The relationship we have with running is one of the most important relationships we have in our lives. Much of the time, it's simply a relationship with ourselves (more on that later). We love running. It brings out the best (and sometimes the worst) in us. It's an integral part of our heart and soul. It humbles us. It hurts us. It moves us. It challenges us. It opens our eyes to new experiences. Sometimes things aren't working out, so we need to take a break. But it is always there for us when we are ready to begin again. Once we ignite a relationship with running, it's in us forever. Even if our intention is to get rid of it, running never really goes away.
If we compare running to a long term relationship, then logically we can see the similarities between running an ultra and dating in general. Logically. Recently we have realized how similar running/training for an ultra is with dating. Here is why:
1. The science of the "Slow Build." Science tells us base training is important before adding in intensity. When you meet someone ask yourself, "Is this a slow build?" Meaning, do I want to put in the time and energy to build a base with this human. If yes, then your intentions with this person are for the long hall. Once the base is there, you can add intensity.
2. Dating requires endurance. (We recommend Vespa or Vega fuel - intentional plug). Changing up your training and running on difference terrain and trails means you will minimize boredom. Just as dating a variety of people will minimize burning out, if you're dating.
3. The chase can be the best part. Bored in your training? Go chase a friend on the trails. Bored in your love life? Get involved in the chase.
4. It gets uncomfortable. Training is fun, but it can be hard. It's uncomfortable to get outside on those days you just want to sleep. It's uncomfortable to push through a specific speed workout. Likewise, dating and meeting people for the first time can be uncomfortable. (Especially for the introverted / socially awkward ultrarunner). We don't recommend referencing sweat, dirt, altitude, or chaffing on the first date. Especially not for a slow build (see point #1).
5. For those that are worthy of the slow build, remember you need to keep going when it gets tough. Just like a long ultra race when your feet are about to explode and everything inside of you tells you to quit. Don't do it. Remember all that base training you put in.
6. Your true friends crew you. They are your biggest supporters. Enough said.
7. In the most memorable training adventure runs and ultra races, chaffing is in the worst of places. In the best relationships, chaffing may also occur. (Perhaps in similar areas).
8. In a long term relationship, you are guaranteed to hit 2-3 major low points. You will want to quit and walk away. In a 100 miler, remember you are likely to hit 2-3 major low points as well. Don't quit. Push through. Keep shuffling.
9. We can always learn lessons from our previous relationships. We can also always learn lessons from previous races. Usually the worst relationships / races will teach us the most lessons.
10. Dating is exhausting. So is running an ultra.
And for the non runners reading this, we recommend not messing around with those that run ultras for fun.
To listen and learn more: