...just these three for now...
9. When in doubt, keep moving
If you want doubt, run 32km, and then ponder running 10km more. We call that the marathon, and it’s a compelling instructor. As I like to put it, “All I really need to know I learned at the 32km mark of the marathon.” Keep moving. Maintain hope. Relax. But mostly keep moving.
Ah yes, keep moving. It may not be elegant, but it’s the only way to get anywhere. In ultra-marathons – races of more than 42km – that truth is sometimes all that remains. Left foot, right foot. Repeat.
There are plenty of reasons to despair. Fatigue, internal revolt, pain, doubt. When you start hearing those voices in a race, my advice is this: Don’t pay attention, and don’t ask why. Just keep moving forward. Same thing with life. When it seems ready to bring you to a standstill, don’t stand still, at least not for long.
10. Escape your comfort zone
Starting a running programme is an escape from comfort. After a while, though, steady running itself, day after day, becomes comfortable. Nothing wrong with that, except that after a while comfort short-circuits improvement. And it doesn’t lead anyplace new either.
A routine can be a good thing, but a rut is a bad place to spend much time, in running or life. I’ve had to remind myself over the years to break out of whatever comfortably numb routine I’ve fallen into. So I do some hill repeats, head to the track for interval work or go long.
A few years ago, I ran from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim and back. It was 66km, the course climbed (and dropped) over 3000 metres, and the journey took more than 11 hours. Tough, yes, but the adventure gave my running and my life a wonderful new depth and breadth (no canyon pun intended).
We all have Grand Canyons in our lives. Occasionally, we get uncomfortable by facing those deep doubts and fears. Once you’re through it – and you will get through it – you’ll feel bottomless satisfaction.
11. You’re never too old