Be at home in the wild.
Credit: Jack Gescheidt

Ayres says that the desire to get back home is one of the common failings of long-distance runners, causing them to cut a run short or skip it when the weather looks bad. Ayers says that we should, instead, reset our idea of what "home" means.

"One of the great pleasures of ultrarunning is simply the experience of wilderness trails, breathing fresh air, enjoying sun, clouds, and sometimes the rain and the snow, and getting close to nature and the world we've evolved in." Ayres subscribes to a well-accepted theory that humans evolved as long-distance runners through their past as persistence hunters pursuing game to the point of exhaustion. "For many successful ultrarunners today," he says, "there's no particular focus on time," but rather a desire to get back to that long-ago feeling of comfort and autonomy in the wild.