Allow me to give it to you straight—this ultramarathon journey of yours will be a challenging endeavor, and it can be downright brutal at times.
I offer many inspiring insights in my writing—words offered for encouraging paradigm shifts that release self-limiting beliefs holding you back. Even so, I will try not to promote any ideologies that paint this endeavor to be any easier than its radically demanding nature.
Even if you are a runner, know that ultramarathon running is an entirely different animal. There will be many sacrifices required of you. This is something to consider deeply before you get started.
The Demands of Ultra Running
The most fundamental demand that you will face is time. Every extra minute you spend running is another minute you won’t spend with your family. Another weekend training run is another engagement missed.
Training could cause some turbulence in your relationships.
Sure, there are strategies to deal with conflicting schedules. For example, I offer a simple-to-follow program in A Runners Secret that reveals my method for running longer in fewer days. It’s how I first reached the 100-mile distance. However, ultra running will always require extra time from you, and there is no way around it.
Another demand is physical pain. Walking into work on a Monday after running 24 hours straight over the weekend is no easy feat. It hurts.
In the beginning, I recommend putting a few days aside for recovery.
In my book Mindful Ultramarathon Running, I write about my first 200 mile race…
After the race, when I reached my hotel bed, my legs hurt badly. It was only a few hours until my flight back home and I needed some sleep. So, I went into the hotel room bathroom, laid on the floor, wrapped my upper body in a blanket, and stuck my lower body on the floor of the shower. With a steady flow of ice-cold water falling on my legs, I was able to get a few hours of shut-eye before a painful journey back home.
The body does adapt, which is the good news. I’ll never forget the pain after my first marathon. I literally felt like a truck hit me. Now I sometimes sneak a marathon in before the workday with minimal soreness.
Still, you have to earn that adaptation. It’s no walk in the park, and it’s surely not handed to you.
Your Mindful Ultra Running Journey
Now that we have an adequate level of openness established, I welcome you to your new mindful ultramarathon running journey.
It’s a journey into the unknown.
One of darkness and light. Joy and pain. Loss and gain. Distress and well-being.
The late Swiss psychologist Carl Jung once said: “No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”
There’s a lot of truth in that.
There will be times when the long miles make zero sense, and other times, all the sense in the world.
At times, you will feel lonely, exhausted, and discouraged, and others, connected, lifted, and grateful beyond measure.
Just like life, ultramarathon running is a beautiful struggle filled with challenging obstacles to better ourselves.
Expect a degree of seasonality as well.
One year I almost ran an ultra-distance every weekend and finished some of the toughest races of my life.
And another year, I struggled with injury, feeling severely down, with very little hope for my next run.
But then your perspective shifts. Because as you suffer through the long miles, you realize we get the bad along with the good.
Meaning, without the night sky, we can’t see the stars.
Adversity, struggle, pain…when we learn from them, they become the gifts in our lives that help us grow.
The wounds become sacred ones. Sacrifice is required.
Remember—what you put in, is exactly what you get out. If you want to run an extraordinary distance then you must put in an extraordinary effort.
To sum it up, ultramarathon running requires sacrifice. Make it worth it. Get it done.
This is part one of a series on a mindful way of running ultramarathons. Check back soon for part two. Thank you for reading and enjoy the journey! (Part two was released: Mindful Ultra Running: A Simple Secret To Endurance).
By the way, if you align with this mindful approach to running an ultramarathon, then check out my book. It’s called Mindful Ultramarathon Running: Training To Run Longer, Stronger, and Faster With Less Effort. Programs included: 50k, 50-mile, 100k, 100-mile, and 200-mile distances.