Ultra Marathon Running - A Way Of Life
For those involved in ultra marathon running or just starting an interest it won't be a surprise to hear that this is a way of life. It is difficult for many to understand what goes on in the heads of these elite athletes to give them the drive for these feats. The following books give an insight into the events, the people, the training and how to get started.
The books listed below are in no particular order and are a mix of my own personal favourites along side the books that have received the best reviews by readers.
Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One Of The World's Fittest Men, And Discovering Myself
Author Rich Roll
The title is intriguing and the read does not let you down. Rich Roll stands as an inspiring figure to anyone who is contemplating a new challenge. At 42 the author appeared at his first Ultraman after only 6 months serious training and a previous lifestyle of alcohol and drug abuse.
A middle aged lawyer, he had in his own words done nothing more strenuous in his previous decade than "lugging groceries into the house, and maybe potting a plant"
If this background didn't make his debut tough enough he also had to find unconventional nutrition for events such as these as he is a strict vegan.
Over 300 reviewers on Amazon have given this an average of 4.4 stars out of 5. A great story of a man in midlife who wanted to change direction with spectacular effect.
Amazon Price: $25.00 $10.44 Buy Now
(price as of May 27, 2015)
Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, And The Greatest Race The World Has Ever Seen
Author: Christopher McDougall
No ultra running book review would be complete without this one. Possibly the most famous ultra running book ever published this one will not leave you disappointed.
Chris McDougall has a lovely way of challenging common prejudices and often, setting them right.
The Tribe in question are the Tarahumara Indians. A hugely reclusive collective, their abilities to run hundereds of miles are legendary. Eye witnesses have even reputedly observed a Tarahumara catch a deer when the animal became too tired from the chase to run anymore - The author investigates this and many other stories.
An incredible insight into a people that many know little about. The contrast of the ancient secrets of the Tarahumara with the modern day olympic marathon runners are intriguing.
It is obvious why so many glowing reviews exist for this book.
The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges
Author: Richard Hoad & Paul Moore
If it is an overview of the most iconic endurance events you are looking for then this is the book for you. Detailing over 50 of the most famous runs, bike rides, triathlons etc in great verbal and photographic detail.
Sectioned into Continents each event is reviewed in 12-15 pages on average. Challenges with alluring names fly off the pages such as "The Yukon Arctic Ultra", "The 4 Deserts" and "The Great Wall Marathon".
The focus goes further than Endurance running. "The Yak Attack" one of the longest mountain bike races is documented as is "The English Channel Swim". If you like endurance events this book has you covered.
You can't help but be impressed by the events detailed in this book and even an ultra endurance officionado will likely uncover an event or fact they weren't aware of.
Eat And Run: My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness
Author; Scott Jurek & Steve Friedman
If you are only looking to buy one Ultra Book I recommend you make it this one.
Listed under Amazon's Best Books Of The Month June 2012 this is a great read for anyone with an interest in the sport or just inspirational human beings.
The book not only focusses on his achievements (of which there are many!). It also looks at nutrition, including several recipes, and most interestingly to me - a focus on mentality.
Jurek is a student of many of the great philosophers and he entwines this into the book while applying their theories to a runners mindset. His determination to succeed is what he attributes to his great achievements. This is emphasised the more you learn of Jurek - he hasn't just won while physically fit, he has won with injury, even winning after a rattlesnake bite!
The approach and musings laid bare in this book can inspire all of us whether in ultramarathon running or slightly more mundane challenges.
Amazon Price: $14.95 $4.95 Buy Now
(price as of May 27, 2015)
Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide To Running Ultramarathons
Author: Bryan Powell & Eric Grossman
This is effectively a "How To" guide for ultrarunning. The author, Bryan Powell, is a full time ultra runner who can list achievements including being in a top 3 team at the famous Marathon des Sables in 2009. Powell has combined his years of experience in competing and training into this book.
This is a really solid guide to how to get started through to refinement techniques for the experienced runner. Everyone who wants to compete in endurance events should read this one - no one is too good to learn!
The reviews on Amazon really speak for themselves, with my favourite being entitled "5 years too late" from a runner who wishes this had been available when they started out on their own journey to run further than ever before.
Of course these are but a few of the fantastic books available on this topic. If you are really interested Iwould also recommend;
- Lore of Running by Timothy Noakes
- Ultramarathon Man; Confessions Of An All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
Happy reading and happy running!