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Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
Marathons have become too easy for some runners. What was once the pinnacle of achievement in a runner’s life is now a stepping stone for extraordinary adventure in ultramarathoning. The number of ultrarunners—those running distances of 50k (31miles), 50 miles, 100k (62 miles), or 100 miles—is growing astronomically each year.

Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man and Chris McDo
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Breakaway Books (first published April 1st 2011)
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Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book with a highlighter pen. You might be wondering why someone who has experience running ultras already is doing reading this book, but I've been learning that you never quit learning to run and I learned from the book. I really enjoyed it.

The book starts out talking about the ultramarathon, what it is and why you should run one and when is a good time to attempt one. The book goes on to talk about training pace, what your weekly mileage should before attempt to train for an ultra,
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After struggling to pick a fall event, I somehow came across this book & figured it'd be worth a read to see more about ultras, as a 30K or 50 miler is one of the things I'm considering. After reading it, I want to do one more than before I started.

Since I've done a lot of trail running, there weren't a whole lot of super surprising things in the book, but one thing especially jumped out at me - back to back bonk runs. The idea is to do 30-40 miles on Saturday, taking in fluids & electro
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is jam packed with useful tips and techniques for ultra running. I can't think of a topic that is not covered in this book.
I am training for my first 100 miler, so the book was released at the perfect time for me.
It contains training plans for races from 50K to 100 miles.
My only wish was that I had read this before my 50 miler, the knowledge gained from this book would have helped me greatly.
Awesome book Byron. Thanks for sharing your running wisdom with us.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Don't bother with this. iRunFar is an excellent website and blog, but this book is merely neatly organized internet research. Instead, read some Matt Fitzgerald and Bernd Heinrich. Read other exhaustive, aging and poorly organized ultrarunning websites. Perhaps throw in a biography or two for good measure.

Oh, and volunteer at races.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
A decent introduction to ultra running if you've only run shorter distances. Much of it is anecdotal. Almost all of the content was stuff that I figured out on my own over a couple of years of running longer distances or through conversations with other runners, but it is pretty complete if you're starting from scratch.
Mihael Herrera
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was not looking to run an ultra, but wanted to learn a bit more about the mental side and training. The book validated a number of beliefs that I had about marathoning that are not generally discussed elsewhere, for that I am grateful.
Michelle Lines
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is probably good for beginner runners. I wouldn't recommend this for anyone with a solid marathoning background or familiarity with running on trails. A lot of the information seemed more like common knowledge that an experienced runner would already have.
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Relentless Forward Progress A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Bryon Powell

I read this book with a highlighter pen. You might be wondering why someone who has experience running ultras already is doing reading this book, but I've been learning that you never quit learning to run and I learned from the book. I really enjoyed it.

The book starts out talking about the ultramarathon, what it is and why you should run one and when is a good time to attempt one. The book goes on to talk about trainin
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Not an ultrarunner yet, but..."

I am 39-years-old and until two years ago I never really liked running. Then I got into triathlons and since running was my weakest of the three sports I started focusing on it. Then I started liking it, then loving it, and now I run six days a week and a total of 45-50 miles. I am currently training for a marathon and when looking at what to do next I started to seriously look at ultrarunning. Some people think I am crazy, but I have been called that before, so I
Brent Eritou
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome good for anyone training for their first ultramarathon. Page after page, it becomes apparent that this book is a labor of love and not some Rodale Press revenue generating machine. It is full of insights & advice based on real-world experience putting on foot in front of the other for miles & miles. There is no fluff in this book. Not a single word wasted. This book is a diamond in the rough. I don't understand why it isn't more popular.
Herman Kaljo
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing for anyone exploring to push their limits. Features simple and effective training plans.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
On the one had, I’m disappointed that I didn’t read this before my ultramarathon last year. It provides a ton of good information about preparing for and running ultras. At the same time, ignorance is bliss. I think if I had read this, I wouldn’t have taken the plunge. But that is just me, I handle stress better as it comes rather than worrying about it beforehand. Not that I wasn’t prepared but rather, this book prepares you for all the worst case scenarios and I just didn’t need that.
Jill  W
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a pretty broad overview of ultrarunning. It defines the sport, it outlines all the basics from gear to injuries that come from greater distances. I liked all of the essays sprinkled throughout the book from various ultrarunners. I don't know that I learned a great deal from this book, since I've been around ultras for a long time now, but I did find it an enjoyable and thorough read.
Marika Chunyk
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running-books
A couple ultrarunners recomended this book. Finished this in time to start my training for a 50 miler. This book gives a lot of information on gear, nutrition and provides training plans to start training for your first ultramarathon. Im glad there are books out there to help guide us with crazy goals like this.
Annette Towler
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to the ultra distance. The book has excellent advice and also some terrific training plans that are very manageable. I built a good base using one of the plans.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book, as I'm considering expanding my running to ultra distances. Much useful information.
Trung Nguyen Dang
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fast and easy read that covers all the basic aspects of ultra-marathons. I finished in a day.
Kimberly Prytherch
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
definitely geared towards more experienced runners
Jennifer Martin
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Got me to and across start finish line of my ultras raging from 42-100 miles
Kathy Vidlock
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has a lot of advice for training for ultramarathoners. I like the different training plans and the expert advice. There were tips I wish I had known before my first ultramarathon.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Got me to the finish line of my first 50k.
Robert Jonsson
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Vad gör man när ett maraton inte längre känns som någon större utmaning? När 42km känns som ett lättare standardpass. Ja, en sak man kan göra är att delta i ett ultramaraton. Med distanser från 50, 75, 90, 130 eller 160 kilometer så finns där tuggmotstånd för alla – nåja, nästan alla. Det finns även andra varianter, som 24timmars eller 48timmars. Där den som tillryggalagt längst distans under den givna tiden står som segrare. Och skulle inte det här kännas som nog extremt så kan man växla upp ti ...more
useful content, but this book was in desperate need of an editor. it has a lot of valuable advice, and i took away a few other book recommendations from it, but mostly a lot of the content is copy-pasted from other (dated) online resources. i'm still not quite to the level of training time/commitment to really feel a part of this ultra crowd, but i am learning a bit as i go.

good, but not essential reading for ultra training.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Read this for tips as I prepare for my first 50-mile race. Very helpful on many many details of subjects about which my awareness is dim (e.g., I vaguely realize I might need to get a headlight for running on trails before sunrise and/or after sunset, and he gives pros/cons of 4 different ways to address this need -- headlamp, handheld flashlight, both, or light attached to pack around your waist -- multiply by about 500 topics, and you get a sense of the comprehensiveness of the advice).

May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
If you know nothing about ultrarunning, perhaps you might find a passage or two of this book helpful. If you are an experienced ultrarunner, you too might find something to consider. But Powell's book tries to address too wide a range of abilities and experience, resulting in very little useful information. It appears that he is not sure who his audience is so his style waffles between scientific research to blogger.
I believe that this book's advice will cause interested ultra wanna-bes to turn
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I swear this book's pages are now painted neon yellow! I have plowed through this thing with a highlighter and started reading it a few months ago when I wanted to train for my first ultra and have since finished both and feel like I have gained a new perspective on life as well as learned so much. I didn't know any ultra runners before I read this and reading it was like having someone sit down and go over the ropes with you. I have had the pleasure of meeting some ultra runners since and I hav ...more
Mikey Sklar
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent guide to trail running. Brian's data goes deeper than other guide books and often covers more than one point of view. It was nice to see something like interval vs. endurance training being compared by people that firmly believed in each one . Hal's guide is a little less technical and full of self-deprecating humor which makes it more entertaining than this one. I recommend reading both. Brian's book made me feel comfortable with my upcoming ultra (100k), training and ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
In preparation for running my first ultra, I picked this book up. It's very easy to read and provides a wealth of practical tips for training and surviving all manner of ultra distances. Just about every subject you could think of is given at least a cursory glance. Things like gear (shoes, poles, hydration systems, headlamps), technique (trail-running, trail vs. road, snow), and environment (really really hot, really really cold, really really high) are touched on. For those with no real experi ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: running, reference
Despite placing emphasis on potential and neophyte ultra-runners, this books seems more geared towards accomplished folk who presumably already know a fair amount about the world of ultras. The book is really written for an American audience, is rather staccato and laced with advice and personal accounts from numerous experts. Unfortunately, many of these testimonials are by elite ultra-marathoners who have an altogether different outlook on some of toughest races in the world. It would have bee ...more
Matthew Thyer
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Pretty good as far as these sorts of instruction books go, but I couldn't help but wonder how old Bryon actually is? Reading it I had to keep in mind that "in the spring of 2009 I quit my job, sold my house, and moved to the Sierra Nevada foothills less than an hour from Yosemite National Park. In the fall of 2010, I moved again, this time to the singletrack paradise that is Park City, Utah." A privilege of that few of us will ever be able to afford. I love to run, I love distance, and I will co ...more
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“You’re tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.” 2 likes
“Ultramarathons are a personal journey, but sharing that journey with others enhances it.” 1 likes
More quotes…