We can all use some help from time to time with getting ourselves inspired and motivated. No matter how long we’ve been training, there are always new things to learn. This collection of resources is designed to help get you excited and in shape, ready to tackle my fledgling ultra race!
Since I’ll be offering a half and full marathon as well as the 50 mile distance, I’ve included training information for those distances too. There are also plenty of stories and biographies to dig into on your rest days. Have other resources you think are valuable? Leave a reply and let me know, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get inspired.
The definitive guide from Bryon Powell, the Runner-In-Chief and dedicated genius behind iRunFar. His blog is a non-stop stream of information about ultrarunning; upcoming races, runner profiles, gear reviews, he’s got it all. This book is a collection of wisdom on training for an ultramarathon, including specific training plans for 50k, 50 mile, and 100 mile distances. I found this to be an invaluable resource when training for my first ultra and highly recommend it.
Matt Frazier has spent the last five years building his experience with distance running and vegetarian eating, all while blogging about it on No Meat Athlete. He has released two guides for runners looking for a detailed, vegetarian friendly training program: a Marathon Roadmap and Half Marathon Roadmap. Having recently made the switch to (mostly) vegetarian myself I appreciate the time and energy Matt puts in to making distance running and healthy eating accessible to everyone.
Active.com hosts the signup for a large array of races of all types, but they also provide free training plans for half and full marathons as part of their Active Advantage program. These training plans come along with discounts on event registration, so it’s a nice package deal. I’m a current member and it’s already saved me more than the cost of the membership.
Dean Karnazes has been criticized in the past for being as well-known for self-promotion as for ultrarunning, but he’s still unarguably a powerful runner and his first book is an entertaining read. I read it well before I’d ever run an ultra and found it to be an inspirational, enjoyable book.
Rich Roll is another modern athlete who has made a business out of his story of getting healthy and fit. While this story focuses more on triathlons than on ultrarunning specifically, it’s still another good source of inspiration and an interesting read. Like Matt Frazier (of No Meat Athlete), Rich is also an advocate of a plant-based diet.
Scott Jurek is a veteran ultrarunner and winner of many prestigious races. He’s also a vegan. His biography covers both of those topics in great detail, in a way that is accessible to runners and non-runners alike. Unlike Rich Roll, his focus over the years has been exclusively on long distance running, so there is plenty of variety to be found in his story alongside those of Dean and Rich.
By this point, the odds are good that anyone who is reading this blog has already read this book at least once. In spite of that, I’ll include it here as a reminder of how well-written and broadly appealing a book about running can be. There has been plenty of controversy and back-and-forth about barefoot running and minimal footwear since this book was released, but regardless of where you fall in that debate the story itself is captivating and highly recommended.
Matthew Inman (“The Oatmeal”) is absolutely inspirational, and this book is worth its weight in gold. For those who aren’t familiar with him, The Oatmeal produces hilarious web comics and also happens to be a runner, including completing an ultramarathon, and a race director. You can also check out the long-form web comic that led inspired it.