From the Archive: URG COMICS – Training too Hard?


This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue

By Eliza Murphy

Over at we recently held a contest called “Top Ten Signs You Are Training (Too) Hard For Your Next Ultra”. There were so many entries that it became the Top 20 because, just like your mileage, ten simply isn’t enough.

The Top 20 Signs You Are Training (Too) Hard For Your Next Ultra

  1. You leave drop bags beside your bed for late night snacks.
  2. You find yourself asking strangers in the grocery store to pace you through the frozen food section.
  3. You insist your family use headlamp lights exclusively after dusk.
  4. Your dog thinks it is so cute the way your feet and arms move when you sleep.
  5. You’ve used your new altimeter watch to chart the elevation climb from the basement to the living room to the bedroom and have set a PR on the course-three times.
  6. You wake your spouse up every night shouting “GU, more GU, I need more GU”
  7. Three days before the race you try to convince yourself that a quick little 50-km run couldn’t hurt and might actually loosen things up.
  8. You swear you’re trying really hard but you just can’t come up with an entry for this Top 20 List.
  9. Your friends and family stage a running intervention-before you get outed at
  10. You wax your chest hair to improve the signal of your heart rate monitor.
  11. You start getting really tired of eating all the time.
  12. Your mother is trying to figure out what she was eating while pregnant to have such a crazy kid.
  13. You set three alarms for your race and wake up before any of them go off.
  14. When your coach tells you the three-day Rock and Ice Ultra is a good idea, you agree with him.
  15. You refuse to buy the latest Garmin GPS watch because the battery life is only 20 hours.
  16. You spend more time getting your gear ready for a long run then getting ready for a wedding, including your own.
  17. You don’t think of yourself as behind schedule until you’ve seen the second sunrise.
  18. When your work schedule changes, the first thing you do is request vacation time to cover planned races, then you see what other races you can schedule, and then you tell your spouse you don’t have enough vacation time to attend the cousin’s wedding.
  19. You realize that sleep is cutting into your running time.
  20. You never leave the house without a piece of toilet paper in your pocket.

EJ Murphy is the creator of the Ultra Running Guy comic strip. She is a masters runner currently training with her on-line coach, Canadian ultrarunner Derrick Spafford. It was during an injury-induced hiatus from running in June 2009 that “Ultra Running Guy” aka “URG” was born. The website ( features new “URG” comics weekly and includes a “Sent In By You” comic where anyone can e-mail their ideas for an “URG” and see them “set to ink” on the site.


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