Three Things I Learnt Running for Six Days
How running a 6-day ultramarathon changed my approach to running and life!
Embrace the Highs and the lows.
In any ultra-marathon, you're going to experience highs and lows. In the past, I had tried to, as many of us run consistently keeping my pacing and effort steady throughout the race. This would sometimes mean I would be holding myself back when I felt good or pushing myself too hard when I felt bad. In the six-day race, the lows were so intense and long-lasting that it would be impossible to maintain a consistent pace (unless your name is Yiannis Kouros), embracing the fact that I felt bad I was resigned to a walking pace for almost two whole days until almost out of nowhere I realized I could run again! Making the most of the highs allowed me to run almost 30 kilometres in 3 hours on the final day of the race after spending nearly a whole day to get 50 kilometres just a few days before.
Consistency Beats Intensity.
Now this one might be common knowledge to the older, more experienced runners out there, and it was something I had been told a million times over, but never really understood. Watching the leader board over the six days it was clear that, with little exception, the athletes who were leading were without a doubt the same ones who were spending the most time on the track, while some preferred to run intensely for several hours and rest, the successful athletes were the ones who spent the most time on the course, no matter the speed, a situation almost identical to that of the Hare and the Tortoise. The best advice I received was “If you can run, run, if you can’t run, walk and when you can’t walk, that’s when you rest” the value of consistency was no more evident than with the second-place finisher David Billet, walking the entire six-day race, putting in a huge number of hours at a slower pace than other competitors.
Efficiency is underrated.
I have always been very laid back with my ultra-preparation, never one to mind losing a few minutes at a checkpoint. But in a race of this length, the smallest things made such a huge difference throughout the race. If your sleeping area and belongings were five metres off the track, that could cost you hours throughout the race. Sleeping for 5 hours a night could mean that you were up to 60 kilometres behind someone who did everything else the same but slept for 4 hours, the little things contribute massively, and this is something that can be applied in shorter races too! Getting into the checkpoint and getting out ASAP can make a huge difference by the end of the race. This can be applied to life in general, making things as efficient as possible leaves us with more time to do what we love.
These are just some of the key takeaways from my experience running in the Adelaide 6-day Ultramarathon, it's impossible to describe everything that I experienced and took away from this challenge and it's something that I would recommend everybody do at least once in their life I was extremely excited to be the youngest person in the world this year to complete a six-day Ultramarathon where I ran 453 kilometres in the 144 hours of the race.