“Just a little patience…yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh”
While reading a good interview with one fast and tough ultrarunner, Pam Reed (on Active.com), the part that resonated with me the most was the advice she gave for ultrarunners (and all runners).
A few of the key points:
- “You’re way more capable of doing things than you think you are…Nobody can run 100 miles, right? Nobody can run 135 miles. Not until you try, until you just get out there and do it.”
- “Obviously you have to train, but you don’t have to be wacko about it.”
Then the one that really hit me…
“And that’s where the biggest word in ultrarunning, in my opinion, is patience. You’ve got to have a lot of patience.”
This stuck me as a simple yet powerful reminder…and then I thought of the 80’s GnR tune…couldn’t help it.
Back to ultrarunning…
In a world (at least the developed world) where high-speed, fast, instant, is the common flow of daily life for many, patience is often the antithesis of our current culture. Yet it is believed to be the most important concept in ultrarunning by a top athlete that has quite a few miles on her shoes.
Whether it is the most important…doesn’t matter. Is it an important ultrarunning asset and worth some thought? I definitely think so!
Ultra Comparison Versus the Marathon
One of the easiest way to create some perspective of the ultra distance is to compare with something we are likely familiar with – the marathon.
Depending on experience and current fitness, I think a marathon effort should feel easy for the first 15-20+ miles. This easy effort range is 57-76+% of the overall distance.
Can we compare these easy percentages to the ultra distances? Let’s give it a try.
Easy effort range (based on experience and current fitness):
- 50 km: 18-24+ miles
- 50 mile: 29-38+ miles
- 100 mile: 57-76+ miles
Taking a look at the 50 mile numbers, I could be groovin’ in an easy effort for 38-ish miles.
Does it take that patience-thingy to keep it easy for that long, especially in the relatively early miles? The legs are spunky, everyone is smiling, the sun is rising…for many of us (myself included) the answer is a chorus-like ‘yes’.
The Multi-Dimensions of Patience
Patient pacing also increases the opportunity to provide extra attention to two other critical ultra components; calories and hydration/electrolytes. The longer the distance, the more important this often becomes.
The Hammer fueling handbook provides some great starting points if you are new to ultra fueling.
The Ultra Bank
Does patience guarantee anything? Absolutely not, but I think patience is an ingredient that can pay significant dividends in many ultra adventures. And if you need an iPod reminder in the early ultra miles, this song should do the trick. 🙂
Thanks for the reminder Pam!
What roll has patience played in your ultrarunning adventures?
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
[Photo: Courtesy of alancleaver_2000]
Posted on 27 Sep 2010
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