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The Ultra Mindset for #careerlions

The Ultra Mindset for #careerlions

I clearly remember my facial expression when I heard about Ultra running. These intense endurance races that frankly still sound impossible. How does one survive such a race? When I dance on stage for one minute the thought of collapsing on stage probably crosses my mind about 100 times already! Don’t even start about that time Liona and I participated in the Nike Women 10K race in Amsterdam with our friends. I think I was ready to quite from kilometer 4, rethinking the whole think every 10m. There’s even more than just exercise to project this on.Also, forget about just exercise. Sometimes you just want to give up on something in life when you realize you got yourself into way more than you can handle. However, there are people that aren’t giving up! This demands some research into what these people are doing that I myself am in the dark about. I suppose many #careerlions out there might be unaware as well. No worries, cause I’m sharing my findings on the Ultra Mindset.

Ultra Endurance

For those still unfamiliar with Ultra Endurance racing:

Googling I could not find a specific definition of Ultra racing. There is definitely some debate. However, I think it is safe to say that the distance should well exceed 42km, it takes over six hours and there is the mindset strength that is crucial in ever completing one of these. You might have heard about endurance races like Ultra running and Ironman. Where Ironman is a triathlon, including biking and swimming as well. Both requiring both physical and mental preparation that seem unimaginable for someone like me.


According to Travis Macy, who is an endurance champion and author of The Ultra Mindset book, it is all about commitment. Committing to finishing whatever your goal is, so that you remove the option of giving up and failing. It doesn’t matter how you feel, the most important thing is what you DO.

Think About Your Thinking

Another very interesting tip is to think about our thinking. When we want to get energized, motivated or restricted from temptation, we should be thinking of our goals in why terms. When you are going through something difficult or something takes a long time, we should be thinking about our goals in what terms rather than why. You will start questioning your goals when things get rough otherwise, you should just get on and make your goal reality by that point.

I guess this is where I personally fail. Whenever I get hungry trying to diet, I start to ask myself why. The fact that my trousers are getting tight and I try to avoid any mirror accentuating this then no longer comes to mind. Why would one honestly pass a fabulous piece of cake? Why would one possibly swear off second portions of pasta? Well, what I should DO is stay hungry apparently.

Make the Choice to Give Up Choice

The most important principle is “to make a prior commitment to yourself, so that you make the choice to give up choice”. Macy calls this the 4:30 AM rule, where you have to get up even though you would like to snooze (for hours in my case) just because you made a commitment.

Honestly, now reading this I do see the point. Whenever I have an early flight to catch or crucial appointment in the morning, I manage to get up. Till now anyways, of course I am now jinxing myself! When I tell myself, I will try to get up early in the morning. I get out of bed even later than normal. I didn’t expect to get up early going to bed, when I wasn’t in a purple minion state. Imagine the monstrous Ashley when that alarm goes off at 4:30 and there isn’t even an actual need to get out of bed at that specific time.

Create Manageable Chunks

As Macy so gently puts it, when you just ran 60km you sure don’t feel like running another 40km. Also, you sure don’t want to think about the next 40km while running them. A bit of a consolation that even the fittest people out there are facing these difficulties. A much better way to keep going is to break out the road to your goal in manageable chunks. For instance, getting to the next aid station.

In my case and I imagine many of you readers out there, we could be thinking about getting to Friday. Making it through this one week and achievement that lead up to your end goal. A massive deadline planned a few months away for example. At the office, we work with Scrum. We plan and work in two-week sprints, but I even try to break those down into smaller elements. The days that we prepare for the next sprints, the days we solve current issues and bugs as well as those where we test the new developments. The next chunk is getting everything ready and survive all the upcoming business trips to go on holiday with Liona!

Never Quit, Except When You Should

Macy states that one should never quit something that is important to you and your purpose. However, do quit if it is something that you are doing with your life that you don’t want to do. Don’t let fear trap you into doing stuff that you don’t want to do.

There are quite some things in live that I do not fancy doing, but have to do like the rest of us. Like cleaning the house until we finally arrange to have a cleaner over. However, if there is one thing that life has taught me, it is that life can be short or long. You basically never know. It could be over before you know it, but we shouldn’t keep only our short-term goggles on as we could well become 90 with the continuously improving medicine out there too. Therefore, I try to do the things that I love while choosing to do those things with future prospects without quitting when the boring and hard stuff comes along.

I have got some work to do; rethinking my thinking from why to what and making the choice to give up choice. Would that be all that is necessary to become an Ultra contestant? I am sure that with all of my injuries I should probably stay put. For now, I’ll stick to the Ultra Mindset to achieve my goals. What tips and tricks discussed here will you try to adapt? Or do you have any other tips for us? Any other Ultra races we should be investigating to distill best practices? Share it below as usual.

Learn like a World Champion

Learn like a World Champion

Read like Speedy Gonzalez

Read like Speedy Gonzalez