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Who is an ultrarunner?
I define an ultrarunner as the person who transcends ordinary physical and mental limits and achieves extraordinary feats of toughness and endurance.
A good guide for determining what this involves is the definition of “extreme” — which is “going to great or exaggerated lengths; exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected.”
What follows are 6 ways for becoming that kind of extreme ultrarunner.
#1 – Choose and train for an extreme ultramarathon race.
What would really be “extreme” for you in terms of a major ultramarathon race to train for?
100 miles? 100-mile trail run? 24-hour run? A multi-day solo race? 500k? An ultra in extreme desert or wilderness conditions?
Choose one and start training for an extreme ultra event.
#2 – Run in extreme weather conditions.
Look for uncomfortable situations to incorporate into your training.
Is it cold and snowing? Is it pouring rain? Is it hot as hell? So! Do it. Run anyway.
Don’t always look for the easy way out, namely the indoor treadmill. Do things that weaker-minded runners wouldn’t do like run in uncomfortable conditions.
Of course you need either winter running gear or the necessary precautions for running in heat. Do a little research on running in extreme weather conditions.
#3 – Incorporate extreme training alternatives.
Do you sit at a desk or computer for the work you do? If so, stop sitting. Stand.
Ultramarathon running is a lot about time on your feet. Whether at your office or at home, stand while you do your work. Yes, like 4, 6, 8 hours straight.
You’ll have to build up to it. It’s not as easy as it might sound. It’s worth it as a way of developing ultramarathon endurance and toughness.
#4 – Do an extreme yoga program or practice.
You think ultrarunning is difficult???
Try mastering some of the more advanced practices and routines of yoga!
Practicing yoga will make you tough as nails mentally and physically, as well as balanced, poised, strong, and flexible. The benefits of yoga for ultrarunners are too numerous to enumerate here.
Start with a good beginners program and build from there. Or challenge yourself to go further, if you already practice yoga.
#5 – Begin an extreme book-reading program.
It takes education and intelligence to be a successful ultrarunner. The sport involves a myriad of different fields and disciplines including: science, physiology, sports science, nutrition, psychology, anatomy, biomechanics, biochemistry, and biokinetics.
There also many useful and inspiring books about endurance athletes and great endurance feats.
For the next 6 weeks, read one book a week that will educate and inspire you as an ultrarunner. If you really want to knock this one out of the park, read one book a day for the next 2 weeks.
#6 – Add extreme stress to an occasional run.
Spice up your training runs with a little stress:
- Do some training runs with a running weight vest or a do-it-yourself weighted backpack.
- Incorporate some run-as-fast-as-you-can runs. These will likely be shorter runs, but run them for time and seek to set a PR each time you do them.
- Do a long run and stop every mile and do 25 push-ups or burpees.
These are just a few ways to challenge yourself to develop the physical and mental toughness and endurance to be the best ultrarunner you can be.
Create and invent your own unique and extreme ways to aid your journey toward ultrarunning awesomeness!
I’m over 40 years old, but I don’t give up easily. It wasn’t too long ago that I was exploring the idea of doing my first triathlon. If I can do it, you can too! I'm proof that with a little determination and training, you can get a great deal of fulfillment participating in marathons, triathlons… even ultramarathons.