896. Do you have what it takes to run an ultramarathon?

Why not set the goal and try it? 

It doesn’t have to be right away… 

I started out in 2019 by running a marathon. I trained for 11 months. 

The next year was double the marathon, 50 miles. 

Then the year after? 100 miles. 

And the year after that? 200 miles. 

The reason I tell you this is because you don’t have to start out with ultras. 

Start wherever you need. 

I love the double-it goal, each race was a stretch, a perfect example of exponential growth and it got crazy pretty quick. 

This article isn’t necessarily going to give you an answer on whether or not you have what it takes… That’s for you to decide (hint: we all have what it takes) 

This article is meant to you give you some info, to cause you to think: 

  • Could you run an ultramarathon? 
  • How hard is an ultramarathon? 
  • Training, suffering, and mental preparation
  • Walking, crews, & pacers (the behind-the-scenes stuff) 

Could you run an ultra marathon? 

Running shorter distances like a half marathon or a marathon – people used to be called crazy 

Those shorter distances are becoming more mainstream now, and the crazies? 

They’re the people that run these ultra marathons. 

Why else would someone run 50, 100 miles, or longer!?

Spoiler alert: it’s not going from the couch to 50 milers…

Usually, it’s going from the couch to one mile, then another, and another…

Eventually, a marathon happens, and just like that, an ultramarathon happens.

Trusting the process. 

It’s a build-up, one on top of the other. 

Many people get mentally stuck on the 26.2-mile marathon limit and won’t go passed that

“I’m cooked! I can’t go any further”

What if the marathon was 27 miles instead of 26.2? 

People would finish it… 

the limitations we put on ourselves are self-imposed

We can do a whole lot more than we think we can, we just have to have the right mindset. 

And if we have the right mindset? Damn straight you can run an ultra marathon. You can do anything with the right mindset, and lots of people use ultras as a tool to build that confidence up. 

How hard is an ultramarathon? 

Everyone’s hard is different, but ultramarathons are going to hurt. 

If a marathon is an 8 /10 on the pain scale, ultramarathons break the scale. They’ll hit 20/ 10…

The reason is that the compound effect of the pounding from every step starts to add up quickly as we clock miles for 12 hours, 24 hours, and even beyond that… 

Every ultramarathoner hurts, that’s a fact – so with that out the way, 

Someone running 6 miles for the first time – that’s hard

Just like it’s hard to run 100 miles, even for veterans of the sport…

And that’s one of the reasons why we run: to keep pushing through that hard barrier and come out on the other side, usually becoming a better person in the process

After all, a diamond gets its sparkle from the pressure it endures.

Hitting the wall

There’s this concept about “hitting the wall” during a marathon, usually around mile 20. 

People think that “Hitting the wall” comes from our bodies running too far

But really, it comes from us not fueling properly via hydration, nutrition, and pace. 

Unprepared runners will hit the wall way before mile 20  because they weren’t prepared. 

But someone who trains and puts in the work to run an ultramarathon by running miles and dialing in their hydration, nutrition, and pace? 

They’ll be ready. 

Use this as a guide for a per-hour intake:

  • 300 calories 
  • 1L of water 
  • 750 mg of sodium (this is electrolytes) 

We can go further than we think we can. 

Training, Suffering, and Mental Preparation 


Train as best as you can. As effectively as you can. As efficiently as you can.

Some people can only do 20 miles per week, while others do 100+… 

Either route we take, ultramarathons break us down to a point of weakness, leaving us extremely vulnerable, but that gives us the opportunity to build ourselves back up, one piece at a time. 

Something we rarely get to do in life – and because of the experience, we become better as a person, getting that sparkle.

And if we train correctly for long enough? If we put in the work? 

We have a pretty good chance of finishing the race. 


Suffering happens, just like life –  but ultras aren’t all about suffering.

Our bodies are put under extreme stress.. 

Boxers accept that they may break a nose 

Wrestlers accept cauliflower ear 

Hockey players accept getting drilled with the puck

Ultramarathoners accept a beat-up body and a broken-down mind 

That right there – to accept – that’s another thing we’re after. 

Confronting and overcoming difficult situations, not fearing them

If we mess up during a shorter race like a 5k, we won’t suffer that long… 

But what about if we still have 15 or 30 miles to cover? 

That’s a long time to be suffering, and that’s part of the amazing thing about this ultramarathon world…

How people handle adversity and suffering and still push through…

Other people ran this far before, and if I put in the work? 

I can too.

What a great way to boost confidence in our abilities. 

We are so much stronger than we think we are. 

Check out when the next 100-mile race is near you, head over to the finish line, and see some of the grittiest shit of your life. Especially the last hour before the cut-off, it’s the last of the runners coming in and they look beat up. ultrasignup

Mental Preparation 

We’re really not trying to hurt ourselves, and especially when we’re just starting out – it’d be wise to get help and advice from credible sources. 

The most common mistakes for beginner ultramarathoners? Being too ambitious 

“I want to run my first 100-mile trail race in 20 hours” 

Meanwhile they never even ran a race before… 

When it comes to ultramarathons, RARELY are we asked how fast we ran it – usually it is like holy shit you ran 100 miles?

The only way to run 100 miles is through mental preparation, it’s essential, and besides that, the second half of the race is run with our minds, not our physical abilities. 

Here are some mental preparation tips I’ve used leading up to races: 

  • Visualize the race. Know you’ll be moving for a loooong time and feel even worse.
  • Respond effectively even when we don’t feel okay, if we didn’t get a good night’s sleep, something came up, whatever. 
  • Put together game plans for everything, you’ll need one for race day. 
  • Focus on what’s happening right now in this present moment. 

Walking, Crews, & Pacers


During these ultramarathons, people walk at some point.

And it’s a damn solid plan to take walking breaks throughout the race, 

This helps keep us fresh and changes up the muscles we are using.

Some common techniques: 

  • walking the uphills 
  • doing an on/ off thing like 10 minutes jogging 2 minutes walking or some combination like that. 

Walking breaks really don’t chew up that much time. 

But, walking breaks are easier said than done, it’s not sexy, and most people won’t do this.

What do most runners do? 

Go out way too fast…

It takes discipline to hold back

“Screw that, I want to run as far as I can without stopping” 

What shoes to get? 

All you need is a pair of shoes to get started. The two shoes I use are the Hoka Clifton and Altra Riviera. 

The Hoka Clifton is a tried and tested shoe. Altra Rivera’s take some getting used to but they work for me. 

Most of the pain is going to be coming from our feet and legs because of the number of miles we’re clocking – the number of steps we’re talking – how many times our feet are hitting the ground 

The goal is to push that pain as close to the end of the race as possible – and good shoes help with that…

Or maybe it’s to happen as soon as possible? 

Whatever floats your boat. 

The four best ways to prevent blisters and chafing:

  1. Wear a good pair of socks
  2. Tie your shoes correctly (via heel locking) 
  3. Run with a slightly wider stance 
  4. Use a lubricant like body glide or destine (feet, arms, groin, ass, etc) 

“A pebble in the shoe will put you out of a race” 

And it’s true. 

Things like blisters or chafing can become exponentially bigger problems when the race time is 12 hours, 24 hours, 6 days… or more. 

Imagine chafing so bad you bleed and you still have 8 hours to go? 

Fix problems early and fix them often. 

Crews and pacers 

Crews and pacers are people who help you finish the race.

Most of their role is going to be spent planning and preparing. 

Pacers are out on the race with you, running miles, helping you keep pace, keeping company 

Crews are your “aid station” and can provide you with fluids, nutrition, gear, encouragement, etc

The reality is: crews and pacers only help us…

They can’t finish a race for us, and they play a bigger role than most people think. 

For runners, crews, and pacers: There will be highs and lows.

The idea is not to get too high and not to get too low.

And when things get really dark? (which they will) 

Remember that it’ll pass, we just need to hang on long enough. 

I appreciate your attention! 

Do you have what it takes? 

There’s only one way to find out… 

See when the next ultra is near you: ultrasignup

Go get your mile! 


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