When an athlete does ultra running – or takes part in the Tour De France, does he not know about the pain that event will cause? of course he does.

Then why does he do it?

Well it is like meditation. When you start doing meditation for the first time, it becomes very difficult to control the mind. Not impossible, but difficult. Various thoughts appear. You then remember what your guru told you – let the thoughts come and go, just do not process them. Then you feel sleepy.

Now fighting with thoughts is not possible, so you need to ignore it. However if you ignore sleep, you will go to sleep. So sleep has to be tackled in a different way – you need to wash your face, go for a small walk and then come again.

Similar is the case with training for an ultra event. An ultra event is when you run say 50km in say 5 hours.

You will find pain in the body, then you will find hunger, thirst,…

The body learns to conquer all this – just like meditation. Then once you have conquered hunger, quenched thirst and embraced being tired……you win.

So the ultra runner/ cyclist is doing a meditation – of the physical kind. I guess both types of meditation need a certain level of madness to be at the top.

Only good thing is: both are possible to do.

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  1. Vow, this post helps! But I have a lingering doubt that ignoring the pain in the body can also lead to injuries and can have a long lasting effect.

    How to do away with this mindset and totally accept that the body is capable to conquer all the pain?

  2. hey Ranjan,

    ignore a headache, nothing will happen. That does not mean you can ignore a pain in the chest – it may lead to a heart attack! Learning which pain to ignore, on what to worry, etc. is of course imp. For eg I am just back from a 26k run/walk. Sure my thighs are screaming..but I need to ignore it till Tuesday….by wed it will be fine..Rest is sufficient, right?

  3. Damn, you came back from a 26kms walk/run? That’s quite mad to me. I have been hearing guys in their 20s and 30s whining for a 2kms jog. Good for you.

  4. Sir
    You are my lighthouse
    Sitting far away in dark…not knowing me….yet directing me
    Warning & guiding me & many like me …..
    Thank you

  5. I for one consider high endurance events (anything more than possibly a marathon distance) and extreme exercising unnatural. Given regular moderate exercise is good for our health, for the average human being, these kind of ultras “may” bring its own risk.

    So why do we do it? It is again what we see from friends and neighbours. Agreed India is in a running/cycling frenzy now ;It is a good thing to be “moderate” but willingly taking on all this hardship? I don’t see how different it is from our own religious firewalking or sleeping on nail beds.

  6. i used to be into the ultra/long distance running/cycling too. it just is unnatural for city dwellers to indulge in this.we are not tarahumara .i’ve to agree with phantom -most of us are not fit enough to do this without hurting ourselves. moderate exercise will serve us better.a good and intelligent diet is the key to city life.

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