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Saturday
Feb112012

Relentless Forward Progress - Bryon Powell

I didn't think I would like a book like this so much. Where we you five years ago when I was first getting into this? Reading this may have saved me a lot of miles spend staggering around in a daze due to lack of something called "electrolytes", or have prevented those huge purple bulbs appearing on my feet, and would have saved yards of skin on my unmentionables. Second thoughts I am glad that I experienced all that.

That said this is as good a "general guide to running ultra marathons" as I have seen. I get asked the "how" question a lot. In all honesty I don't really know what to say. I wrote this article ages ago on some mental tricks I have picked up over the years but my answer to the practical question as to how to run ultras is always met with a lot of "erms". Well that's normal anyway, even on my expert subjects.

So I was really pleased to read this book and I will recommend it to anyone who asks me how to run these things. It strikes a great balance with giving a lot of advice without being too prescriptive. There are training plans in there and I know a lot of people like to have that kind of structure but there is so much more than that.

Great chapters on how the body deals with stress, heat, altitude and cold as well as two side of some ongoing arguments in the sport such as speedwork vs no speedwork or barefoot vs support. There are details of nutrition and hydration as well as some medical stuff on blisters and drugs. There will always be debate as to what is right and what is wrong, that is not going to be resolved any time soon (or ever) but some of the physiological information here is really useful to know.

All the way through there are guest articles from some of the famous names in Ultra Running such as Geoff Roes, Mike Wardian, David Horton and others.

Like with everything in Ultra Running you can take the advice or leave it. I think this book covers all that you need to know to get through an ultra and have a safe and enjoyable experience. Obviously you'll pick more much more as you go along but this is a great start.

So in summary, don't ask me, read this :)

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