Tag Archives: ultrarunning

10 Ways to Stay Motivated for your First UltraMarathon


  1.    Write Out a Schedule–As soon as you decide you’re going to run an ultra write out a plan. Take your time and have fun writing the plan. Be reasonable with your schedule and limitations. Throughout the plan add rewards for completing significant long training runs. Your plan should also include enough leeway for unplanned obstacles and rest days.
  2.     Talk About It, A Bunch–The more people you tell your running an ultra, the more people that will be asking you how your training is going. The more people you tell, the more support you will have. And your possibility of finding training partners increases.
  3.      Challenge a Friend–Having a friend that is training for the same race is a terrific way to keep you motivated. You won’t want to let them down, and your competitive side will prod you to get out on those early morning runs. It’s also nice to have a friend to accompany you on those long training runs.
  4.      Follow Ultra Bloggers–There are a lot of ultrarunning bloggers out there, and if reading about their adventures doesn’t motivate you, not much will. Check out: A Trail Runner’s Blog, An ultrarunner’s blog, ultrarunner’s insight blog.
  5.      Build Your Own–Start your own blog. Right from day one you can share your ultrarunning experiences. You won’t want to let your followers down and writing about your running will keep you running.
  6.       Listen Up–When I’m out on a long run, nothing gets me pumped more than listening to a fellow ultrarunner talking about their training and racing stories. Here are a few podcasts to get you started: ultrarunnerpodcast, running podcasts.
  7.      Be Well Read–If you haven’t read Born to Run by Chris McDougall, do it. Even if you are not going to run long it’s a great read. Dean Karnazes book, Ultramarathon Man will also get you rearing to run long.
  8.      Write Out Your Race–Before your ultra, write out on paper your perfect race. Get as detailed as you like, be sure to include your lows and highs. By doing this you will see you can finish, all you need is positive thinking. And, of course, some training.
  9.      Sign On the Dotted Line–If you haven’t signed up for an ultramarathon yet, what’s holding you back? Once you register and pay you will be even more determined you will run it.
  10.   Love to Run–No matter how the training, racing and aftermath go, just love the run. Every run you go on, remember, loving to run is the original and strongest motivator.

What motivates you to run ultramarathons?


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Day 40–Build an Adventure

Did you get out and have an adventure today?

In today’s fast paced hectic full-time world adventures seem to be few.

Did you know by writing and running adventures are closer than you think?

According to Wikipedia an Adventure is,“an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.”

Running can easily fall into the adventure category. Maybe you don’t feel that your daily 3 miler is falling into the adventure category, so why not build an adventure.

Here’s how:

Plan an extra long run. Run farther than you’ve ever run. If you’ve ran 10 miles, go for 12. If you’ve done 50, start training for a 100 mile run. Check out this super website for ultrarunning information and inspiration–ultrarunnerpodcast.com

Run in the Wild. Go running on a trail you’ve never run or skip the trail and blaze your own. Just be sure to have a compass and not get lost, although that would be an adventure.

Do an All-Day Run. You don’t need a week to have an adventure. Eight to ten hours is plenty. Dean Karnazes leaves his house for all-day long runs with a credit card and cell phone. Really that’s all you need. Start running and who knows where you will end up.

Writing also lends itself to adventures. They can be day long adventures to year long, but writing definitely takes you on exciting, unusual experiences with uncertain outcomes.

Here’s a couple ideas:

Write about what you don’t know. Choose a topic you have always been interesting in–firefighting, beekeeping, ultrarunning, etc. And then immerse yourself in it with the goal of writing about it, fictionally or non-fictionally.

Writing Weekend. Pick a weekend and just write. It doesn’t have to be a weekend, it could be anytime you can devote two or three days to writing. Who knows what will come out of it. Maybe a master short story or the beginning of your next novel.

National Novel Writing Month. November is coming soon, and trying to complete a novel in a month could be called an adventure. Commit and build your adventure.

Running and Writing adventures are around every corner for the people build them.

What is your writing or running adventure?

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Day 27–The Western States 100–Don’t just Dream

Today 389 runners are testing their mettle at the 38th annual Western States Endurance Run.

They will try to run 100 miles, starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California. According to the website, “Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.”

These runners have trained for months or even years to be able to accomplish this great feat. The desire to run in this race is at the top of  many ultrarunners to-do list. Because of the race’s popularity you must enter a lottery system to run the race. The chances of being chosen are about 10 percent.

We can learn something as runners and writers from these runners.

One commonality they all share is–Commitment, Determination & Endurance.

Notice that the commitment and determination come before the endurance. Without commitment and determination we will never gain endurance.

These runners decided and determined that they would train to run 100 miles, and 100 tough miles at that. They may have dreamed about it at first, thinking that it would be great to be able to do that, but there came a point when they had to decide to make it a reality.

They decided and committed to running that distance. Once they committed themselves, the run was no longer a dream.

As runners and writers we can dream and dream about what we want to accomplish–Run a marathon or 100 miles, write a novel or publish a short story.

The dream can be fun at first, but it is nothing until we Commit.

Dreaming isn’t action, commitment is. And next comes the determination to meet our goal. Only we determine whether we are committed or not.

This is where our determination comes into play. Be determined. Know that others have done it and so can you.

Think of all those runners out there today, they are determined, they are done dreaming. They are running.

Do you need a reason to run?  Ten reasons to start running today.

If we find it in ourselves to commit to a goal, running or writing, and then be determined, the endurance will follow. All those runners started in the same place-the beginning. Every writer starts at word one, every runner at mile one. After tacking on words and miles, the endurance grows, it feeds on past miles and past words.

Our endurance must be fed. Stop writing down the words and it will wither. Stop running the miles and it wilt.

So keep it up. If you’ve started running and writing everyday, you are committed, you are determined and your endurance is growing.

If you have not committed yourself yet, go to Day 1 of this blog, and read a post a day.

Commit, Be Determined to Stop Dreaming, and you will find Endurance.

Maybe next year you will be one of those runners.

Thanks Western States runners, for helping all of us move forward.

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Day 19–The Rain is good for Running & Writing

Here in Nicaragua it rains, and it rains. We are in the rainy season, and this means we get rain every day. It’s logical that I’m going to end up running in the rain and writing in the rain. This is good.

How can the rain help your running & writing?

Running in the Rain.

I’ll start by saying, I’ve always taken great joy in running in the rain. Every since I began running I’ve enjoyed running in the rain. I think one reason is partly because when I’m running in the rain I feel like I’m  a hardcore runner. If the rain doesn’t stop you, what will? In reality running in the rain doesn’t equate to hardcore, but it could show more dedication than the runner who decides to stay home. An excuse to not run can always be found.

Sometimes running through the rain is easy. When it’s warm and the rain is refreshing. Then there are times when it’s a true test.

I ran a self supported 50 mile ultra run last year. Just me and the trail. It rained for the pretty much the whole 8 hours. It was cold and windy. I did not enjoy the rain, it was prodding me to quit. It was not fun. The fun part was finishing and looking back and feeling happy that I had pushed through the rain.

Last year at the Kettle Moraine 100 trail run, it rained for 5 or 6 six hours straight. It just poured. At first it was refreshing, but after 2 or 3 hours, my teeth were chattering, I was soggy through and through and sick of the rain. It was not fun. But, with the help of my brother-in-law, wife and sister I finished the race. If I would have quit, I would have looked back with regret, but instead, I can look back and be grateful for the rain. The rain was a part of the challenge. Without the rain it would not have been the same challenge.

My dad wrote me last week and described a 100 mile bike ride that he just did. To quote him, “we were pretty much wet the whole day.”  He said the temperature didn’t get above 51 degrees all day.

He was riding with some other guys,  some made it, others didn’t. The point is he finished, and I can tell from his email, that the ride could have been a lot more fun. The rain made it harder, but he recounts it with joy because he toughed through and finished despite the cold wet rain.

The rain does help make better, stronger runners and cyclists, but how does it relate to writing?

Writing through the Rain.

In our writing we have rainy times. Times where we are cold, wet and do not want to tough it through. It can be a 10 minute stretch or an endurance event of a week. The important thing is that we push through the rain and finish.

The rain always stops. And once you see the sun again, you can look back and be happy that you did not quit. When you find the end of that article or short story, it feels good to relate how tough it was, but you finished.

So, keep running & writing through that rain. There will downpours and drizzle. No matter what, you can always dry off when it ends.

Please check out my short story: Just One Cup


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