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6 Steps to Ultrarunner DNF Recovery

It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failures. Precept, study, advice, and example could never have taught them so well as failure has done. – Samuel Smiles

ultrarunning-dnf-recoveryWelcome all DNF ultrarunners.

My name is David Hanenburg and I dropped at mile 75 of the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail run. The drop provided the unique participant label, the undesirable DNF (Did Not Finish). This was definitely not my goal, but was what I received.

Below you will see a six step process to DNF recovery.

  1. Laughter – Laugh! Real, fake, whatever. Realize you are way more than any label.
  2. Acceptance – Accept that you got tossed around and thrown by the side of the trail or road of the ultrarunning adventure. And albeit shortened, it was one heck of an experience.
  3. Listen – Drink a glass or bottle of your refreshment of choice, sit down with the DNF, and listen to what it has to say. Yes, DNFs can talk especially after a couple choice drinks.
  4. Assess – Take the time to reflect on what the DNF had to say.
  5. Assimilate & Act – Let the DNF’s words inspire you to grow within your unique endurance sports journey.
  6. Run – Then get back out on the trails or road and have some fun.

If the above six steps don’t help you, you can always erase the experience from memory.

What was the main emphasis during my DNF chat session? – Structural Strength and Support

I have known this for the last couple years but haven’t done much about it. Hearing it from someone else (the drink was good) has put new importance and energy behind this personal ultra growth opportunity.

I now see the sign clearly but don’t know where it will lead me and I am OK with that. Movement versus stagnation provides the only opportunity to grow. I am ready for the journey.

Please share any specific concepts and actions that you feel have helped your structural strength and support.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

(Photo: Courtesy of / CC BY-SA 2.0)

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

2 Responses to “6 Steps to Ultrarunner DNF Recovery”

  1. on 20 Feb 2010 at 11:10 pm Chris Russell

    Good post. I remember my DNF at Cactus this past year (mile 85) I was really bummed for about a couple of weeks because I had put so much effort into training. The thing that helped me was focusing on a new goal which was Bandera 100K. Preparing and finishing that race really helped.

  2. on 22 Feb 2010 at 8:58 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Chris – As relaxed and strong as you appeared to me at Bandera, I think you have moved forward in your endurance sports life quite well. 🙂