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3 Reasons To Practice Fasted Running

Written By George Callahan

Jan 26, 2019

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Fasted Running: Welcome to the Wicked Trail

For thirteen miles, I felt invincible. During the final three miles, I wasn’t sure I’d finish. I felt like I did near the end of my first 100 mile race, of course with much less lower body-body pain. Ultra marathon replication. I smiled during those long, arduous final three miles; this is what I’d been looking for. The hurt.  

My Wall

I set out last weekend to do a fasted run of sixteen miles; I didn’t eat for twelve hours before and didn’t eat or drink water during the run. Where was my wall? At what point would fatigue overcome will? Could I Dismantle My Wall? How would my mind and body react after running for over two hours without food? This wasn’t an experiment of fat-loss or metabolism boosting. Rather, I sought mental stimulation through physical deterioration. Where would my mind go during the run, and how would the run affect it after? When I hit that wall, I was 13.3 miles in. Before this point, I had been clipping along at around 7:40 per mile, which is fast for me. I stopped just after mile thirteen and did a few light stretches. When I stood up from those stretches, it was like someone flipped the fatigue switch. My hands shook, my knees weak, and even my breathing felt labored. “This is it? This is nothing…” I’d been plenty tired before. “Let’s hammer out these last three miles and have some lunch!” None of those last three miles got ‘hammered out.’ Instead, I got hammered out. I stopped six times, walked up the slightest of inclines, and as the fatigue grew massive, I felt my mental state slipping. My physical state was long gone. And as I saw my pace slow to over 11 minutes per mile, I smiled. I was here. I wanted to see where the hurt lived, where my body would say No more! and I’d have to actively refocus my thoughts on running. Fasted running, this test of endurance through mental fatigue, is going to become a regular contributor to my ultra marathon training. Here are 3 Reasons to include Fasted Running in YOUR training…

 

Disclaimer:

Wicked Trail Running, LLC is not responsible for injury or death associated with practicing any of the training, exercise, or workout information posted anywhere on this site. Consult a physician before beginning any exercise program**

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1. Fasted Running: Ultra Marathon Replication

When I hit mile fourteen, I felt like I’d just run fifty.

It wasn’t the same foot, knee, and hip pain experienced late in an ultra marathon, but the fatigue and mental exhaustion screamed Slow down; quit!

I stopped multiple times in the last few miles of my fasted run and, as my mind slipped, had to talk to myself in order to realign my focus on finishing. Distracted by thoughts of just walking it in or resting for a few minutes, I could have DNF’d my sixteen mile run!

My mind wandered away; I walked up slight hills and checked my watch incessantly.

When will it end?”

I felt like an ultra marathon runner praying for the next aid station to peek through the trees. The social buzz, the picnic-style food, and the volunteers surely waited around the next bend…

I, however, wouldn’t find any of that.

All I wanted was my apartment, a peanut butter sandwich, and a tall glass of water.

Realigning your focus through massive fatigue and practicing the resistance of the ‘quit’ is essential to finding success in ultra marathon running. Maybe it won’t be apparent in your first race, or your second. But as you continue to venture down the Wicked Trail, there will come a time when your fatigue, mental exhaustion, and the voices whispering ‘quit’ create the perfect recipe for a DNF.

Be prepared. Know the effort your body and mind can put forward through that massive fatigue.

Every training session is a microcosm of your upcoming ultra marathon, whether you realize it or not. Even the easiest of runs and lightest of weight sessions have elements of the ultra marathon.

Fasted running is as close as you can get to the mental and physical fatigue. It all comes down to a discomfort mindset.

Fasted Running | Comfort Is A Lie

2. Fasted Running: Comfort Is A Lie

You can’t begin your day without a cup of coffee. Your sugar cravings are resolved by the vending machine. Your evenings are invested in a soft couch and large television. Any sign of physical ailment is met with medication.

You’ve dedicated your life to comfort.

An addiction to comfort creeps on slowly until it envelops a person. Others don’t notice it; the person enveloped in the lie sees nothing wrong. It is an emotional and mental death most can’t see.

There is a cure.

It’s not training harder or simply running faster. It’s not to sleep less and work more.

To draw comfort’s toxic grips out into the light, ask yourself one question: “What do I not want to do?”

“I do not want to do a fasted run tomorrow.”

I sure didn’t. It’s easy to excuse the fasted run as counter-productive, damaging, to your training cycle. You’re worried about the impact it will have on the rest of your workouts…

Comfort Is A Lie.

Training runs and your upcoming race or event: what is the end goal?

Six-pack abs and an Instagram photo shoot?

Or is it claiming control of your mind, your life? Is it venturing to explore challenge and using that venture to become that which you desire to become?

Yes, training harder and running faster and working more is uncomfortable, but these things are products of a discomfort mindset. There are building blocks that lay the foundation for a person to mentally be capable of training harder and running faster and working more. It’s doing what one does not want to do habitually that frames a discomfort mindset.

Fasted running is a dive into discomfort. Refine your mind, numb your ears to the voices screaming Quit! at mile 80 of whatever race you’re running in life.

Fasted Running | Go Farther So You Can Go Further

3. Fasted Running Primes Your Mind To Go Further

What else am I capable of?”

I couldn’t believe I ran 16 miles with no food or water; this was an accomplishment for me.

This accomplishment, however, wasn’t about that run: it was about all of the future races, training sessions, and workouts.

“What else am I capable of?”

I proved, for my own sake, I am capable of diving into discomfort and intentionally exposing myself to adversity; what comes next? How have I raised the bar? What will my next challenging training session look like?

I went Farther, fasted and fatigued. My mind went Further.

Go Farther, fasted and fatigued, in training sessions, sure, but also around the office and in your daily duties and chores.

Your mind will Go Further, it will grow and mold itself to discomfort and the opportunity found in challenge. One question will remain: “What else are YOU capable of?”

Welcome to the Wicked Trail

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