Ultra running for me has always been more about mindset than pure physical toughness. In the run up to Endure24 a couple of years ago I spoke to several people for inspiration and information.

Endure24 is an event that most people do in teams, but a couple of hundred runners opt for the solo option.

24 hours running around a 5 mile woodland loop, as many times as you can.

One of the people I turned to for advice was 33Shake creator and ultra-running guru Warren Pole.

He said a lot of stuff, but 2 things stuck in my mind in particular.

Don’t get cold

One was a quote he gave me from one of the world’s greatest trial runners Sebastian Chaigneau, who insightfully said “the best way to avoid getting cold is to not get cold”.

Stupidly simple, but I made sure I took note of this advice as my body began to have problems regulating core temperature after about 70 miles.

The mindset that kept me going

But it was the 2nd piece of advice that I believe got me through the 100 miles.

“If you keep getting out for the next lap, you’ll keep coming back”.

The only way to come back and complete a lap was to get out and get it started.

No matter how tired I was, if I wanted the next 5 miles under my belt, all I had to do was take those first few steps and then eventually I’d come back.

You want to achieve something?

Start it.

Simple as.

The real world respects done

I’d never knock the importance of thoughts & dreams, but the real world only respects DONE.

I thought of many things in that 24 hour period, but those words of Warren rang in my ears more than any others.

After 80 miles I took a break for a sausage sandwich.

It was around 7am and my friend Alex Bellini was with me for support through the night. 

He had walked with me on the previous lap and at one point asked if I was a dolphin.

A strange question and I must have looked confused because he explained that I had just fallen asleep for a few moments as I nearly veered off the trail.

I sat there in the catering tent contemplating my Cumberland bap nearly face planted into it as I began to nod off again.

Alex said to me “you either have to go out again now, or take a 20 minute nap, but you can’t just sit there like that”.

I shook myself, stood up and tried to rally my thoughts.  All I could think about was how vinegary the ketchup was.

Sleep wasn’t an option

I knew that sleep wasn’t an option.  

Not because I’m some kind of tough guy, but because I knew that my next sleep would be the sleep of the dead and I couldn’t risk that with just 20 miles to go.

As I wiped the grease from my fingers I remembered Warren’s words.

Just keep getting out for the next lap, and you’ll keep coming back.

Out I went, and back I came, recording my 5th fastest lap of the day.

The real world respects done.

Get up, get it started and you’re infinitely more likely to get it done than if you just sit there thinking about it.