Is it Time for an Ultra-Marathon?

There is this weird, painful and wonderful world of ultra running… Where running sensible distances just isn’t enough anymore and you want to push your body beyond. Once you reach the point of a few marathons under your belt, or you’ve spent enough time around the trail running community, you might start to feel itchy for a new a challenge.

But ultras can be tough. And committing to your first is scary, terrifying really. After all, how do you even know if you’re ready to tackle such a distance and challenge? How would you even start to prepare for something like that? I mean a marathon is already really far, and really hard… am I really ready to run farther and longer than one?

If you’re already logging big distances, and running marathons, your body is most likely ready. It’s true, ultra marathons are long, and they are hard, and they will challenge and push you to your limits and beyond. Training for them is immense and it will take over your life. You will be so tired some days from training that you can hardly function. You’ll log ridiculous distances for training runs and your grocery bill will sky rocket. But it’s awesome. The community of ultra-runners is amazing. The challenge is incredible, and that finish line feeling is indescribable.

So, if you are thinking about venturing beyond 26.1 miles… read these statements.  If you agree with even one of them… I think you are ready!

  1. Losing a toe nail, blisters… they don’t even make you flinch!
  2. A marathon isn’t really thaaaat far.
  3. You love spending time alone, for hours on end, in the wood… did I mention by yourself?
  4. You love eating almost as much as you love running.
  5. A hike/run combo is still a run, have you seen how steep those hills were?
  6. You’re totally okay with running slow, or trotting, or power walking. Moving forward is progress!
  7. You don’t mind running in crazy weather conditions. Wind, snow, hail, pouring rain, extreme heat… bring it on baby!
  8. Running is your main priority on most days… house work can wait!
  9. You’ve become a total gear junkie and have running gear for just about every condition or situation.
  10. You plan vacations around runs and races that you really want to do. Headed to the alps for a summer trip? May as well just run through them!
  11. You’ve grown a beard, considered growing a beard, or find beards oddly attractive.
  12. You’re really looking for that next challenge that will push you to your limits and then beyond.
  13. You can think of at least one friend that is willing to run through the night with you, see you at your absolute lowest and still be friends after.
  14. Time on your feet and distance have become much more important than negative splits and pace during your training runs
  15. You love running with your headlamp, at night, before dawn, it doesn’t matter, you’ve got your trusty beckon of hope!
  16. You’ve started taking people calling you crazy as a compliment.
  17. The thought of running from sundown to sunrise scare you at all, in fact it really intrigues you!
  18. Coke is a sports drink, you gulp it at every aid-station.
  19. You actually have started to like gels, heck you even have a favourite flavour… mountain berry, salted watermelon, chocolate peanut butter… my mouth is drooling just thinking of them!
  20. You’ve started turning over-night and multiday hikes into training runs.
  21. You’ve really gotten in touch with your natural side, when nature calls, there really isn’t a better thing than a poop in the woods.
  22. Electrolyte tabs and pills have become a pretty routine part of your training.
  23. Running farther than most people drive without a pit-stop motivates you.
  24. “Hitting the wall” is just a natural part of running the race, you know you’ll eventually get over it.. and then hit it again, and again…
  25. All you seem to talk about with your friends is running, races and all the epic runs and races you want to do.
  26. Trekking poles are a very reasonable and logical thing to bring on a run.

    And finally….
  27.  You really want to run an ultra marathon…so go for it!!

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