How to Become an Ultrarunner

When you first discover the magical world of ultra running, your mind is flooded with an infinite amount of questions. You feel like you’ve pulled back the curtain to reveal a strange new universe and maybe you’re left wondering if you’re able to join this world. You absolutely can!  Below are some tips/tricks and advice from us on how to become an ultrarunner.

Tip #1

Volunteer at an ultramarathon. I cannot stress this tip enough. Ultramarathons are always in need of hands to help feed and provide aid to these magical ultra runners making their way along the course.  When you volunteer at an ultra, you’ll meet other ultra runners. These are your people! You’ll also get to see ultra runners in action. You’ll see what foods they eat, the gear they’re wearing and the different strategies involved in conquering the distance. This will help you on your path to learn how to become an ultrarunner.

Tip #2

Get on youtube and watch some ultra running documentaries. There is no limit to the different types of documentaries to watch. From these, you’ll find inspiration and most likely discover your first ‘dream race.’ Some of my favorites are Finding the Limit, Out There, An Almost Perfect Race.

Tip #3

Respect the distance and the terrain. Look, I’ll never tell anyone how to live their life. However, shooting for a 100 mile mountain ultra when you’ve only ever run road marathons with 0ft of elevation gain may not be setting you up for success.  Be sure that you’re training for the terrain of your first race accordingly.

Tip #4

Don’t discount the timed, loop course ultra marathon. They do not get the credit that they deserve. They allow you to hit ultra distances in a really controlled environment. Got a blister forming? Stop at your personal aid station and handle it. Don’t like the aid station food? Bring your own.  Above these points, you’ll get to chat with lots of ultra runners a long the course. You’ll find seasoned vets and newbies to chat with about ultra running. The best way to figure out how to become an ultrarunner is to talk to ultra runners!

Tip #5

Believe in yourself! Seriously, let all that self doubt shit go. Most ultra runners are just average folks with a little spark inside of them. If you’re looking into ultras, you have that magical spark too and you can conquer the distance.  I promise!

Bonus Tips

If you’re a book nerd like me, I highly encourage you to check out some of the fantastic books on ultrarunning that exist. Scott Jurek’s books are some of my favorites. My copy of Relentless Forward Progress has become totally dog-eared over the years.

My final tip is to understand your emotions.  I don’t see this talked about enough in ultrarunning but over the course of an ultramarathon, you’re apt to experience a wide range of emotions. I have gone from sobbing to laughing within minutes during an ultra. If you’re in touch with yourself enough to steady your emotions, it will help you as you figure out how to become an ultrarunner.

If you have questions on how to become an ultra runner, shoot me a text (773-633-8986) or email. I’m always happy to discuss running.


Curious Ultrarunner’s Secret Society was established to inject a sense of whimsy into training calendars, split times, and fartleks. Our goal is to build a community that creates a space for the individual to fall in love with the magic of running.

Mission: To help others fall in love with ultra running

Vision: To make you and the world slightly better through laughter & pain

Be sure to join the Facebook Group to get in on other upcoming running challenges.