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Psychology of Ultrarunners

There’s a reason why runners enjoy running, training, and pushing hard, runners are slightly different psychologically, which is a good thing. On the other hand, ultrarunners are a bit different. According to recent data and research, it shows that ultrarunners operate a bit differently in both mostly positive and a bit negative ways. Due to today’s different lifestyle, more work life stress and pressure, increase time of sitting and not moving, more screen time, so all of this increased the percentage of ultrarunners and races in the last decade. Runners need more mental and physical challenges, and ultrarunners enjoy even more psychological challenges.  Positive Psychological and Mental Strength Ultramarathons require a unique set of skills to make it to the finish line. Of course, physical skills are necessary, but ultra-races require specific psychological skills. Several psychological traits of ultrarunners include personality, moods, pain tolerance, motivation and addiction. Compared to general population, ultrarunners tend to be more open, experience-seeking, neurotic, competitive, goal oriented, committed to running, but surprisingly, less win-oriented. Due to the lifestyle changes in the last decade, people running ultras now are different than those who ran ultras decades ago. Ultrarunners are looking to achieve personal goals, feel a sense of achievement, finishing the race, maintaining persistence and toughness. Ultrarunners have the ability to tolerate more pain.  Ultrarunners have to be very strong mentally and psychologically. To run such long distances will require super strong mental health. Running an Ultra race can cause confusion, delusion, moods of fatigue and tension, which can last for a few weeks after an ultramarathon. Ultrarunners have to be mentally strong to sustain these side effects. To keep running, not give up, and tolerate the pain and fatigue, runners have to be super strong and positive mentally. Negative Psychological and Mental Traits On the other hand, some ultrarunners have exercise addiction issues, eating disorders, running drug addiction, highly competitive. Unfortunately, negative psychological ultrarunners tend to have to quit and give up ultrarunning due to the high intensity, higher stress levels, and lack of positivity, which affects the overall health, performance and longevity. Elite runners tend to be more affected by mental negativity, due to the high pressure of races and competition, similar to any other type of elite athletes. Positive ultrarunners tend to run much later in life, negative ultrarunners tend to retire earlier from ultras.  Enjoy Running Ultras Whether positive or a bit negative, it seems like ultrarunners are quite different than normal runners. Ultra-races are hard, tough and challenging, in order to be motivated to train and run ultras, runners need to be quite different than the normal population. To be part of the nice ultra-community, ultrarunners seem to have higher levels of dedication, positivity, commitment and pain tolerance, ultrarunners receive many psychological and physical benefits from participating in that type of sport. 

Be Strong, Be Happy & Run, Run, Run!


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