The similarities between running marathons and academic research

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Training and running for an ultra-marathon can be very similar to academic research, according to Chris Herbst, professor at the school of public affairs at ASU. We talked about the similarities and differences of ultramarathons and academic research.

An ultramarathon is defined as any distance that is longer than the standard marathon distance, which is 26.2 miles. The ultramarathon distance is about 31 miles according to Herbst.

“I ran an ultramarathon because I was curious to see if I could complete the distance,” Herbst said. He said he never considered himself to be a runner. Around mile 24, Herbst said he goes into what is called a “pain cave,” in which he said is a metaphor for a mental place.

Herbst mentioned that there are many similarities between conducting academic research and running ultramarathons. “You almost have to enter the academic version of a pain cave,” he said. “Conducting research and running ultramarathons, you have to be okay with failing.”

“When I crossed the finish line of that ultramarathon race, I had tears running down my face,” he said. “The race literally brought me to tears.”

Chris Herbst, professor at the school of public affairs at ASU

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