Why run 100kms?
This is a question we asked ourselves multiple times in the run up to the big day, and perhaps even more during the race itself.
Everyone told us to remember…
“No one forced us to do this, it was our own decision.”
Whilst we knew this was true, there were certainly times we chose to question our motifs.
It’s worth noting, this is coming from two people who enjoyed (almost) every minute of their training… ok, well most of it!
So, why, other than the obvious sheer satisfaction, and shiny medal did we choose to take on this ultra challenge? What was it that thought 100km of running, with 3704ft of elevation was a good idea? What was marathon no longer giving us, and why did we feel the need to up the ante quite so much?
This is probably not the answer you were hoping for, but really the why is quite simple. H had mentioned she’d quite fancied it for some time and E being a very good best friend agreed she too was slightly enticed.
The decision came with no death wish, and was not driven by any dissatisfaction with our training or performance at the time. There was no point to prove, or audience to please. There was no pressure from our followers, coaches, family or friends. It was quite simply something we fancied, and with that comes ‘Why not?’
So many decisions to take on such challenges come with a connection to ‘someone said I couldn’t’, or ‘all my friends were doing it’. External opinions play into decisions made, making something that should be quite empowering and exciting become something pressurised and dreaded. This was not the case with our first ultra marathon, and we think it’s one of the reasons we enjoyed both the training and race so very much.
Whilst we wish the ‘why not’ factor could answer every query and question around whether signing up to something like this is the right decision, unfortunately it’s not always that simple. There’s a few other key players that attribute to the big day, and the months leading up to it being a success. Whilst they may not initially answer your why, we hope the below pointers can promote your ‘good decision’, and play into making your ‘why’ and ‘why not’.
Who’s making this decision?
Friends, family, peers and colleagues can be an excellent support crew when it comes to committing to something such as an ultra marathon, but they can also be the sole ‘why’ to your signing up. Whilst support is welcomed, the pressure is not and it’s important you differentiate between the two. You are making this commitment so you need to be sure you can do it. Just because best friend Betty has the hours in the day to dedicate to the training, does not mean you do, nor does it mean you want to. Take time to think about the decision alone, and when you’re not sure seek advice.
Do you have the time?
Now, we realise this sounds like a silly question as really everyone has time, and if your why is really strong, you’ll make it. The reason we’re asking this is ‘do you want to give the time’, or are you simply forgetting this big old factor in favour of pleasing an external force. This type of training can be incredibly stressful on your body, so you need to give it the benefit of the doubt. You need time to carry out a sensible training plan, time to recover and time to allow for setbacks. Not abiding my these time rules can lead to all sorts of stress, which could detract from your ‘why’, at the risk of compensating on enjoyment.
How much do you know?
We’re not saying you need to know everything, or even too much at all but you do need to have people around you that do. A good training programme can prevent injury and will promote a good race. Knowledgeable individuals can prevent panic, and will support strong sessions. Experienced athletes can offer excellent advice, and will know the major do’s and don’ts. These simple secrets release stress from you, and aid in reassuring you during this journey. We were incredibly lucky to have two excellent coaches who kept us in check, and in line. They ensured we were doing enough, but not too much and offered tips and tricks when the tough sessions creeped in. Having these two ‘rocks’ on side helped us to rest assured we were doing what was right for us, building both our mental and physical strength to help us step up to that start-line strong. They helped keep our ‘why’ in good hands!
In short, what we’re saying is ensure you make a supported decision, not a suggested one. Be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and not the social media driven ones because at the end of the day, it’s your body that will have to step up once race day arrives. You’re the one that has to enjoy and endure it, and you’re the one that has to know your ‘why’.