Ultra running doesn’t have very many rules per se, but Candice Burt on her blog Wild just about nails it with her list of 10 rules of ultra running. I’ve been running ultras for a long time but up until now I never heard of “niggles”. Read on below as Candice bears the untold truths about DNFing, injuries and our dread of road marathons!
10 Rules of Running an Ultramarathon
Before you get your panties all tied in a knot by The Rules, see # 4 and remember that I used my own experience to write these. Yes, I own a pair of (oh god, shame) leopard print gaiters, see # 7. I thought I was going to kill myself when I DNF’d the Tahoe Rim FKT last summer, see # 1. I ran on plantar fasciitis for 9 months and am going stir crazy now, see # 3. I traded an addiction to nicotine and alcohol for ultra running, see # 2. I fear the marathon like the slug fears salt (I’ve only run one road marathon ever and it was my gateway to ultras) see # 5. Like any good cult, we ultra runners have certain defining aspects, which I present to you without further ado:10 Rules of Ultra Running
1. Love the DNF. You were on such a good streak. You were so hardcore. Never a DNF in 8 years! You think that makes you an ultrarunning badass? Think again. Once you’ve been deflowered you will realize it’s the DNF that makes you tough as nails.
2. Do it For the High. Admit it already! You are as much of a junkie as the next drug addict. So you love the mountains, the serenity…blah, blah, blah. Ok, repeat after me: I love the pain, I love getting into my head and ignoring my body, I love the feeling I get from destroying my body over 100 miles. Ok, good we got that straight.
3. It’s Not an Injury until You Can’t Run: but if you can’t tell the difference between a “niggle” and something serious, you’ll never be a good ultra runner. Even experienced ultra runners make the mistake of thinking something is a niggle when it’s serious. You will too. The more crazy you go when you do have to take a break the more #2 applies to you.
4. Kill Your Ego: If running 100 miles doesn’t make that ego die, it’s gonna be tough. And for ultra runners making the ego die is really, really tough. We like praise and we write/talk about our accomplishments like no other group of addicts: how tough, how crazy, how bad the weather was, how we suffered like it’s a badge of honor. We can live off praise for at least a week, no food needed. How can we become a better runners? Stop talking and writing about how badass we are and get out and run.
5. Fear the Marathon: It’s what separates us from the masses right? Heck, we avoid the dreaded marathon like it’s a rest break because deep down we know that running a marathon is just as hard, if not harder than an ultra. Why? Because we have to run fast, no walking breaks. See #6.
6. Walking=Running. Wow, you ran 100 miles! That is so amazing! Well…. the dirty secret of ultra runners? We don’t “run” 100 miles. We get through 100 miles as fast as we can. There’s a lot of walking. Regardless of how much walking, ultrarunners may call a race a “run”. Why? I have no fucking idea.
7. Wear all the Latest Gear at Once: I swear I’ve seen more crazy styles on ultra runners than I do in a episode of Sex and the City. Seriously, compression socks and capri pants? Buff headbands? Leopard print arm sleeves? Compression shorts sticking out under skorts? Shorts/Skorts over tights? Gaiters? I mean seriously gaiters? HAVE WE NO SHAME!! No, we don’t.
8. Sell your Soul or at least your Body: For all those aspiring fast folks and the the ones who are actually fast: get used to putting advertisements all over your body. Consider temporary tattoos, hats/shirts/pants/socks with logos. Heck, even patch a logo onto your pack or shirt. If you’re logo’d apparently you’ve made it.
9. Change your Profile Picture: You’ll need a picture of you running for social media now that you are an ultra runner. While you’re at it start an athlete page and invite all your friends. I’m sure they don’t get enough updates on your running from just your personal page.
10. Go Paleo: Or at least pick some sort of creative diet. It could even be the I-Ran-so-I can-Eat-Anything Diet. Or the I-Ate-too-Much-so-I-have-to-Run Diet.
Bonus! 11. Start Liking Beer. ‘Nuff said.
Candice Burt Wild
I think anyone that has run an ultramarathon can relate to one or more of these rules. I’m afraid that I’m guilty of all the rules, how about you?