A referred email from clients. Advice about the psychology that is needed to cover 100km by foot. No talk of pace, no talk of time, just thought.
It made me think, so I share.
BIG question there. “What do you need mentally to get through an ultra?”
For me, from both an ultra running, triathlon and cycling background it comes down to one thing: You need to want it. More than anything.
If at any point you feel that you don’t belong at the race – you’re in trouble. You can not let that even cross your mind.
Training is training – racing is racing. You train to race, not the other way around. Simulate the racing in your training – be focused on the fact that it’s not a long run today and a long run tomorrow.
It’s a run today, a run tomorrow.
It’s not long compared to 100km. So do it, move on, then come race day it will be easier. Incremental focus. Focus on the task, not the enormity of it.
During racing itself incremental focus is more important than anything. Breaking a race down is the way to deal with it. Don’t think of a 100km race, think of an easy paced 10km run. Then think about another easy paced 10km run. Repeat until you happen to cover 100k. Focus on the total of the event and it will break you.
However, fail to understand or appreciate that totality of the event and the demands that it will place on you physically at your peril. It may break you. But so may stepping off the kerb.
Be aware, not wary. Knowledgeable, not paranoid. You are capable of making the decisions, not the race itself.
Mostly. Enjoy it. 100km is not that far.