Josh about to pass his grandpa

Josh about to pass his grandpa
Here, at age three, Josh regularly runs a mile or two with me--and I have to work hard to keep up!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Notes for an Aspiring Ultrarunner -- #1

     Ultrarunning is not separate from the rest of life. It will affect your overall vitality, endurance, and patience, and may also affect your relationships and worldview. You will very likely become less complacent, more questioning, more adventurous, and more reconnected with your lost youth. Ultrarunning won’t save the world, but it’s a practice of the kinds of skills and outlooks that could ultimately help change the world’s course and will almost certainly change yours.

                                                       1. Allow Enough Time
In almost anything worthwhile, and especially ultrarunning, rushing to achieve success is a big mistake. Our culture has conditioned us to reflexively expect quick success. But quick success is the artificial, largely illusory, lure of an unsustainable civilization. Most people need eight to twelve months of regular running, averaging thirty to forty miles or more per week, to build the basic
cardiovascular capacity and endurance needed to run an ultra. Most will already have completed a marathon, or at least have substantial long-distance-running experience.

Genetically, all humans are built for running, but culture has separated us from nature and it takes time to readapt. While 30-40 miles per week is a minimum, you’ll probably be better off gradually working up to 60-80 mpw. If you are young and have good biomechanics and big dreams, you may be headed for 100 mpw or beyond. But remember, more is not always better. And getting to your maximum mpw as quickly as possible is almost always a mistake.

                                     --From the appendix "Notes for an Aspiring Ultrarunner,"
                                        in my forthcoming book The Longest Race (coming in October)

1 comment:

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Start slow and then slow down, one of my favorite ultra sayings. I'm training for my first this fall, heavy on cycling as crosstraining. Really looking forward to it!