Do Not Feed The Trolls…Ultra Marathon Running
Once I decided to take my running, racing game into the Ultra Marathon level the first piece of advice I received was “There is going to come a point where a race, a run is really going to suck.” This simple statement was followed up with “It will get better, just keep making forward progress by any means you can.”
So how do you keep running when a ultra marathon or any race turns ugly.
1. Do not feed the trolls. Your mind will begin to work against you, do not feed it. Those ugly thoughts that pop up, “I can’t do this, I’m tired, I’m sore and I just want to stop.” Do not feed these thoughts. Do not allow them to grow. If left unfed they will pass, they will die out. They will be defeated. If you feed the trolls they grow, they get more self defeating, they make it acceptable to quit.
2. Focus on anything positive. In my worse race, even when my feet have wanted to explode, my legs were spent or my mental game was not there…I could find something positive to focus on. That single positive thought can carry you to the next step, the next mile, to the next aid station.
3. Play a game. When you’re in the middle of a personal battle turn those thoughts into a game. During my first 100k it got ugly for me around mile 40. I had been running stride for stride with my running mentor George N. when I simply got tired of running. To get past that point I started singing stupid songs about the mile we had just passed. “Forty, miles down I’m a running clown….not going to frown.” It took George a little to catch on but before we knew it those stupid songs got us (me) into a better mind set.
4. Do not start to formulate an escape plan. In my one DNF, I gave into my escape plan. After a lap of the Bethel Moonlight Boogie 50 miler in 2016, I mentally did not want to be there. I did not want to suffer. The next thing I knew I was drafting my blog post, my Facebook update, and my Twitter broadcast. Once you get that far, DNF is close….do not give into this. Focus on your Victory Post.
5. The trolls only win if YOU let them. The strongest motivating force you have is a belief in yourself. Positive mental thoughts can power you thru any challenge if you believe. Your body will accomplish what your brain believes it can do.