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Lessons Learned from Scott Jurek

Posted by on 23. December 2014

Ultramarathon and trail legend Scott Jurek speaks in front of a crowd of passionate runners

When I see winners, I see that they really love what they do and they are really positive people.  That’s how I saw Scott Jurek as he spoke before an audience of passionate runners at the ADB Theatre last December 10, 2014.  It didn’t feel like he was a speaker talking in front of an audience.  It felt like that he was a fellow runner passionately telling the story of his races.  He talked, we listened and we were captivated by his passion, his dedication and his winning attitude. 

Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek Running in Manila. Photo from Scott Jurek Instagram Account

When you get to see Scott Jurek’s running resume, he’s won at almost all levels when it comes to Ultrarunning’s elite road and trail events.  He’s among the top runners in the world and has podium finishes, records, awards and recognition to back it up.  He navigates various surfaces of trails and thousands of meters of elevation at a really elite pace.  He also has written a book titled, “Eat and Run” as he values nutrition and having a 100% plant based diet which he credits for his superior endurance, fast recovery and overall health and wellness.  Above all, he’s such a positive person that gives him mental toughness in navigating the miles and the thousands of meters of elevation in his races.

Honored to be part of the few who were able to see the talk of Scott Jurek.

I was invited by Jonel Mendoza, Editor In Chief of Fronttunner Magazine, to join the event.  I didn’t think twice as it’s really an honor getting to meet a legend in the running scene.  I also credit Jonel for bringing Scott Jurek to the country as we’re among the most passionate beings when it comes to running with so many races happening every week.  A lot of runners are way past the fun runs and have went on to go for marathons and ultramarathons.  In other words, we are the perfect audience.  The event was held last December 10, 2014 at the ADB Theatre in Ortigas Avenue.   It was just amazing hearing about Scott’s races and how passionately he tells them.  His talk was captivating and inspiring.  He gave everybody lessons we can relate to in our own running goals.

Goal Setting

Goalsgives us focus in our athletic pursuits.  What do you want to achieve? Scott Jurek has been winning races regularly and for him to remain dominant in events, it takes a lot of goal setting.  Whether you want to finish your first 5K race to finishing an ultramarathon, the goal is for you to choose because you have to WANT it.  You should KNOW what your goal and embrace it to come up with action plans for it.  Action plans don’t always go as planned so you should be able to TWEAK your goals. When there are goals, there are challenges, then that’s the time for you to REALLY WANT it.

Stay Humble

Life begins outside your COMFORT ZONE so if you want to achieve new goals, GET OUT of it and LET GO of the control.  Scott Jurek’s prepares for his race by trying to simulate race conditions, if it’s a hilly course, go to the hills and the mountain.  If it’s a humid course, go for heat training.  It’s a matter of looking for a similar course or you can go earlier to do some recon work.  When you are in a new environment, RESPECT the unknown by trying to study the course beforehand.  This is something we underestimate most of the times.  EMBRACE setbacks as it’s part of it.  Scott Jurek once ran with a badly sprained ankle but being a physical therapist, he was able to find a way to tape the sprain and still manage to race strong.  We’ve all met setbacks whether it be physical constraints like cramps, sprain, etc or hitting a so-called Wall, we eventually find ways to finish the race.

Turn Setbacks into Advantages

Sometimes setbacks are stepping stones disguised as road blocks.   If you’ve been racing for years, you’ve probably encountered different situations and problems like Scott Jurek have. It’s part of it.  Use setbacks to make you stronger and have the positive disposition to accept situations and emotions, assess the problem and looks for remedies.  You get to experience a lot of this during races so it really helps to be able to assess the situation with a positive spin. Eventually, this would all add up to something.  It was also amusing hearing Scott go over his victories in the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon and the 153 miles Spartathlon, which traces the legendary run of the Greek herald Pheidippides from Athens to Sparta.

Be Present

Our body is designed in such a way that it sends of alarm so learn to listen to it.  For example cramping is a sign that there is already a problem in nutrients or maybe in the muscle itself so learn to adopt to the situation.  Maybe it’s your body saying it needs to rest or it could also mean you could strengthen it further.  When managing longer distance, thinking about the total distance can intimidate you so it would really be important to set micro goals. An example of that is just trying to cut the race based on the number of aid station with the distance between them being your micro goal.  Stay focused on the current goal and work from there and when you start doubting yourself just remember this is what you came for.  There’s another insight I got from Scott Jurek is that you always have something extra in you. We were entertained when he told a story of a runner he tried to out sprint in the latter part of the race and he want past his target pace.  It turned out that the runner was a bandit runner just trying out the course but for Scott, he was able to prove that he got more inside himself to go faster.

Look Beyond Goals

On a final note, running is a lifestyle and once its your passion, it gets a lot easier and fun.  It’s always a learning process as new technologies and new concept comes to change things up.  It helps to have an open mind to learn.  Scott Jurek is also known for waiting for all the runners during the race. While he races at the top of the pack, he gives back to the community.  Lastly, Scott  Jurek credits his wife for being by his side for support and understanding.  It’s a tough sports so we’ll need all the support we can get.  There was also a Q and A portion after and it was a really interactive one and we got to know more about the legend of Scott Jurek.

One message from Scott Jurek, Dig Deep. That’s something I need going into the last leg of my marathon preparations.


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