What training for an Ultra-Marathon has taught me.
Last month I ran my First Ultra-Marathon, 60km at the Great Ocean Road. I once read somewhere that finishing a Ultra-marathon is like having an enlightenment about yourself, which is quite truth, you discover how strong, unbreakable and unstoppable you can be.
It had been almost three weeks since then, I had time to process everything that just happened and here am I to share with you the points that I considered as being essential to cross the finish line.
Since my first ever race exactly three years ago (The SMH Half Marathon in 2016) I knew I wanted to run an Ultra-Marathon. Doing things that most people consider as impossible has always attracted me. I found on running my way to prove to myself that I can.
I’m competitive by nature, it’s not about competing against others, it is about being better than I was yesterday, facing my fears, beating my on records. In almost three years since I’ve started running I did about 7 Half Marathons, 2 Marathons, 10 fun run/short distances from 10 to 15km, 3 triathlons (1 sprint and 2 Olimpic), 5 Trail Run from 21km to 36km.
When I heard about the Great Ocean Road Ultra-Marathon I haven’t think twice. The race landscape, the idea of a weekend away, everything seemed perfect, it’s claims to be Australia’s most stunning running event. (I didn’t considered the cold weather in Melbourne this time of the year and neither the course elevation).
I officially started my Ultra-Marathon training by the end of February. Being a business owner, working full time, of course it was hard to conciliate time to everything. It takes a lot of commitment and discipline, I had to dedicate long hours not just for my running training but also strengthening, stretching and preparing my mindset.
Yes, you are right to think that human body didn’t meant to run that far, that is why mindset plays the most important whole for it to be possible.
Love yourself more than ever - being immersed in or own thoughts so long can be dangerous if you don’t enjoy your own company. To be able to succeed on long distance races you must learn to entertain yourself during the long hours of training.
Discipline & Purpose - My friends like to make jokes with me that I have a military mindset. True, I see everything as a task to be accomplished. From work, household chores and training. I make daily/weekly list on my mind and tick the boxes, each on its time.
Be consistent - Do it again and again. Even that I love running and being active, there were days that I didn’t feel like doing it, but I knew that to be able to run that far I had to train my body to it, to learn being comfortable while running long distances. The same goes for food, not being consistent with your diet can prejudice performance, hinder the recovery progress and weaken your immunity levels.
If you trained to it. You can do it - If you decided to run an Ultra-Marathon I really recommend you to seek for assistance. Being guided by a professional when it comes to your training and nutrition is a must. Mindset is also a thing. With dedication there’s almost nothing that can hold you. Nothing but your thoughts. Believing is achieving. Don’t let anyone’s opinion drawn you. I've heard from many people that I was crazy; that they don't even like to drive that far and sometimes I could see into people's eyes their doubt of me being able to do it. The point is; You can achieve anything you set your mind to. If you are driven, if you believe that you will going to succeed nothing is gonna be able to hold you back.
Have fun and embrace the journey - During some of the long distance training and on the race day pain, fatigue and doubt were real. Reminding myself to smile, laugh and cherish every step further were essential. Reaching the finish line was just a consequence of countless victories on the way.
If you ever participated a race before you know how good is the feeling when you finish it. I felt absolutely amazing crossing the finish line. On the last 500 metres when I realised how close I to finish the adrenaline took over my body, the Rocky song started playing in my mind and I sprinted my way through it.
Crossing the finish line has reinforced to me that:
-We have more in us than we imagine;
-Nothing is impossible if you are willing to do it;
-The magic happens outside your comfort zone;
-Stop comparing yourself with others. No one else’s achievement if better than yours. Everyone has a different journey and purpose in life.
-It is not about how fast or further you run comparing to other runners, it is about aiming to become a better version of yourself.
-Never forget to be proud of my body. Sometimes we are so obsessed by the way we look and finding defects that we don’t see how strong and perfectly designed to move we are.
-Keep seeking for things that makes me feel empowered, strong and unstoppable.