On September 24, 2022, I was having one of the most difficult days of my life. I was deprived of meaning, struggling to adapt to new life circumstances, and felt completely lost.
Conveniently, the day coincided with about of month of preparation into which I had begun to prioritize running in my life again, for the first time since the start of COVID in March 2020. I had done this by using running as a method of breaking up the mundane and escaping on the weekends, where I would travel fifteen minutes to Paris, Ontario and explore. I was finally getting to a place where I was running around 60-70k a week, with around 2-3 days off and 1-2 longer runs. But crucially, I was finally getting to a place where I was enjoying running again.
Now, on this day, I had decided that I would work to change my mindset, work out my own misery, and come to greater enlightenment. Running has always been a massive time for reflection and idea formation throughout my life, and I knew that this would be a perfect time to get back into running, with the purpose of actually training for something again. I had been running periodically since a long-winded injury in 2018, but after a bit of a redemption race in April 2019, I hadn’t trained for an event, or for any real purpose.
This, I think, is one of the easiest ways to get back into running, if you’re going about it in the right way. You shouldn’t be putting yourself under pressure to be race ready, but instead, you should be training for fun, and for your own growth and development as a person, with that end goal in the back of your mind as something you are working toward for your own purposes.
Don’t get me wrong, lost in my ways, I started therapy, considered different careers and tried to come to peace with the life decisions I had made. But running, more than anything, was what allowed me to re-evaluate my situation, and come to an understanding of where I wanted to be, and who I want to be in that moment. My motivation was simple – train for an ultramarathon. But the reasonings behind that motivation were far more complex.
I wasn’t training to test myself and see how far I could push boundaries. I wasn’t training to be the fastest I could possibly be. I was training to come into a greater awareness of who I am, to enhance my health and quality of living, and to have fun exploring new places. The end goal was always in mind, but with several motivating factors to spur me on the rest of the way. One month on, I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a place where I’ve enjoyed running to this extent. I certainly haven’t enjoyed running this much in a non-addictive state.
So now that I’m almost a month into this process, I wanted to start to detail my thoughts and my journey, in the hopes that I will help you along your path and journey to run long, and help you enjoy the art of running along the way.
First, let me ask you a question. Why do you want to run an ultramarathon? Maybe you’re a fan of my work in other places or know me personally and stumbled upon this. But chances are, you’re reading this because you too want to train for an ultra. So if you haven’t already, think about the why?
In 2017, I would have told you that I wanted to run an ultramarathon for fun. But I don’t think that would have been genuinely true. I wanted to do it to test myself, probably to impress others, and to show other people how much of a cool beast I was at life. Now I’m doing it for myself. Here’s my motivation.
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