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As an endurance runner, what and how i feel during a long run will never make it accurately into the books

by | Jun 27, 2023

This article was read 1364 times. Enjoy!

As an endurance runner, what and how I feel during a long run will never make it accurately into the books

The Ineffable Experience of an Endurance Runner

Endurance running is a unique and deeply personal endeavour that challenges both the mind and body. As a seasoned endurance runner, I have embarked on countless long runs, pushing my limits and exploring the boundaries of my physical and mental capabilities. While I can attempt to convey the essence of these experiences through words, I must admit that the true essence of what I feel during a long run will never make it accurately into the books.

Long-distance running is a symphony of sensations, an intricate dance between pain and exhilaration, solitude and camaraderie, determination and doubt. It is a journey that takes me through a spectrum of emotions, each step immersing me deeper into a world where time and space seem to converge. Allow me to delve into the vivid tapestry of my long runs, to paint a picture with words that may just capture a glimpse of this ineffable experience.

Starting: Anticipation and Nervous Energy

As I stand at the start of my run, my heart pounds with a mixture of anticipation and nervous energy. The air is thick with the smell of anticipation, a heady mix of adrenaline and possibility. Every cell in my body is awake, ready to embark on this arduous journey.

I take my first strides, and a sense of freedom washes over me. The initial discomfort of warming up gradually melts away as my body settles into a rhythm. The surroundings blur, and my focus turns inward. It is just me and the road ahead, a blank canvas waiting to be painted with every step.

The Battle Within: Pushing Limits and Mental Fortitude

As the miles unfold, my body begins to protest. Fatigue sets in, and my muscles ache with each footfall. It is during these moments that the battle within truly begins. Doubt creeps into my mind, questioning my ability to keep going. But it is in these moments that I tap into a wellspring of mental fortitude.

I remind myself of the countless hours of training, the early mornings and late nights spent pushing myself beyond what I thought possible. Each step becomes a testament to my resilience and determination. The pain becomes a companion, a reminder of the strength I possess. I draw inspiration from the runners around me, their unwavering spirits fueling my own resolve.

The Uphill Climb

One particular challenge that endurance runners often encounter is the uphill climb. As the road steepens and gravity tugs at my weary body, a cocktail of emotions floods my senses. There is a sense of defiance, a refusal to succumb to the demands of the terrain. Each uphill battle becomes a metaphor for life’s obstacles, and conquering it becomes a testament to my indomitable spirit.

With every stride, I summon every ounce of strength within me, driving my legs forward, conquering the incline one step at a time. The summit looms ahead, a beacon of accomplishment and relief. As I reach the top, a surge of euphoria washes over me, a momentary triumph that fuels my determination to face the challenges yet to come.

The Zen of Solitude: Connecting with Nature and Myself

Amidst the physical and mental exertion, there are moments of respite and clarity. As I settle into a steady pace, my surroundings become a source of solace. The rhythmic pounding of my feet on the pavement becomes a meditative mantra, grounding me in the present moment.

I become acutely aware of the world around me. The gentle rustle of leaves, the symphony of birdsong, the warmth of the sun on my skin—all these sensory details blend together to create a vivid tapestry. Nature becomes my companion, a silent witness to the highs and lows of my journey. In these moments, I feel a profound connection with the world and a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to experience it.

Running at Sunrise

One particular memory that stands out is a long run at sunrise. As the first rays of light kiss the horizon, painting the sky in hues of gold and pink, a sense of awe washes over me. The world awakens, and I am a part of it. The stillness of the morning, broken only by the sound of my breath and footfalls, is both humbling and invigorating.

With each stride, I feel a renewed energy coursing through my veins. The rising sun becomes a metaphor for the strength that resides within me, a reminder that every ending brings a new beginning. It is in these moments of solitude and connection that I find solace and inspiration to keep going.

The Finishing: Triumph, Exhaustion, and Reflection

As the finish line comes into view, a surge of emotions overwhelms me. Fatigue battles with exhilaration, and every step forward is a testament to my unwavering determination. I hear the cheers of imaginary spectators and the imaginary support of my friends propelling me forward, pushing me beyond my perceived limits.

Finishing is a moment of triumph, an affirmation of my endurance and resilience. But it is also a moment of exhaustion, where every muscle in my body screams for respite. I collapse into a mixture of relief and euphoria, basking in the knowledge that I have conquered the challenges that lay before me.

Yet, amidst the exhaustion, there is a sense of reflection. Long-distance running is not just about the physical feat; it is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Each long run leaves an indelible mark on my psyche, shaping me into a stronger, more resilient individual.


Attempting to capture the entirety of what I feel during a long run in words is an exercise in futility. The nuances, the highs and lows, and the sheer magnitude of the experience cannot be encapsulated fully. Long-distance running is a deeply personal endeavour, one that transcends the boundaries of language and defies simple description.

However, through these words, I hope to have provided a glimpse into the multifaceted world of an endurance runner. From the anticipation at the start line to the triumph and exhaustion at the finish, every step is a testament to the human spirit and our innate capacity for resilience.

Long-distance running is a journey that challenges and rewards in equal measure. It is an ongoing dialogue between the body and mind, a dance of determination and self-discovery. And while the true essence of what I feel during a long run may never be accurately conveyed in books, it lives on in the hearts and minds of every endurance runner who embarks on this extraordinary adventure.

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.