Ever been asked if you find it boring running for hours on end by yourself?
Perhaps it is you that has asked this question?
What about those “weirdo’s” who run for days by themselves…. Surely they must get bored with their own company and want the whole experience to be over as quickly as possible?
Or do they…?
Being able to run great distances obviously requires a certain degree of physical ability, but any Ultra-distance runner will tell you pretty much all of is it mental.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that the greatest mental ability that one can develop is patience.
Being patient means you are content within your space, within that time, within yourself and because of this, almost nothing can touch you.
This is true, not just of Ultra-distance running, but for anyone that is attempting to run longer. If you can find that contentedness, that patience with the trail or the road, then you will not get bored. Boredom is what happens when you would rather be somewhere else.
A great byproduct of practicing patience with your running is that it is transferable to other areas of your life. Right now I’m sitting on plane, flying for a little over 5 hours between one holiday destination and another (lucky me!) and the captain has just told us that there will be two in-flight movies showing. Although, none of the headphones on the left hand side of the plane are working. Great news, I’m on the left! The low drone of the engines has very effectively put my two year old son to sleep next to me and the quiet time has given me enough head space to find these thoughts for you. This is what running does for me too. If I can’t find an answer to something, or if my head is too full of mess, the long run always sorts it out.
So getting bored just doesn’t happen anymore. It used to, but I guess I’ve gotten more patient.
What about the pain? This is perhaps the thing that requires the greatest level of patience. What is there to do when you are in agony from a burning tendon or a strained muscle (or worse) and you know you still have 3 hours, 10 hours, 24 hours or several days left of your race?
Be patient. The time will pass, the distance will pass and so will the pain. But don’t forget, the experience too will pass, perhaps too quickly. So, take your time with it, don’t rush the miles or the clock. Soak it all up.