Tag: Mental

The Month of Fear

When you line up at your next ultra, you can take comfort in the fact that you are already likely in the top half of all the entrants. Between the opening of entry and the final field stepping to the line, about half the...

The Unique Psychology of an Ultrarunner

It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that runners are a bit different in the head (which is a good thing since I’m a physiologist). Ultrarunners on the other hand, well, most people think they more than just a bit diff...

Shift Your Mindset, Shift Your Happiness

Being competitive, driven and hardworking are admirable, and one could even argue, desirable traits in a long-distance runner. Set the bar high and you’ll often put in the work to achieve those lofty goals – be they a ne...

Pessimism Is Your Friend

Forget everything you have heard about a positive attitude. What every ultrarunner needs to be successful is a healthy dose of pessimism. Optimism is a weakness; a flaw in our personality that our subconscious exploits t...

Be Mindful Out There

Many runners have picked up on the close connection between running and mindfulness. When you practice mindfulness, you get a definite reduction in your levels of stress and anxiety. You also feel a lift in your self-est...

Mental Training for Upcoming Adventures

My friend Scott came out of his camper holding a paper cup. He handed it to me and said, “Here, do you want to drink this?” I was immediately suspicious. Judging by the slightly yellow tint of the liquid, it looked like...

Don’t Think, Just Run

The cerebral nature of ultrarunning is one of my favorite aspects of the sport, and I am constantly encouraging coaching clients to “think on your feet out there.” Fueling, pace, gear, outlook, logistics: there’s so much...

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...

Mind Over Matter

We prepare ourselves for the physical challenge of an ultra with long runs, hill training, intervals, fartlek, weight lifting, cross training, tempo runs, and back-to-back workouts, all done with capital “I” Intensity. W...

Something to Remember

We ultrarunners truly are fortunate to be able to do what we do. A lot of people go through life without a whole lot to look forward to. And that probably also means there’s not a whole lot to remember, either. If you’ve...

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

As runners, we set ourselves many targets. However, when we constantly push our boundaries, there’s some inevitable disappointment along the way. This isn’t a sign of weakness, but an indication that we’re challenging ou...

FKT = NBS

We all know ultrarunning is going to beat us up physically from time to time, but we sometimes overlook the way we beat ourselves up mentally – both in running and in life. A few years ago, I realized some of my own nega...

Ultra Grit

Every ultrarunner knows there will come a point when things get tough. Just as smooth seas do not make a skilled sailor, smooth roads do not make a good runner. It is during these defining moments that we build our runni...

The Power of Passion

Dear Ann, Our conversation really opened my eyes to the one thing that is preventing me from getting to the next level. In my mind, I am still that fat kid who always got picked last in P.E. For this reason, I race and...

Science of Running and Mental Fatigue

When we think of ultrarunners, we think of people with iron wills and the ability to push themselves beyond their limits. They seem to override physical fatigue with mental toughness. Finding causes of fatigue has been a...

Training for Mental Fitness

Brandy Erholtz and I were pushing hard on a steep climb at nearly 10,000 feet, but the familiar synergy, experienced many times before with friends and competitors in training and racing, made the toil bearable. The Euro...

Working Your Mental Edge

If you train with a group of friends or a running club, you likely know runners whose physical fitness you can compare to yours on a regular basis. I know where I sit in the pack with my running club teammates—who is fas...

Achieving Flow State

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the leading authority on flow state, “flow is a very positive psychological state that typically occurs when a person perceives a balance between the challenges associated with a sit...