How Ultramarathoner Diane Van Deren Goes the Distance

How Ultramarathoner Diane Van Deren Goes the Distance

Picture: Courtesy of Diane Van Deren

Once I first met ultramarathoner and North Face athlete, Diane Van Deren, at REI Outessa in Waterville, New Hampshire, I used to be instantly magnetized by her constructive vibes. She had been up since 4:30 within the morning operating alongside the red- and orange-studded trails at greater than a thousand ft of elevation. But, she was cheery, bursting with power and enthusiastic as all hell. “How fortunate am I to have this as my workplace?,” Van Deren stated staring again on the mountain ranges behind us. At 57 years outdated, Van Deren seems to be just like the superwoman you’d pictured her to be: sun-bronzed pores and skin, brief, soiled blonde hair and robust, sculpted legs and arms.

Van Deren has been ultraracing for greater than 16 years, treading across the globe 300 to 1,000 miles at a time. “I’m so grateful for with the ability to do that sport for therefore lengthy and on the stage that I’m in a position to,” she says. On common, Van Deren clocks in 70 to 90 miles per week in Colorado, the place she lives together with her husband, Scott. However earlier than she hit the height of her ultrarunning profession, Van Deren confronted an uphill battle together with her well being.

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Operating Away from Epilepsy

Ultraracing was by no means within the playing cards for Van Deren, who was as soon as an expert tennis participant, but it surely was the draw that helped her get via the hand she was given. In reality, Van Deren didn’t take up operating till she acquired an epilepsy analysis at 28 years outdated. Every time she skilled an aura — which is a sense you get earlier than a seizure — she would lace up her footwear and hit the paths. Operating, she says, was the one means she may keep away from a seizure.

In 1997, at age 37, Van Deren underwent a lobectomy to take away part of her mind that will ultimately remedy her of the illness. “[The surgery] was probably the most painful expertise I’ve had in my life. I couldn’t bend right down to tie my footwear,” Van Deren recounts. At the moment, Van Deren makes use of these powerful durations in her life to assist her get via races. “I all the time assume, ‘If I obtained via that, then I can get via this,’” Van Deren says. “Individuals ask me, ‘when are you going to cease doing this?’ And I inform them, ‘Oh, I’m simply getting began.’”

RELATED: Why I Began Operating — And By no means Stopped

How Ultramarathoner Diane Van Deren Goes the Distance

Picture: Courtesy of Tiny Atlas Quarterly

5 Classes from Ultramarathoner Diane Van Deren

Whether or not you’re operating your first path race or your fifth half-marathon, listed here are a couple of ideas from Van Deren to achieve that end line with ease.

 1. Deal with every race prefer it’s your first.

You recognize that pleasure you get once you join your first race? Maintain onto it. Van Deren says, “I’ve no fears. I’ve pleasure for the unknown and what lies forward.” Even after numerous endurance occasions at a wide range of distances, Van Deren treats each race prefer it’s her first. “When you change into overconfident, the drive, will and pleasure are diminished,” she says. Van Deren, who by no means runs on a treadmill, says coaching open air is all the time greatest as a way to really assimilate to the situations of a race.

“It’s solely when nature breaks you that you could really develop as an athlete.”

2. Use motion as your meditation.

The beginning of a race is simply as vital because the end, and that’s when Van Deren actually focuses on being current. “Smelling, listening and feeling are issues I take advantage of to be current in a race. I like being entertained visually, and nature is ideal for that,” she says. Trying up on the timber and listening to the rustling of the leaves may also help you are feeling calmer and extra empowered. There’s additionally one thing to be stated about leaving your units at dwelling. “Individuals change into so consumed with element, construction and their gear that it turns into an excessive amount of considering,” Van Deren says. “Be ready and do your coaching. However when you get to the beginning line, you simply go.”

RELATED: 6 Professional Operating Ideas for Your First Path Race

3. Hearken to the rhythm of your ft.

Whereas Van Deren doesn’t hearken to music whereas she runs, she pays particular consideration to the rhythm of her ft and her respiration. And that’s particularly when she’s beginning to get drained. “Once I’m not operating, I play the guitar and sing, however I all the time carry that four-beat sound on the paths. It permits me to concentrate on my respiration and tempo myself all through a race,” she says.

4. Embrace the unpredictable.

Van Deren has been on operating expeditions, the place it may possibly take so long as a month earlier than she crosses the end line (it’s a 1,000 miles, in spite of everything), and the climate can range drastically day-to-day. “One minute it may be a relaxed, sunny day and the subsequent, it’s 20 levels, with 50 mph winds and sleeting,” Van Deren says. “Issues are unpredictable on the course, and it’s the way you cope with it that actually reveals you what you’re manufactured from,” she says. “It’s solely when nature breaks you that you could really develop as an athlete.”

RELATED: The 15 Most Epic Path Races Throughout the U.S.

“I need to make a reminiscence, and it’s that sort of hope that retains me in it.”

5. Hit pause if you should.

Whether or not you’ve began cramping or are feeling particularly exhausted on the course, don’t surrender and fixate on individuals operating previous you. Take a minute to pause and discover a solution to end. “I’m not invincible, however I all the time have some sort of resolution to get via,” Van Deren says. Sit down, sip water and snack on power gels and chews for a fast enhance. And once you’re towing your self to the end line, keep in mind that you don’t want a PR to indicate that you simply’re giving it your greatest. Van Deren says, “Information are nice, however they’re short-term recognition. I need to make a reminiscence, and it’s that sort of hope or drive that retains me in it.”

Learn Extra
7 Professional Ideas for Pacing Your self on the Run
50 Operating Sources for Pace, Power and Vitamin
14 Path Operating Adventures to Strive Earlier than You Die


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