Articles by Ian Sharman

High Altitude Training

People who’ve lived at altitude for generations, like Tibetans and Andeans, show genetic adaptations to altitude to overcome the lower barometric pressure and corresponding lower oxygen density in the air. However, th...

Be an Ultrarealist

In Matt Fitzgerald’s new book, The Comeback Quotient, he delves into the psychological side of sports performance. He articulates multiple core concepts needed for success in both training and racing, and I spend much...

Growing as a Runner

After a year of severely reduced racing opportunities, 2021 is a chance for a fresh slate. Routines have been upended, kids are schooling at home, and there’s still plenty of time before we get back to normal. Yet, th...

Focusing on Speed

It’s safe to say that the 2020 running season didn’t go as expected. However, winter is the ideal time to work on consistent speed work without the interruption of races. In some cases, it makes perfect sense to back...

Why We Need Adventure

There are many reasons why athletes take on ultras, whether it’s looking for a new challenge, different terrain or reading an inspirational book. One of the key components underlying all those reasons is the need for adv...

How Long Is a Piece of String?

In recent years, the variety of ultra races has moved beyond just distance or time. For example, the Piece of String Fun Run in the UK is an event with a concept where the length is a mystery, along the lines of the age...

Power-Hiking with a Weight Vest

Odds are that for the really long distances, like 100 miles, almost everyone will need to power-hike at some point during a race. To put it in context, each time I won the Leadville Trail 100, I typically power-hiked aro...

How Stress Affects Running

Something recently happened that made me wonder how a sharp rise in stress affects running. I almost ended up in a high-speed car crash on the way to a race start, and with the pandemic causing overwhelming stress for ma...

So Much More Than Racing

As much as we love races, I’d like to suggest another option. Why not try running an epic route that inspires you? Ideally, a trail that may not be available as a race or an adventure relating to an event that’s very dif...

Becoming An Ultrarunner For Life

I first heard about ultrarunning in 2004 when I saw a documentary about the Marathon des Sables (MdS) in the Sahara Desert. I never thought the sport would dominate my life in every way, but it turns out that many runner...

Creating Good Habits

While much of what you do each day seems like it takes deliberate thought and willpower, your habits dictate more than you realize. Daily bad habits can lead to negative cycles. While it’s tough to change these for the b...

Our Identities as Ultrarunners

Speak to any runner and you’ll quickly see how our sense of self is wrapped up in the sport. This is most visible when we can’t run, especially during an injury or when we simply can’t find the time to fit in a few miles...

Setting Goals as You Age

Whether you’re new to ultras or have been running for a long time, it’s common for goals to change. One of the best things about endurance running is that it’s possible to keep improving strength and speed well beyond yo...

Knowing When to Fold

When life or health issues get in the way, one of the hardest choices runners must make is whether or not to run a race. Sometimes it’s for logistical reasons that are out of your control, such as starting a new job or t...

Consistency is King

I often get asked if there’s a secret to maintaining consistency. This question usually has the undertone of having your cake and eating it too, i.e. doing excessive training and getting away with it. Yet, it’s a fairly...

Be a Smart Runner

Whether coming back after an injury, an off season or a break from training, most runners have a tendency to try to do too much, too soon. I recently had a chance to contemplate this while coping with the worst injury I’...

Improve Your Habits Without Going Overboard

There are many ways to measure elements of training and health that it can become confusing at times. I’m a strong proponent for learning how to make judgments based on the signals your body gives you, especially when ma...

Coping with Injuries

Depending on the source, somewhere between 50% and 85% of runners get injured each year. So there’s a lot of information about how to fix any ailment, but what about the psychological side of coping with it? This is ofte...

Minimizing Injuries

I always begin coaching my runners by going through the core philosophies for the coming months. One of the most fundamental concepts is that consistent, regular running is vital for improving. Yet there are three main i...

FOMO

One of the most common topics that comes up with the runners I coach is about how many races to enter and whether to race the weekend after an unexpected development such as injury, illness, work/family emergency, poor t...