You cannot stop improving ! – The Ultrarunner

If you have read The Science of Getting rich from Wallace D. Wattles, it is mentioned in great depths that a human or all actually living species work towards being more evolved. Growing ! That can mean a lot of things, like growing in size, obtaining more riches, working towards more knowledge, or in case of sports, being better ! When I watch or read something, I try to interpret, form and implant useful information. I saw a documentary on Rich Froning a while ago and of course I enjoyed the Fittest on Earth films too.

One Froning sentence will never go away and I cannot state it properly as I don’t know where it was in the film. There is no time, that you cannot improve on some aspect of fitness, that will make you better. This can mean, that you have just finished a 100mile ultra distance race and you already can do stuff, to recover faster, become stronger, go to sleep better, to get your nervous system calmed down and be better. You might have to work on a special aspect of running fitness, but you are injured. Breathing routines with visualisation, overall mobility, core training, isometrics, nutrition science, mental fortitude, emotional stability, financial stability and much more, that can bring you a piece of mind and evolve you.

Then I saw the Fraser film and that brings professional training principles to a whole another level. I mean that pro-runners and ultra runners especially, do jack-all, nothing, zero, very little. There are 168 hours in a week and they train like 20. Triathletes are different as there is cycling involved and swimming too. If they did the complementary training what is kind of obligatory, they cover a lot of basics.

So how can we implement this knowledge, when preparing for an ultra, as a non professional athlete ? Simply, train all day ! You do not need special training time. You can be just ready ! Kelly Starrett calls this the ready state. Being ready all day long.
I found the one single training principle to understand, that makes the difference in-between being ready and injuring yourself. That is correct posture. Simple. Correct posture includes a gigantesque focus on core contraction, core stabilization, core mobility, breathing, but to achieve this, you need also good foot alignment and good hand positioning. Foot alignment and torque organises the body from toes to mid-spine and hand alignment organises the upper body from head to mid-spine.
If you’ve learnt this, every single isolation exercise will train your core and your breathing in the meantime. Read Master Your Core from Bohdanna Zazulak.

How does this look like? Simple. I have of course my run / walk / hike / athletics exercise routine as a runner. That is normal.
I however finish all training sessions with 5 to 10 minutes of strength and conditioning and a classic activ stretch down with the cord. Call it how you want it AIF or PNF, it is the Wharton’s type of flexibility.
Then I go on with my day. I call myself lucky to work for myself. I am running around a lot though. When I drop home, I do 1 minute routines here and there. That can be simply pushups, hola hoop circles, balance board drills, little time on the foam roller, a 2 minute couch stretch. When I am on the road and saw an outdoor gym on the beach, I stop for a minute, do 3 x 8 dips with 3 x 8 leg-raises. I got a rubber band with me. I can fix it up anywhere. I can do biceps and triceps and shoulder routines with it or have it aiding me when doing assisted pullups.
My focus is always on my core, posture and breathing. I want to be able to hold a correct posture during all of my runs. This is what make you stronger, to never break down. To have your upper and lower body correctly aligned. To be resilient. A squat or a pushup will never make you a better runner. Doesn’t transfer. However, when focused on the core, that means you just thought your body to stabilize and protect itself, yet in a new position. You can ad a half twist here and there, you can add in isometrics and much more. One push-up, you stop in the middle, hold it for 30 sec, squeezing your heels together, your buttcheeks, pulling your tail into your belly-button, getting that chi flowing. Core, Chi, Qi, Baraka, Haki, all the same. You got a bit more time, go through a 10min Wim Hof breath routine. Box-Breathing. O2 / CO2 diving tables and other freediving routines. 20 or 30 times 1 minute a day, add up and when doing this for years on end, you’ll see an enormous difference with no fatigue accumulated.
This doesn’t mean you cannot do a full on conditioning session, if wanted. This means that just because people have only 60 seconds, they do nothing, while it could be turned into a squat hold after each toilet break.

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