Long distance running wears out your body, but the real battle happens in your mind. Here’s the mental trick an ultramarathoner used to push through the most difficult moments of running 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days.
Dean Karnazes, the author of The Road to Sparta and Ultramarathon Man, knows a thing or two about running. Not only has he completed a marathon in every single U.S. state, he once ran 350 miles in three days without sleeping. Here’s how he pushes through the toughest moments:
When I’m running, I don’t think about anything but the present moment of time. All I try to do is put one foot in front of the other to the best of my ability. I just say to myself, “Take your next step, take your next step, take your next step.” I don’t think about anything beyond that. It’s almost a Zen-like trance state. If you get yourself there, you’re able to push through a lot. It does require tremendous mental discipline since it’s not easy to get your head in that place.
It might sound simple, but that’s the point. Perseverance and going the distance—whether you’re running great distances or pursuing some other goal—is about focusing on that next step, and only that next step.