Articles by Ian Sharman

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...

Heart Rate Variability

As a coach I spend a large proportion of my time discussing recovery to avoid over-training and maximize adaptation from harder workouts. Historically this has been a more subjective concept, since any individual’s idea...

When You Should DNF

Unless you’ve only run a couple of races, the odds are that you’ve suffered a DNF (“Did Not Finish”) before. There are many potential reasons for a DNF, but with smart planning and tactics most are avoidable. Some ult...

DNF

Motivation When It Counts

Every ultra takes grit to complete but no matter how many times you race, there are always times when you ask yourself whether you want to push or give in. So I thought it’d be useful to share the specific rationalizatio...

Euro-Style Mountain Races

Major ultras have become increasingly international, with more than 200 Americans heading to UTMB this year. Euro races are typically steeper, more rugged, can include off-trail sections and can have thousands of runners...

Achieving “Flow”

Last month we discussed how to improve your mental toughness. However, ideally only a portion of a run will require that grit, whether it’s the end of a speed session or a rough patch in a race. We also want to find a wa...

How to Tap Into Your Potential

Many factors contribute to successful ultra finishes aside from pure physical fitness. Very often the weakest link in a race is the mind, not the body, so there are big potential gains for many runners. Below I’ll examin...

Training on the Course

An old adage at Western States 100 is that familiarity with the course can shave off hours from your finish time. There are many reasons why this can help you to prepare better, both physically and mentally, thanks to kn...

Crewing and Pacing Tips

In ultras we rely heavily on others to help us get to the finish. That includes volunteers and staff at races, as well as family and friends who crew or pace. Even if you prefer to run with minimal assistance, there’s a...

Power Meters and Fitness Trackers

In the January edition of UltraRunning we discussed GPS watches and Heart Rate Monitors (HRMs), two established, older forms of tech used by runners. Now we move on to Power Meters (PMs) and Fitness Trackers (FTs). Do th...

Too Much Tech?

Running is essentially a simple activity with a very low barrier to entry – a pair of running shoes and some athletic gear are all that’s required. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to improve, avoid injuries or get t...

Progressing for Next Season

At the end of the year, most of us back off training and allow for a little downtime and reflection, plus, family commitments are especially time consuming (and fun) during the holidays. It’s also lottery season for many...