On My Way To An Ultra Marathon
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On My Way To An Ultra Marathon

On My Way To An Ultra Marathon

New goals come into my life in the most interesting ways. Take for example my experience with running. I never really saw myself as a runner – running was always a means to an end (losing weight, getting in shape, staying fit, etc.). My greatest running accomplishment was the San Francisco half marathon. After that run I was so finished that I never take part in another running event again. Nonetheless, a few months ago I signed up for my first ultra marathon.

So how did that happen?

My brother-in-law successfully completed the Ironman, and he asked me to accompany him on the mountain marathon, part of the Swissman, an extreme triathlon in the Swiss Alps. Me, a non-runner. That was a huge show of trust on his part, and it also presented me with a major personal challenge. It was his enthusiasm in reaching his goal that lit a spark in me…a spark that grew into a fire. The flame in my heart is still burning a few years later…it’s lead me to wonderful places and has provided me with some wonderful and truly unforgettable moments.

What were my first steps to the Ultra Marathon?

My first steps were small…really small. I was not only pretty out of shape, I was also under a lot of pressure at work at the time. As there was no way that I was going to let my brother-in-law down, it was clear to me that my training plan would have to be consistently manageable, and big organizational changes in terms of my everyday life would not be possible.

Concretely, I committed to going jogging twice every week for 20 minutes. It was the plan to do that for the next three weeks, and after that I would check my motivation level and decide on how best to keep moving forward. Compared to the 54 kilometers and more than 2000 vertical meters that were just around the corner, my training seemed pretty minuscule. It was my idea that an ultra marathon is basically about endurance, and so the training should work in the same way:

Get going and keep going. The rest would just fall into place.

A few months before that, I was attending the IMD Business School – there I learned that the rate of carrying through with intentions was higher if one records progress made and has to actively report to someone. By the way, finding out about this effect was one of the main reasons that I started with the development of Goalify. Inspiration for new goals really does come in the most surprising ways.

Unfortunately Goalify and it’s group features did not exist a the time, so I promised to keep my brother-in-law informed about my training via text messages. The SMS I sent after every training run was more than just a great way it stay motivated – it also had another positive effect, in that I never really felt alone when training.

Here are some things I learned:

  • Regardless how large the goal might be, just try to start out as small as possible.
  • It’s easier if one has someone to share successes with.
  • Record your goals and your progress in a concrete way.

I’ll be letting you know all about how everything went – what happened with training and other experiences – in the coming weeks so stay tuned and find out how I prepared for the marathon. You’ll also get a lot of tips and tricks for sticking with big goals. Maybe you also have some hints for me? Are you also working on a big goal? Share your experiences, either here in the comments or via e-mail!

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