Ultramarathoners Using Pot To Help Them Train

By Brent McCluskey 02/23/15

Some runners use weed to stop pain and nausea after pushing their bodies to the limit.

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Sometimes the best way to unwind after a long race is to smoke some pot, at least according to ultramarathon runners.

But pot doesn't just help these endurance athletes relax after pounding the pavement for dozens of miles, it also helps them mitigate pain.

Avery Collins, a 22-year old professional ultramarathoner, is no stranger to severe nausea and immobilizing leg cramps, a byproduct of pushing his body to the limits. Marijuana can help with both these ailments and while Collins doesn’t ingest the drug before a race, he certainly does afterwards.

“If you can find the right level, [marijuana] takes the stress out of running,” Collins. “And it’s a post-race, post-run remedy.”

Collins says he runs nearly 150 miles and consumes marijuana between four to five times a week. He uses a marijuana balm to keep his legs relaxed, eats marijuana-laced food, and inhales it as water vapor.

Veteran runner Jenn Shelton also trains with marijuana and says the drug can greatly enhance performance.

“The person who is going to win an ultra is someone who can manage their pain, not puke and stay calm,” said Shelton. “Pot does all three of those things.”

Neither Collins nor Shelton race while high, but using marijuana is a critical part of their training. Aside from its analgesic and nausea-reducing effects, the drug also helps keep Collins’ mind active during extra-long training sessions, making the miles tick off just a little bit faster.

“You’re running for 17 to 20 hours straight, and when you stop, sometimes your legs and your brain don’t just stop,” Collins said. “Sometimes [pot] is the only way I can fall asleep after racing.”

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.