The other day someone asked me why I want to run an ultra next year when I could instead focus on getting better at shorter distances first.
Wouldn’t that be a better plan? Wouldn’t it make me stronger when I finally do run an ultra?
It’s a fair question. The short answer is that yes, I am sure getting stronger at shorter distances before tackling an ultra would be a good plan. But I don’t want to do that which is why I am not!
Running is something I do for fun. I view speedwork as a necessary evil. I like getting progressively faster just as much as the next average runner, but it doesn’t give me the same thrill as marking off a new longest distance.
Getting to the 14-mile and 15-mile marks in my long runs this July has been such a great personal experience for me. I just LOVE settling in for a long run.
I don’t mind if a run takes me two or three hours. (The marathon will certainly take me much longer than 3 hours).
On Saturday when I was finishing my first 15-miler I thought about adding on another mile just to see what it would be like. I’m not saying that to brag about what a strong runner I am (because I’m not), I’m just telling you what was going through my mind.
The long run inspires and motivates me. That’s why I want to keep moving up in distance.
I cringe a bit inside on speedwork days. I sometimes struggle getting out the door for an easy 4-miler, but I rarely ever have trouble lacing up for a long run.
The long run feels worth my time.
I am sure plenty of people feel that way about distances anywhere from 1 mile to the 5K and all the way on up. As runners we’re all inspired and motivated by different things.
My coach recently decided that she wanted to go back to focusing on the 5K instead of the marathon. I love that she knows which distance she is passionate about.
That’s how I think I’ll feel about ultras. I want to run a 50K and a 50-miler because … I want to. It’s really as simple as that.
If I thought I could ever make the time cutoff for a 100-miler I would do it.
It’s helpful that distance running really suits my life. I don’t have kids and Adam is super supportive of my running time. I like running alone; I rarely ever feel bored on a long run. I’m a daydreamer and can easily get lost in my thoughts for miles.
The words tempo and fartlek are annoying to me (total necessary evils), but the word ultramarathon just sounds like such a good idea! I mean I really like running, why not run for a long time?
Yes, I am sure becoming a stronger runner at shorter distances would be a solid plan. I would probably improve my time at those distances and that would help my overall future ultra training.
It’s very possible that all these ideas about ultrarunning are easy to have when the longest I’ve ever run is 15 miles… it’s possible that I’ll never run an ultra.
But for now, 50 miles is the plan.
What distance do you love the most?