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Become An Ultra Runner: The First Step

Become An Ultra Runner The First Step


I have a quick story to share that will frame the main point I’ll make about becoming an ultra runner.

This story starts long before my first ultra marathon, long before I’d run 50 and 100 miles.

I worked in a restaurant on a Forbes 5-star property, the big leagues of service and hospitality. I’d just gotten fired from a job cleaning residential windows (blessing in disguise, my friend) and knew someone who worked at said luxury property.

I applied to be a server and was thankfully offered a job as a food runner; I hadn’t waited tables before. My 100-mile-mindset was already being framed; this ‘downgrade’ to food runner and getting fired from cleaning windows were huge opportunities in disguise.

The role ‘food runner’ played in running 100 miles came down to one word: Imitation.

Imitation was my key to success, and the greatest lesson I learned my first few months dropping off food at tables.

You see, it was never my intention to stay a food runner; I wanted to make the big bucks and lead from the front. So, rather than sulking in defeat at my new, less glamorous position, I asked myself one question.

This is the question you have to ask yourself if you want to become an ultra runner.

“What am I?”

I was a server at a Forbes 5-Star property, even if I wasn’t yet.

Determine your place and role; DO NOT interpret your current place and role.

You might be a broke food runner, or a struggling business owner, or 50 pounds overweight. Maybe you’re sick, unprivileged, impoverished, or oppressed.

But “What are you?”

A server? How about a wealthy entrepreneur? An ultra runner?


Imitation In Action

Pull out a piece of paper. Not an iPhone. A physical piece of paper. Grab a pen, too.

Write it down. Fill in the blank with that which you desire to become.

“I am _____________________. This is what I am.”

For example, “I am an ultra runner. This is what I am.”

Now, write down five habits of this person. What does a server at a 5 Star property, a wealthy entrepreneur, a sponsored athlete, or an ultra runner do?

List 5 quantifiable daily actions done by the person who has reached your goal, who is what you are.

This list must be comprised of actionable and quantifiable habits. For example, being tough is not an action. Similarly, sleeping more is not quantifiable. Listing Never giving up or Working hard or running more will lead to failure.  


What am I and what does this person do?

Now, make another list of three to five items: “What habits do I practice now that are detrimental to becoming this person?”

Imagine this person standing tall at the height of accomplishment; challenges are opportunities, fulfillment is found in the process, and the end result is more rewarding than imagined.

What habits, or daily actions, prevent you from becoming this person, from standing at this height of accomplishment?

Social media addiction? A toxic relationship? Staying up late unnecessarily? Overindulging?

Write down five of these retreats into comfort, the great lie.

Look at the paper in front of you.

This is the first step to become an ultra runner.

Now, Become An Ultra Runner

Your goal, that which you will become, is in your hand. It may be far off, down a Wicked Trail. You’ll run up rocky ridges and through driving rain, but you have the path written down in your hand. You have five actionable habits of this person, and you know three to five habits that are detrimental to becoming this person.

Now you can truly reflect: Is this what I want to become?

Am I willing to rid my life of those three to five things that are detrimental to my fulfillment? Am I willing to employ five habits every single day to become what I desire?

This simple exercise, this first step to become an ultra runner, is effective outside of endurance sports as well.

Careers, relationships, finances, business ventures, health and wellness: what are you?

This week, take one item from each list and employ them in your life. Just one from each column. Stretch every evening for thirty minutes. Do not drink coffee.

Next week add another: physical training upon waking and no alcohol during the week.

And so on, until you employ five habits of a successful person and have eliminated five blockades to success. This is the practice of success. Success, after all, is a skill.

Ask yourself again: What am I?

“I’m someone who practices these five things and someone who does not participate in these five things. I am an ultra marathon runner.”

The first step to become an ultra runner is to identify yourself as such, and create an existence within the shoes of an ultra runner.


Next, check Out HOW TO RUN 100 MILES; this dives into the actions to take after you’ve identified yourself as an ultra runner.

Welcome to the Wicked Trail.

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2 thoughts on “Become An Ultra Runner: The First Step

  1. Nice catch. I’m going to leave it the way it is due to your interesting observation of the possible play on words, so thanks for bringing it up. You’re right that the “Imitation” really is an “Initiation” of who you are going to become.

    Thanks for dropping a comment!


  2. Nice post. (
    You paragraph heading “imitiation” seems to be a typo of “imitation”, however. I do think that it’s a nice melding of initiation, as in starting down the wicked path, and the imitation you mention of who you want to be.

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