The Why in Ultra – How to Keep Going When Things Get Tough

In every long distance race there comes a point where you want to quit. A moment when your legs are burning, the terrain in front of you looks intimidating, other runners are passing you and you would literally rather be anywhere else in the world. At that point you will turn around and ask yourself the single most important question you can ask yourself, “Why?”.  If you buy any book on training they will tell you 101 ways to become physically strong. Marathon plans will focus on intervals and tempo runs, ultra plans on elevation and back to back long runs. Hardly any books I have every purchased even have a section on “mental” aspects, despite this being possibly the most important aspect of the training! Finding your “why” is, at least in my opinion (and in the opinion of quite a few others I know), THE single most important aspect of your training. And guess what, it is a principle that you can apply to virtually any aspect of your life.  Why do you need a Why?  To really understand what makes the answer to the question “why” so powerful, first we need to consider what are the aspects

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How I am Training for Aran by UTMB

The Torn Dera Val d’Aran is a 161km ultra marathon in the Pyrenees, traversing some of Spain, France and Andorra’s most difficult terrain and highest peaks. With a cumulative 10,200m of elevation over the course you are expected to climb 63.5m for every 1km you move forward (and descend the same amount to finish back at the start!), the course is steeper than the famed UTMB race in France. At the first edition last year, the winner finished in just shy of 24h, whilst less than 50% of participants made it from start to finish.  Regardless of this, I have signed up. Here is how I plan to train.  The image below is my actual training plan that I am using, written at the end of 2021 after copious amounts of research and drawing on my experience in previous races and training blocks. Before I go any further I must stress, I am not a qualified running coach (whatever that is) and whilst I have undertaken a large amount of study on physical performance and running, this study has primarily been self-supervised and I do therefore not hold any formal coaching qualifications. A large portion of this plan has been

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