How do you run 100 miles?! 1 of 6

South Downs Way 2015 100 mile finisher buckle

The first time I ran 100 miles, several people asked ‘How do you run 100 miles?! How do you even train for it?!’ I’ve never found a short answer which has sounded right. ‘Err, well, you just keep going, it’s not as hard as you might think.’ ‘Errr, it’s like running a marathon, only a bit slower.’  ‘Errr, it’s just lots of smaller races with cake stops in between!’ (And I quite like cake.) These answers are all true, but they don’t properly satisfy the question, or the feelings, which surround the answer. These answers don’t get down to the nitty gritty of it.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that for me, there wasn’t one all-encompassing answer, more a combination of a few smaller elements which build into a whole, a whole which appears to be stronger than the sum of its parts. Rather than write one uber-long blog post, each of these factors is going to get one of its own. So over the next week or so, I’ll be writing posts which tackle each of these ‘ingredients’, and hopefully shedding some light on the inner workings of this ultra-runner’s noggin.

I’m not a gifted runner…

First thing’s first – I am not what you would call a gifted runner. Seriously. I really am a very average runner. One of my best pals says I sound like an asthmatic pig when I run… Which is one of the main reasons why I wanted to start this blog, to prove that you don’t need to be gifted to run 100 miles, (if you are gifted it just means that your suffering will be over sooner!). Unless there is an underlying physical or medical reason against it, with some head and body training, anyone can do it. I absolutely mean it. Anyone. Having said that, if I ask myself, ‘could I have run 100 miles 10 years ago?’ the answer would be ‘No. Not a chance.’ And that’s because the five factors that I’m going to talk about over the next few days were not in balance with each other, and one factor in particular, the most important one, was very weak at that time. But now it isn’t.

My 5 key elements to running 100-miles

So, with a big dose of reflection and an equal dollop of hindsight, the five key factors which I believe combine to enable me to run 100 miles are:

  • Training (obvious, but what mine looks like might come as a surprise)
  • Reading (yes, sitting down and reading…)
  • Diet (what you put in really does make a difference, but I’m very far from perfect. It’s the cake, you see…)
  • Regularity (in everything)
  • Mindset (in my opinion, the most important of the key elements)

I’m really excited to share these next few posts, where I’ll tackle these elements in more detail. If you’re a runner (or practice any other sport for that matter), which factors are the most crucial to you gearing up and getting out the door? Comment below and let me know…

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