“There will be trying times in an ultra, but enjoy what you can of it. …Laugh. …Be a kid. …Be happy.” – Bryon Powell in Relentless Forward Progress
Earlier this year Bryon Powell, the talented ultra runner, writer, and Runner-in-Chief of iRunFar, released his informative running book called Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons. Bryon was extra kind and sent me a copy. After a cover to cover read, it was time to share my thoughts on it.
What’s Inside – Ultramarathon 101
Relentless Forward Progress is a book that creates awareness to a wide range of topics for those interested in running beyond 26.2 miles.
- Basic definitions
- Training concepts
- 24 week training plans for 50 km, 40 mile – 100 km, and 100 mile. (peak mileage of 50 and 70 mile for each distance – mileage based training)
- Trail running basics
- Hydration, electrolytes, fueling
- Body management
- Extreme conditions
For those new to trail running and running an ultramarathon, Bryon brings to light are wide range of topics that will likely be unfamiliar territory if you are coming from the more traditional road running scene.
Have you heard of B2B runs?
Walking can be a good and smart thing!
How to hike up steep grades using your powerful glutes instead of calves and quads.
Blister prevention and management.
Do you have a pacer? huh?
Aid stations every mile? Forget about it!
A few of my favorite sections…
I enjoyed Bryon’s insight on over-reaching and over-training which he labels as FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. This is an easy running trap to fall into especially with all the amazing races around the country and the nearly 150 adventures in the TALON region alone. Simply a good reminder.
I also dug the happy feet section that include thoughts from John Vonhof with references to his informative site, fixingyourfeet.com. You will find many tips on how to manage what John defines as the three main culprits of those annoying blisters – moisture, friction, and heat.
Bryon also puts some attention on the between-the-ears side of the sport. One of the quotes that caught my attention - “On race day be prepared for a roller coaster of energy and emotions.” This is a great little seed of information. Although an ultra newbie will read this and likely gloss over it. On ultra race day this little seed will hopefully bloom and provide some comfort knowing that their world is not ending.
An Opportunity Area
The one section of the book I would have really liked a more serious and insightful approach is on NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) use during ultra races. As an ultra guide likely to be read by many new people entering the sport, there is an unique opportunity to really inform and emphasize the concerns and dangers of NSAID use during ultra events.
As an Ultra Guide
Radical new approach or concepts to the sport? Not in this book. As a guide, it focuses on the tried-and-true.
Will it answer all your questions? Probably not, but it will provide a huge ultra jump-start and very solid foundation. And that’s huge!
Then you must begin the journey because many of those questions can only be answered by you!
Who Would Most Benefit from Relentless Forward Progress?
Any runner considering or just beginning to explore ultra running will find the largest amount of sweet value in Relentless Forward Progress. As a guide, this book is created for those new to the sport lookin’ to shorten that ultra learning curve.
Then the best part – get outside and do it!
Explore. Play. Have fun!
Who else has read the book? What are your thoughts?
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
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