Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Favorite Trail and Ultra Resources - A Starter List

With the growth in popularity of running, new books, blogs, and websites seem to popup weekly. I spend a fair amount of time sifting through a lot of these sites, but always come back to the same solid resources. As such, I thought it would be fun to compile a list and share with others. This first take is a 'starter' list so as to not overwhelm...I plan to start posting more reviews of books going forward.

Websites and Podcasts
1. iRunFar.com: this is probably my favorite, and most visited site. They have excellent columns (some I actively follow, like AJW's Tap Room), pre- and post-race interviews, results predictions, product reviews, and my favorite - live race coverage!

If I had to dock the site for anything, it would be some of the interviews they do before and after events. The audio is usually sub-par, and sometimes the flow of the interview can be a bit awkward. Aside from that though, it's all good stuff!

2. Trail Runner Nation: I love listening to these guys. Don and Scott are the hosts, and they frequently have other 'correspondents' on their show that are big names in the trial and ultra world. Over the past three years, I have learned a TON from this show and their guests. Not only do they bring on elites, but also folks from other fields that touch our sport - medicine, psychology, nutrition, etc.

3. Ultrarunner Podcast: Another excellent resource I've been learning from over the past couple of years. If I had to rank them, I'd put it just behind Trail Runner Nation, but I always listen to both! Eric is the host, and he gets elites (and sometimes non-elites) for interviews. The interviews are much more focused on the interviewee (which makes sense), so it's not as much about general content to learn from like TRN. That said, you obviously learn from what they are saying, and some people prefer that format.

4. The Rich Roll Podcast: While not specifically running-relate, there's a lot of great content from interviews with leaders in areas of health, wellness, fitness, etc. Rich goes in-depth with all of his guests, and there's a lot you can learn. I tend to like and agree with a lot of the messages he and his guests put out, but not all of it (can't expect to agree with everything one person says!).

Books
This is definitely a starter list - there are so many good books out there! I chose the below because they were the first titles I dove into when I was figuring out this whole running thing. Since then, I've consumed several other books, which I'll write short reviews of over the next year. If you've read these and are looking for more suggestions, leave a comment!

1. Born to Run: Yeah, I know this is on a lot of lists, but there's a reason - it's an excellent read, and a really good look at the ultrarunning world. Like many people, this was my first exposure to the trail and ultra world, and has been a fun one to go back and re-read from time to time.

2. Eat and Run: Scott Jurek's autobiography, and a solid read for those looking for motivation, inspiration, and more details about our sport. He has stories, recipes, and even tips for running better at the end of select chapters.

3. Relentless Forward Progress: Written by iRunfar's Bryon Powell, this is a must own for ultrarunners. It's setup as a 'how to', with tips from a variety of elites, training plans, and more. I frequently refer to different sections during big training blocks.

4. Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner: Like Born to Run, this book makes most of the 'top running books' lists out there, and for good reason. In this book, Dean Karnazes documents his journey from businessman to ultramarathoner who has conquered a variety of crazy races, expeditions, and self-made events. It's frequently cited as the book that got people into ultramarathons, with stories of Western States, Badwater, and more.

Movies
As with the books, there are actually a decent number of solid running movies out these days. The list below contains my personal favorites.

1. Unbreakable: The Western States 100: I've seen this movie multiple times, and I love it. From the website: Unbreakable: The Western States 100' follows the four lead men on this amazing journey. Hal Koerner, two time defending Western States champion, and running store entrepreneur from Ashland, Oregon. Geoff Roes, undefeated at the 100-mile distance, an organic chef from Juneau, Alaska. Anton Krupicka, undefeated in every ultramarathon he has ever started, a graduate student living in Boulder, Colorado. Kilian Jornet, the young mountain runner and two time Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc champion, from Spain (http://www.ws100film.com/).

2. The Prefontaine Movies: 'Without Limits' and 'Prefontaine'. These movies are about Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine, and are both excellent (can't remember which one I like better). Highly recommended for those in search of a good motivational film before a big race!

3. Western Time: A Western States 100 Film: This Billy Yang film follows Sally McRae's WS100 Journey in 2014. It's well-made, inspiring, and easily viewable on YouTube. Highly recommended, even if you have no interest in ultrarunning or WS100!

Ok, I think that's good for a starter list! Enjoy!

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