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The Extra Mile is a Lonely Place

by | Jun 14, 2023

This article was read 1390 times. Enjoy!

From an Endurance Runner’s Perspective: The Extra Mile is a Lonely Place

Exploring the Solitude and Challenges Faced in the Extra Mile

As an experienced endurance runner, I have come to appreciate the transformative power of pushing beyond one’s limits. The extra mile, however, is a unique and solitary realm that only those who have ventured there can truly understand. In this article, I aim to provide a detailed and engaging account of the extraordinary journey that takes place in the extra mile. Strap on your virtual running shoes and join me as we delve into the physical and mental challenges, the triumphs, and the hidden rewards that lie within this uncharted territory.

The Physical Demands: A Test of True Grit

The physical demands encountered in the extra mile are unlike anything experienced in shorter distances. It is a realm that exposes the limits of human endurance and pushes the body to its breaking point. Muscles burn, lungs gasp for air, and every step becomes an act of sheer determination.

Take, for example, the gruelling experience of running an ultramarathon—a race that extends well beyond the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles. During these events, endurance runners are pushed to their physical limits, battling exhaustion, dehydration, and muscle fatigue. The body becomes a battleground, where sheer willpower and mental fortitude are the only weapons against the pain and fatigue.

In the extra mile, the body’s ability to adapt and overcome is truly put to the test. It is a place where ordinary runners become extraordinary athletes, tapping into reserves of strength they never knew they possessed. Each step becomes a testament to the power of human resilience and the incredible potential of the human body.

The Mental Struggles: Conquering the Inner Demons

Endurance running is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. When faced with the solitude of the extra mile, the mind becomes a battleground of its own. Doubt, fear, and fatigue creep in, threatening to derail even the most determined runner.

Imagine running for hours on end, with nothing but your own thoughts for company. The monotony of the repetitive motion can wear down even the strongest resolve. Thoughts of quitting may surface, whispering temptations of relief and respite. This is when mental strength becomes paramount.

Endurance runners develop a remarkable ability to silence the inner critic and cultivate a positive mindset. They learn to embrace the discomfort and turn it into fuel for their determination. Strategies such as visualization, positive self-talk, and focusing on small milestones help combat the mental struggles that arise in the extra mile.

For instance, during an ultramarathon, when fatigue sets in and doubts start to creep up, I often visualize myself crossing the finish line, basking in the sense of accomplishment. This mental image serves as a powerful motivator, propelling me forward when my body begs me to stop.

The Hidden Rewards: Discovering Strength and Resilience

While the extra mile may be a lonely place, it is also where runners discover their true strength and resilience. It is a realm of self-discovery, where limitations are shattered, and new horizons are revealed. The challenges faced in the extra mile become stepping stones to personal growth and transformation.

Consider the example of training for a marathon. The journey from a novice runner to crossing the marathon finish line is an arduous one. Yet, every gruelling training session, every painful step, and every extra mile run is a testament to the runner’s unwavering commitment and unwavering dedication.

Through the challenges faced in the extra mile, runners not only build physical endurance but also develop mental fortitude and emotional resilience. They learn to persevere in the face of adversity, embrace discomfort, and push beyond self-imposed limits. The rewards of this arduous journey extend far beyond the finish line, permeating every aspect of life.

The Importance of Embracing the Extra Mile

While the extra mile may be daunting, it is a space that holds immense value for every endurance runner. It is a space where growth happens, where personal records are shattered, and where the boundaries of what is possible are expanded.

So, fellow runners, I encourage you to embrace the extra mile. Step outside your comfort zone and venture into the unknown. Discover the depths of your physical and mental capabilities. Embrace the solitude and find solace in the rhythm of your footsteps. For in the extra mile, you will find not only a lonely place but also a place of tremendous personal growth, empowerment, and accomplishment.


The extra mile is not just a physical distance; it is a state of mind. It is a place where endurance runners face physical and mental challenges that test their limits. By pushing through the solitude and embracing the struggles, runners discover hidden reserves of strength and resilience within themselves. The extra mile becomes a transformative journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and triumph over adversity. So, lace up your running shoes, embrace the loneliness, and embark on the extraordinary journey that awaits you in the extra mile.

Patrick Michel

Endurance Runner – Marketing Strategist

Patrick Michel is a Montreal-based endurance runner specializing in long-distance multi-stage charity ultra runs. For almost two decades, he has inspired many to engage in running, get fit and grow stronger physically and mentally. He has also written many articles about running.