We Interrupt Your Ultra Training Routine To Bring You These 3 Things I Learned From Ultrarunner David Goggins

by Jim P.

aches and pains, books, nerves and fear, running, training tips, ultramarathons


  1. a customary or regular course of procedure.
  2. commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity.
  3. regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.
  4. an unvarying and constantly repeated formula, as of speech or action; convenient or predictable response.

Ahem. This is your wake-up call.


It’s time to be epic. It’s time to get back some of that ultrarunning insanity before you settled into your “routine.”

What routine? You know all that stuff you do every day that your body has adjusted to and is no longer making real gains or progress.


A Great Book For Ultrarunners

I recently read a book that helped me break free from the prison of ultrarunning training plans – you know, the ones the pros recommend but don’t follow themselves.

The book I read is Living With A Seal: 31 Days Training With The Toughest Man On The Planet.


Successful entrepreneur and runner, Jesse Itzler, decides he needs to shake up his life and training and he brazenly requests that Navy Seal and elite ultrarunner, David Goggins (known as the “toughest man on the planet”), live with him for 31 days to train him.

Goggins agrees and the book tells the story of those 31 days and the relationship that developed between them.

I recommend the book. It’s hilarious and good for the ultrarunning soul.

david-goggins-the-fittest-man-in-americaIn this post I want to share 3 things that I gained from the book as it relates to my ultrarunning interests. Each of them relates to something Goggins says to Itzler in the book.


#1 – “This ain’t a dress rehearsal.”

Goggins is known for saying this.

The idea is that we have to fully embrace the lives we have right now because we can’t get time back. Every moment is now or never.

Stepping out of your routine and comfort zone is good for the body and spirit. Life is short. Get out of your rut. Let your audacious out. Think outside the box. Get outrageous. Be epic.

Goggins says to do something every day that makes you uncomfortable.

I started incorporating this mindset into my ultratraining and it has paid off. It started with small things like adding something different to some of my runs to challenge myself. Today on an 8-mile run I stopped every mile and did 25 push-ups, which made for 200 push-ups total.

There are no second chances. There is only this moment and the next moment. Every one of those moments is a test that you get to take one time.

There are no second chances with any training session. There is only this training session and the next training session. Each of those training sessions is a test that you get to take one time.

There are no second chances with any race. There is only this race and the next race. Each of those races is a test that you get to take one time. That’s the deal.

It’s you versus them. You versus no. You versus can’t. You versus next year, last year, statistics, excuses, the odds, your age, your challenges… whatever!

Pick a fight! Pick a fight with your routine. Pick a fight with your training plan. Pick a fight with your status quo. Pick a fight with your level of mental toughness!

Hey, this ain’t a dress rehearsal! And this isn’t just any old running. This is ULTRArunning. Ultra = going beyond what is usual or ordinary; excessive; extreme. So, be an ULTRArunner. Own it. Be that insane one… whatever that means for you.


#2 – “I like to keep my shit lean and tight.”

Good ole David Goggins. He has a way with words, doesn’t he?

But let me ask you: Is your shit lean and tight? How lean and tight is your shit?

In other words, when was the last time you’ve looked at your life and noticed the stuff that shouldn’t be there?

You only have so much time and energy; how consciously aware are you of how you are expending it?


How much of your time and energy is being siphoned off by stuff you don’t really want or need in your life or really even care about? Where is the slippage?

What would it look like for you to explore what truly matters to you in life and the life you are inspired to create for yourself, and letting go of everything else that is not supporting that? This might include looking at who’s in your life — who you let in,and redrawing your boundary lines on who’s in and who’s not.

I’m not saying you kick people to the curb, but there might be some tough decisions to make about the life you want to be living.

Wake up call… are you living YOUR life? Maybe it’s time to consider how to “keep your shit lean and tight.”

Is ultrarunning an important component or expression of who you are as a person? Is it the testing of your running limits that you seek? Is running what makes you feel alive in this world and connected to yourself? Then, keep your shit lean and tight.

Be ruthless with who and what you allow in your life to protect and nurture what you love.


#3 – “If you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t know yourself.”

What is your next challenge in ultrarunning? What is that race? What is your Holy Grail?

You don’t have one? Get one! Challenge yourself.

Is it a 100-miler? A multi-day race? A 500k? A trail run? Badwater?


What is that race that you’re not sure you could ever pull off? What’s the race that you know will challenge the furthest limits of your physical and mental toughness? What is that race you sometimes wonder about at night — like if you could do it and what it would feel like if you did.

What race do you know that would require the help and support of others in your life and even crew for you in the race itself? What race would lead you to gather together the most important people in your life and say, “Hey, I want to do this thing.”

Yeah, I’m talking about THAT race! Identify it, and start orienting the plan toward doing it.

Challenge yourself! You don’t really know yourself until you do.

For added motivation, here are 9 more David Goggins quotes.