover who we really are, not just the words on this page, I mean REALLY experience and REALLY feel it, we then circle back to just living life, loving, and doing the simple things…like RUNNING.
And now you are running back down the street looking at the same old cracks in the road. You glance over at the same bushes along your neighborhood pavement and gaze at the same big yellow house on the corner. And then again you are hit by a sudden wave, but this time not of desire, but a wave of presence…that is, a wave of BEing. Just of pure and unintentional presence, and that’s the most magnificent fulfillment life could ever offer…I am that I am.
And you can run for a lifetime…
“Everything is energy, and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want, and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics” ~ Albert Einstein
Remember….when you are out running those endless miles, and gazing up into the endless sky, if you fall in love with the endless journey, then your endurance will have no end.
And if you are looking for the least amount of resistance to reach ultramarathon distances check out my book, The Ultramarathon Guide: A Simple Approach To Running Your First Ultramarathon. It provides a simple path with a simple to follow training program to get you across the finish line. It’s what got me across my first one.
And if you are looking for the least path of resistance, check out my other book, A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get IT Done. I teach you how to run ANY distance by running ONE day per week. It’s what I used to reach the 100-mile ultramarathon. I provide training programs for the 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile distances.
Thank you very much for reading and enjoy the journey of ultra marathon running…it’s a long one!
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