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Why should you read this collection?

I'm 52, and feel like I'm 25, due to my discovery of running at the age of 40. I started with marathons, but over the past 12 years I've done dozens of ultra-endurance events, including thousands of kilometers of ultramarathons, 24hr Off Road Ironman races, and 500km Adventure Races in various continents.

As a clinical psychologist, my biggest pleasure is helping athletes realize that they are capable of much much more than they imagine, and seeing them take it to other areas of life.

Bottom line, whether you are a rookie or seasoned runner, I've got some tips and insights which will help you with your ultra aspirations. 

If you have thoughts of dragging your family with you on your ultra endurance events, you're also welcome to follow our family's adventure blog:

familymarathonaroundtheworld.com

Can you run an ultramarathon?

Of course you can, if you really want to.

Ten years ago marathoners were considered to be members of an elite club. Nowadays people look at ultramarathoners and ironmen that way. I'll let you in on a well kept secret within the ulramarathoners club: Running a slow ultra is easier than running a fast marathon.

The key to success is changing your state of mind and slowing the pace, instead of sisifusly attempting to shave off some minutes from your marathon time.

For those of you who are thinking- how can he be so sure about our abilities without knowing us or our shape? I will say that as long as you do not have a severe disease, your human spirit can push your sorry ass to the finish line. I've competed with athletes who have no legs, so no excuses please.

Another common excuse is that you don't have the time. First of all, it's a matter of priorities- so if it's important to you, you'll find the time. Second of all, many people assume that you need to train at least 15 hours per week, but 10 hours a week is enough for a 50k ultra.

If you're calculated and efficient, you can plan your week so that your training will not throw your life out of balance. For example, run circles around your kid's soccer practise, maintaining eye contact, while getting in a training session. Run to work or run along your kids while they go biking. One of the accomplishments I'm most proud of is finishing my first Ironman competition while my three kids were 7, 4 and six months old, while still being there for my family during that period.

So, decide on a goal/race that you want to aim for, put it on your calandar, and off you go! 

Why do we run ultramarathons?

When patients complain to me about their mid-life crisis, I jokingly inform them that they have three options:

1. Cheat on your spouse.

2. Buy a convertible.

3. Run a marathon.

I strongly recommend to them to go with option 3 since it's healthier and cheaper.

This vignette from the therapy room indicates that many runners start running marathons around the age of 40, due to some sort of midlife crisis.

Over the past ten years, the ultramarathon club is growing by leaps and bounds.

Why are so many people taking running to the ultramarathon level? Most fit into one of the following categories:

1. You're looking to "push the envelope" and literally see how far you can go. 

2. You realize you're no longer fast, but are strong of mind, so you've decided to tap into your added value, and stop trying to shave some minutes off your marathon time.

3. You do it for the tee shirt or the bumper sticker. Let's face it, there is an urge to show off. Be warned though- up until a certain number of miles, your surroundings will think you're cool, but when you tell people that you ran 80 miles, there's a good chance they'll think you're crazy.  

It's not about the tee shirt. Or is it?

It's not about the tee shirt. Or is it?

I ran my first ultramarathon about ten years ago. It was the first ultramarathon ever staged in the Middle East, and we ran over 50km through hilly terrain. It was tough, but I made it to the finishing line. There was no medal or tee shirt for me to boast about this impressive achievement, and I was disappointed. Then, a lot of it was about the tee shirt. Since then, I've run many ultramarathons, and I'm happy to say that the need for external recognition is not so strong anymore.

My ten commandments of Ultramarathoning

1. Remember that it's all in the mind (and a little bit in the legs).

2. Drink before you're thirsty.

3. Eat before you're hungry. The first three commandments sum up the adage that the two keys to a good endurance athlete are mind and nutrition.

4. Rest before you're tired- pace yourself and remember that even though W-A-L-K is a four letter word, get over that and walk the hills to save energy.

5. Equipment is over rated- most important is a good pair of shoes that fits you.(Like Montrail)

6. Don't over train- you should have a mix of quality and quantity, so as not to get injured. 
7. Treat your feet with TLC. Oil them up before, and treat the blisters immediately.  

8. Fight the ultraboredom with distractions like music or running partners.

9. Never try anything new on race day. This includes equipment, nutrition and tactics. The only novelty should be the additional 10-20% distance you add to race day. 

10. "What goes down, must come up". Remember that ultras have a sinus curve. When you are in a slump, know that it will pass, and you will be able to run through it. 

Dean Karnazes | Ultramarathonman

© 2016 Ultramarathonman.com All rights reserved. | ABOUT; DK-GPS; BOOKS & SPEAKING; INNER ACTION; MEDIA GALLERY; SCHEDULE © 2016 Ultramarathonman.com All rights ...

Glenn Cohen
He's been voted the sexiest athlete alive. Not my type, but he's very inspiring and offers important tips.

Dean Karnazes | Ultramarathonman

© 2016 Ultramarathonman.com All rights reserved. | ABOUT; DK-GPS; BOOKS & SPEAKING; INNER ACTION; MEDIA GALLERY; SCHEDULE © 2016 Ultramarathonman.com All rights ...

Glenn Cohen
Voted the sexiest athlete in the world. Not my type but he's insp[iring and offers great tips.
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