10 månader mot 10 mil - my experience

Watching live sendings from large ultra events like UTMB is very inspiring and makes us want to get out there and hit the trails. The good news is that...

27 augusti, 2022 |

Watching live sendings from large ultra events like UTMB is very inspiring and makes us want to get out there and hit the trails. The good news is that we can get out there, even if we are not professional elite runners. It is, however, not that simple. Ultrarunning seems to be like a big puzzle and the challenge relies on learning which pieces are the right ones for yourself. In a way, it’s like being handed a box containing a 1000 puzzle pieces, knowing that you only need 100 for your puzzle.

Which ones are the right ones? Where should I start?

In a world full of information, it can be very overwhelming to search for the right one, which was exactly how I felt when I decided to set foot in the ultrarunning world. I had been a self-taught runner for over a decade, learning by reading, listening to others, testing on myself, and making mistakes. The journey itself was a lot of fun but going into ultrarunning felt bigger and a much larger challenge, where small mistakes come at much higher prices.

If only there was some kind of course with the basics. Maybe a program that instead of trying to hand you a ready to go solution, would teach you the necessary skills and provide the right tools, so that you figure out your own pieces of the puzzle.

Ultravasan 90km finisher, after completing the ultrarunning program "10 månader mot 10 mil"

It happens that such course does exist! It is an online course called "10 månader mot 10 mil" or "10 months to 10 (swedish) miles”, which is 100km, by Pace on Earth. This is, as far as I know, a unique ultrarunning program, that we are lucky enough to have here in Sweden.

This is no ordinary coaching program and many of its alumni have called it life changing. I became very curious about it and signed up in October last year, with the goal of running Ultravasan 90km this year. Now I have gone through the 10 months of the program and successfully ran the 90km between Sälen and Mora, and I'm here to tell you about my experience with “10 månader mot 10 mil”.

The result

The program "10 månader mot 10 mil" WAS life changing for me and the person who signed up is not the same one that stood in the start field of Ultravasan. I was nervous, of course, but for the first time ever, I was also confident that I had what was needed and I felt ready for the challenge.

I have also changed my approach to training in general and the place it takes in my life. Training is now a natural and positive part of my day, not a demand anymore. A lot of what I learned is applicable to life as well and I now face the everyday challenges in a more mindful way.

Exercising near the lake. I made training something I like and enjoy, sometimes by taking it outdoor to my favorite places.

The monthly package

The material is delivered at the beginning of every month by email and it was always very exciting to open it. A little bit like Christmas morning when I was a kid.

The material included a training plan with running, strength and technical sessions, and links to valuable articles and exclusive podcast episodes, within the theme of the month. Each month we were fed with worthful tips on mental training, nutrition, equipment, among others. You know, the pieces of the puzzle! Besides performing the given training, our job as participants was to learn and experiment with the different options and figure out what worked best.

The communication

The coaches behind the program are Ellen Westfelt, Jënni Jalonen och Johnny Hällneby. They are very experienced ultrarunners and born communicators. (You can see that for yourself by listening to their podcast Pace on Earth here). They were available to answer questions during the program and were active members of a Facebook group created for all participants.

A new Facebook group is created for every start of the program and to have a platform of easy access to my fellow participants was definitely an advantage. We could ask questions, motivate each other, and celebrate our achievements together! That made us feel a part of something bigger, even though many of us were training alone, day in day out.

Ultravasan was the goal race for many of us in the program. To be able to recognize each other during the race we wore blue and yellow ribbons on our backpacks.

Flexibility

I have not met every participant in the program, but I dare to say that there aren't two equal participants. We come from different backgrounds, have a different amount of time to train, like different things and have different goals. Still, a large group of people could share a 10 month journey together, because we were learning a method not a recipe, and the ground rules apply the same way for all. We just needed to tweak the details.

I know that now, but I didn't know that before. Anyone can be an ultra runner.

Accommodates life

Did I do every single session that was in my plan? Hell no! Schedules gets busy, kids get sick, and bodies get tired. Life happens and that is ok. I enjoyed that the program took the fact that we are humans into account and taught us how to adapt our training to the current situation, without stress.

Train, experiment, learn

I've spent quite some time thinking what would I change in the program and I can't think of anything. All the pieces of the puzzle are there and it's up to each participant to make it work. Pace on Earth provides the tools, and the participant only has to do the job. Did everything I read or tried work for me? No, but now I know that, because I've tried it. Every month I read about a different theme and experimented with it. I learned what food works best for me before a long session, which socks are more comfortable and that at times my mind is more stubborn than me. These may seem like details, but they are the small pieces that make up the whole puzzle of ultra running.

Ultrarunning brings you to unexpected places – literally and metaphorically. Here is an amazing viewpoint over the Douro Valley in Portugal, that we found while training there, even though it wasn't on the map.

I was not new to running, but I felt very new to ultrarunning. It might not look like it at first, but these are two quite different sports. Although, I'm still a Newbie in ultrarunning, I have really learned a lot in the past year and I'm eager to continue my journey and to learning more.

If you are curious about ultrarunning, I strongly recommend that you look up “10 månader mot 10 mil”. To be new at something is both exciting and challenging, but it doesn't have to be scary or overwhelming.

And as Pace on Earth's motto says: ultrarunning is like life, there are no limits to what's possible.

 

Curious about the author? Follow Sara on instagram @ultra_newbie_sara

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