On paper The Spine, the 268 mile foot race across the Pennine Way should be the most boring sporting event of the year. It's long and the course isn't exactly spectator friendly (freezing cold and spread out runners aren't a perfect match).
Instead it's arguably one of the most exciting Ultra Races going with 1000's of dedicated dot watchers and Facebook commentators glued to their screens each January. So what gives?
Why do we all spend countless hours pouring over the progress of athletes that (for the most part) we don't know or least have never met? For me it's because I can relate or more accurately; imagine the hell those runners must be going through with each and every step, yet somehow manage to keep going. Step after step, checkpoint after checkpoint and that makes for some compelling dot watching.
We can't give you the secrets of running the Spine (though Jasmin's blog is great place to start) but we can share a few pointers for how to keep going on those tough runs.
How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time. The same is true when it comes to those seemingly impossible long runs, but don't think of it as one 20 miler instead break it down to manageable chunks. That could be thinking of it as "10 two milers" or if you don't want to use miles, use landmarks instead, just focus on one chunk at a time.
Chances are that even on your longest of long runs, you've either done that distance before or at the very least close to it. When you start to doubt if you can do this, remind yourself that you already have and you can do it again.
Ever been half way through a run; miserable, grumpy and getting increasingly frustrated only to realise that you were just carb depleted. I have more times, than I wish to recall, but one mini flapjack later and you'll be right as rain again. Make sure you always take something out with you, you might not need it but better safe than sorry.
Taking your mind away from your tired legs and aching feet and putting it onto something else, literally anything else is a great way to keep you going. It doesn't matter what you do, chat to other runners (or yourself), take in the scenery or listen to music/podcasts, just so long as it keeps you happy and moving.
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