I recently signed up to do my first ultra marathon – a 50-mile trail race called The North Face Endurance Challenge. I’ve done regular marathons, but this is a totally new animal. New gear, new training methods, new paces, new nutrition – new everything.
Arguably the best in the sport of ultra trail running is Kilian Jornet (pictured above). He’s won just about every major race in the sport, and he’s got really interesting views on running, challenging one’s self, and dealing with pressure.
A few years ago he was asked about dealing with pressure that comes with being the best, and he said, “Pressure, I think [is] something you should always feel, and that’s a good thing. But you must transform it into motivation, and it becomes a positive pressure.”
The answer is brilliant in its simplicity. Take something that we all struggle with and that most view as a negative, embrace it, and redirect it into something positive – drive.
Dealing with pressure
I think we could all benefit from that approach to dealing with pressure and the need to succeed. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by our goals and careers and accomplishments, and if we’re not vigilant, they end up becoming a drag. They become things we dread or regret not doing, rather than things we strive to realize.
Doing big things is important, but we need to keep ourselves in check and be sure that the end-result is a positive drive, rather than a consuming weight.
Photo: Damien Rosso OutsideOnline