The adventure started the day you attempted your first run.
But we want more, right?
For years I’ve admired some of the big adventures I see on social media.
First is Take the Bridge, an underground, unsanctioned race in various cities across the world.
(Photo by Keith Montero, The Take the Bridge Instagram)
There’s always a bridge involved, and it’s an out and back, with no designated course - you need to figure out the route yourself. If you’re a local you might know some shortcuts. One shortcut was through a grocery store, I think.
Another adventure is The Speed Project. That’s a race from LA to Las Vegas - 340 miles - either as a relay team, or solo. The solo winners for 2021; David Kilgore in 113 hours, 11 minutes, and Jes Woods in 127 hours, 11 minutes.
Can you imagine that? Running over 110 hours over the course of a few days?
(Photo by Keith Montero, The Speed Project Instagram)
These people are fit. They’re fast. They’ve got the mental toughness, the ability, the training, the coaching, the gear, the right people around them supporting them.
So what’s The Soft Run approach to adventures? How do we ever rise to big challenges and great feats?
(A LITTLE) MORE RUNNING
When I started running back in 2016, I was very cautious - I didn’t want to over do anything, for fear of getting hurt.
Then one day I tried running on back-to-back days, without a (GASP) rest day in between! I was nervous, thinking I might over extend myself. But I went out there, took it easy, and I lived to tell the story.
Now, as a beginner runner, you don’t want to push too hard, too often. At all. You need to listen to your body, and pay attention to any discomfort or pain.
But a back-to-back run might be your first step towards adventure. Or running twice in a single day - maybe a slow mile in the morning, then do another easy run later in the evening.
The people running the Speed Project, they’d run a fast 10K, get on the bus, rest for a bit, then run another 10K again an hour or two later.
To be able to do that, you’ve got to start small, even if it’s just a singe mile with eight hours of rest in between.
Have you heard of the 3,000 mile race around a single block in Queens, NY? It’s the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race.
Find a small loop and see how many laps you can do in 30 minutes, or an hour. Walk if you have to! Loops are a grind, but you’ll be building mental toughness!
Before you can run a 3,000 mile loop race, or a 6 or a 12 hour loop race, you have to complete a 20 minute loop first. Let’s go!
See that tiny loop? When I’m driving I see that tiny paved circle and wonder what it’d be like to try and run that for 30 minutes, just to see how far I could go.
Skip trying to run up that popular hiking trail on a busy weekend, but maybe find an out of the way street or sidewalk to run up around the local campus. Or a backroad, with some ominous sounding name like “Mountain Road.”
There’s a road near me that is so steep that they don’t plow it during the winter. I ran up and down it five times recently, about 700’ of climbing. I walked when I couldn’t run, appreciated the view at the top, then ran back down.
Remember - you don’t need to run the entire climb for it to “count.”
“It’s okay to hike or walk in trail running. I didn’t know that was a thing in my first trail race and had to learn quickly or be left behind. I had to throw pace out the window and focus on effort. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the mountain, she will always win. You can’t brute force your way up, you have to work with the mountain and the terrain.” - Grayson Murphy in Women’s Running
Yes, she’s talking about trail running, but if you’re trying to run up a 12% grade on pavement, you’re absolutely allowed to walk.
If you’re not ready for a big 100 mile race (or a 10K), you can still mix in some adventures to your running right where you’re at. Take your time, stay healthy, and make sure you’re having fun.
SOFT RUN LINKS
Professional runner Allie Ostrander (Brooks) recently started treatment for an eating disorder, and posted a video sharing her story (watch it here). Super brave to share the experience while right in the middle of it.
Ultra distance cyclist Lael Wilcox talked to the Fever Talk podcast about sponsorships, and making a career for herself in a sport that really didn’t have much money flowing to begin with. She just wanted to ride, and that’s what she does now. Listen here.
I don’t usually run with music, but when I do it’s usually a mix of metal and catchy hard rock - not very SOFT RUN, right? So I recently ran to ‘No Traffic in La’ Sarah, The !llstrumentalist. Instead of using aggressive tunes to grind to the top of hills, I just sat with the good vibes. Something new for me, really. Listen on Apple Music / Spotify.