Learn how top trail ultrarunners battle through the rough patches on a regular basis.
Hard runs happen. And out on the trails, hard moments can pop up in the middle of what might be an otherwise sublime run. No matter how beautiful the day or epic the scenery, everyone is prone to down moments, even professional trail runners. But the pros have also developed the mental toughness to keep on running. Whether you are faced with a hard climb, suddenly lose interest on a long training run or are in the middle of a race, having a can-do mantra or energizing philosophy built into your mindset can help keep you rolling. Scroll through the photos below to see how these top trail ultrarunners battle through the rough patches on a regular basis.
Jared Campbell, 34, Salt Lake City, Utah
Campbell is a two-time finisher of the almost-impossible-to-finish Barkley Marathons in Tennessee and 2010 winner of the Hardrock 100 and has run in more than 40 ultra-distance events. "I have more of a mindset than a mantra. I’m an optimist. I think you can extract something positive from every experience in life. I pause in every situation and try to think of the positives. For example, in the Barkley Marathons, instead of thinking it was terrible that I was running in the snow, the positive was that I saw my footprints from the previous lap and knew I was on-course." Photo: Courtesy of La Sportiva
Krissy Moehl, 36, Boulder, Colo.
Moehl was the winner of the Patagonian International Marathon and Ultra-Trail du Mont Fuji in 2013 and also set the Fastest Known Time for the 95-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier in Washington with Darcy Africa last year. "I always say 'there are not a lot of issues in life that a long run can’t solve, just sometimes the run has to be longer.' Another thought that fills my mind on long runs is, 'what do I need to do to keep moving forward?' It is the basic needs that take precedence and need to be addressed. Photo: Fredrik Marmsater
Ellie Greenwood, 35, North Vancouver, BC
Ellie Greenwood won the 2014 Chuckanut 50K and 2012 Western States 100 and has more than 40 podium finishes to her credit in ultra-distance races. "I don't have one specific mantra, but if things get tough on a training run then I tend to just focus on why I am doing it. I’m usually working towards a race goal, and racing well is really important to me. The thought that I will only race well if I get the training in usually keeps me going through the tough spots." Photo: CompetitionImaging.com
Timothy Olson, 30, Ashland, Ore.
Olson won the 2012 Western States 100 in a record-setting time and repeated his victory last year. He also won the Montrail Ultra Cup series in 2012. "I normally have a few things go through my head during races. I think of my son and his new dance moves, I think of my wife, family and friends cheering for me. I also say mantras that remind me to live in the present moment. One I repeat from Thich Nhat Hanh is, 'I have arrived. I am home. In the here. In the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell.' My philosophy is to live in the present moment and accept whatever life brings me, it's my choice to work hard and strive to be the best I can be in whatever I do."
Brandy Erholtz 36, Evergreen, Colo.
Erholtz was the first-place finisher at the 2014 Gorge Falls 50K in Oregon, placed third at the 2014 Moab Red Hot 33K and is a five-time member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team. “I do a lot of mountain running and think about strong and steady on the up, fast and relaxed on the down. If I'm on a really big climb, I think of the little engine that could, ‘I think I can, I think I can.’ And, I also like the Bible verses, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’ and ‘Be strong and courageous.’” Photo: Courtesy of New Balance