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What I've learnt after running an ultramarathon

02 Sep, 2019 • by Admin

I wanted to find my limits and move them further. I wanted to be able to say I’m an ultramarathon runner

Too many of us worry about getting things perfect when it comes to running instead of just enjoying the race and those around us. We have to strive for beating our previous times and beat ourselves up if we don’t get a personal best. And we end up not enjoying the experience as much.

This is one of the reasons I signed up for an ultra. I knew I would have to slow down, pay attention to my surroundings, and take in the experience of running. I had to be present. And I’ve learned being present in the current moment is one of the best ways I could improve my life.

It was the hardest race I've ever run. It required me to grow as a person and lean on others. This race opened up my heart and mind and left me raw and feeling more alive than ever. I've got these lessons tucked into my pocket and look forward to the next one, where I have no doubt I will learn more.

Planning is important

To run an ultramarathon, you need to train well. You also need to think it through, visualize the run, and come up with strategies to make it to the finish line. It is important to do the planning. But what happens if your plan could not be executed for some reason? How do you recover in such adverse situation? Will the experience leave you empty and lead to failure or will it help you to succeed?

Believe in yourself

It's wonderful to have the encouragement others, but if you don't believe in yourself, no amount of support from friends and family will get you across your finish line, no matter what kind of finish line it is. It was difficult for me to imagine running 50 miles, but somewhere deep down in my heart, I had faith I could do it. And in the middle of my race when I was struggling and started thinking the words then saying them to my family -- I can't do this -- deep inside me was the hope and belief that I could. That faith rests in your heart. Believe in yourself because you are stronger than your mind will let you imagine.

Enjoy the process

The end goal of finishing the race was always front and center, which started causing problems when the novelty of training started to wear off. You’ve got to learn to frolic in the ocean and stop to smell the roses, or else it’s just going to be one long slog. The whole point of trail running, or at least a large part of it, is to enjoy the natural splendor that exploring the world on foot uniquely affords you.

If you’re in it for the long run, it has to be about the quality. Feeling happy when running is about the combination of purpose and pleasure being finely balanced. Too much purpose and too little pleasure will leave you tired and uninspired.

Listen to your body more

A few weeks after the ultramarathon, signs of injury started to show and I had to go through full recovery for about a month. However, I did learn what it means to be far out of your comfort zone (that’s where all the magic happens, by the way). I learned how to push myself when it’s hard and when it seems impossible.

You can do almost anything

I also learned that I can do (almost) anything I set my mind to if I want it badly and work for it hard. After 25 or 50 or 70 or however many kilometers, my mind took me to places I never knew existed, I felt emotions I never knew were there and I’ve seen people around me in a completely different way.

Yes, literally every inch of my body was painful for days to come, muscles I never knew I had, my ribs, toes, shoulders, spine, back, everything was horribly painful, and in case you were wondering – yes, I would do it all over again!

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