Why I Run Ultra Marathons – The Gamification of Ultra Running

Why I Run Ultra Marathons – The Gamification of Ultra Running

what is up motivation Theory family so I
want to talk about a topic that was not really a topic but a question that I get
often when I talk about ultra marathons and I think if you’ve run ultra
marathons or marathons you probably kind of get this question from people who
don’t run and that’s just simply the question why why do you do it why would
you put yourself through that pain and the boredom and everything else people
associate with kind of mindless running and I like to stick with some of the
easy answers it’s like I’m motivated I love running and it clears my mind and
while some of those things are true it probably doesn’t really get down to the
essence of why I would choose to run 50 miles or 100 miles and I think it comes
down to this concept and I’ve talked about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
you know on this channel before because again we special time specialize in
motivation here but I came across a term called intrinsic reinforcement so
basically what that is it’s kind of the gamification of ultramarathons that’s
what I’m calling it’s kind of gamifying the numbers aspect and the achievement
aspect of running ultras and I’m talking about myself and this could apply to
many of you who have kind of addictive personalities and what it is is that you
have a task and an achievement and then a pleasure from achieving that thing
which creates the dopamine so you guys have seen the tattoo that I have of
endorphins and it’s as part of all of that serotonin and dopamine and
endorphins it’s all part of running and why we do it I’m addicted to the
dopamine you get from finishing a race and looking at the numbers it’s exciting
to me it’s the only reason I can explain why I could be 40 miles into a 50 mile
race and this night I’m gonna stop running I
don’t ever do this again everything hurts and I don’t know why
I’m putting myself through this and this is through every single race there’s a
point in which I really question why I’m doing it and I have the same question
there and the only real thing I can kind of attach to that is the feeling of
accomplishment when I’m done that dopamine release and that that that
cycle of again planning and then achieving and then pleasure from that
and it just goes over and over and over and over again is something that we get
addicted to the dopamine from that it even starts to release testosterone our
brains and kind of change how our brains work and function because we become
basically addicted to that dopamine it’s the same thing from drug addicts of why
they would put themselves through some of the things they probably don’t want
to do like harming others or stealing or doing things that are really harmful to
themselves and others around them just to get the thing that’s gonna give them
that high I think it’s the same with endurance athletes with the training
like I don’t particularly love having to run for two hours at 11 o’clock at night
because it’s not fun but it’s a means to an end I need to do these painful things
to get to the goal that I want to get to that feeling that dopamine release when
I complete the task and I’m a numbers nerd I love looking at all the stats and
seeing if I can improve it if I can run farther if I can run a little bit faster
I’m always chasing that I’ve been chasing that achievement and that
dopamine feeling my whole life as an athlete I was a sprinter I really good
at 5ks and 10ks and half marathons but as I got older injury started to creep
and we’re running those road races and I had to think of something else to
replace that because if I couldn’t continuously gradually get faster and
improved my times what was I doing it for like I just didn’t care about
getting a medal at the end it didn’t do anything for me or saying I’ve run 100
of them and just didn’t do it there was something else to it so I switched to
ultras because I knew there was always the chance that I could run farther I
might always be able to run fast but I could always run farther and I
became addicted to that and I’ve said it before on this I’ve run 50 miles I’ve
run 60 miles I’ve never run a hundred miles and I want to and part of me
part of me is scared that I’m never gonna be satisfied with that because I’m
addicted to the dopamine aspect of achievement the feeling that I get when
I run farther and farther and Father I really don’t care what people think I
have to talk about ultrarunning way too much because of the tattoo every time my
tattoos exposed I have to talk about what it means endorphins and the
dopamine and why I do it and this it turns into a long conversation I don’t
want to have usually because people look at me like first off cool tattoo
secondly you’re stupid for running 50 miles or running the distance that you
do so this is just kind of a conversation I want to have with all of
you and see what you think are you really satisfied because you love
running every single day you love running in the mountains which we do but
do you love putting in those training sessions and putting in that hard work
that helps you get to the goal or are you really just addicted to achieving
the goals are you really dissident to improving on times and that that
euphoric feeling that you get from achievement and I think a lot of people
that go into ultra running have addictive personalities I’ve read a lot
of stories about people coming from addiction into this and this replacing
one addiction with another I don’t battle addiction but I’m definitely
probably addicted to achievement and and wanting to continuously push myself I’m
never satisfied I’ve never been satisfied in my life in one spot whether
it’s with my job or in my education and when it comes to running I always want
to strive to do more and again I’m addicted to the achievement aspect of it
which again triggers that dopamine so I’m interested in seeing like all of you
have to say about this I just kind of was thinking about this today when I was
looking through the questions that I’m gonna be answering for all of you and my
Q&A and one of them was why and I really wanted to try to give a better answer to
that I didn’t want to take up that entire video so there’s
we’ll answer that question not as succinctly as I will in that video but
why is is basically it’s it’s being addicted to the dopamine release of
achievement that’s running farther and faster and running in new places and
that’s the only way I can explain why someone would want to run as far as we
do in ultra marathons I’m really interested in the human mind that’s why
I named is channel motivation theory because it’s based around Maslow’s
hierarchy of needs it’s kind of like as humans why do we do what we do in life
in general there’s a lot of needs that we have to meet so there’s a lot of
things that motivate me my family motivates me I love them I do things to
help take care of them and for me it’s YouTube and creating videos and
interacting with all of you and running those are the really the buckets in my
life is really family YouTube and running that’s kind of where I split my
time so you all are very important to me and I appreciate the support please
leave a comment down below if you have any feedback on this topic I’m very
interested in this so please I will again respond to every single one
of you and for a video for you to watch next I’d like for you guys to watch why
anyone can run an ultra marathon I kind of talk about this kind of stuff why I
think anybody can run an ultra marathon and again that’s within reason but I’m
gonna leave you with that video at the end of this video so go ahead and watch
that one and I appreciate all of your time and I hope you guys have all your
training plans squared away and you’re doing well so far this year January
getting ready to wrap up January and move hard into February so thank you all
I’ll talk to you later bye


  1. Its up! Please let me know your thoughts on your "why" in running or anything, not just ultras. Watch this next: Why Anyone Can Run an Ultra Marathon – https://youtu.be/zTCJ7YENqdw

  2. The why…. At 40 years old and 230 lbs I have no business running 50 miles. That's why. Doing something that 99.9% of people haven't done. That's also why.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *