Relentless Forward Progress book review

Relentless Forward Progress- a guide to running ultra marathons, by Bryon Powell

Reviewed Russell Hurring

I have enjoyed reading ‘Relentless Forward Progress’ by Bryon Powell during my Kepler Challenge recovery. Thanks Grant. If you can’t (or shouldn’t) run much it’s great to at least read about it, gain some fresh ideas and plot the next campaign. Maybe a poignant tip will be just what’s needed for a breakthrough performance. I wish!!

‘Relentless Forward Progress’ offers excellent guidance for newby ultra runners and there would be few hardened vets who would not gain a helpful gem from these pages. I consider all the advice offered to be sound and it covers every conceivable aspect of ultra running to promote development of the complete skill set, as really needed to succeed in the toughest of ultra challenges. It does emphasize trail ultras but I guess that is what most people run anyway.

I like the way author Powell brings in other opinions and perspectives in little essays by various experts on a range of subjects throughout the book. There is probably more variation in how people do things in ultra than in any branch of endurance activity and this method is a nice way to acknowledge that in an informative style. Nowhere does this apply more so than in hydration and feeding. I valued seeing a range of ideas presented. At the end of the day we all need to assess options, try them for ourselves, and then decide what works for us. So it’s good to know what others are doing and what is available out there.

Many may hold differing views on the training programmes. I certainly train differently myself. But for someone starting into ultras or extending their racing distance the programmes are sound and will work. Best of all they account for life in the real world and show how you can do it on minimal mileage. Speaking of mileage, my one gripe is that all programmes are in miles rather than kilometres which is a little frustrating. Some charts with both would have been good.

Russell Hurring post Kepler 2012

The arguments for and against faster training are well presented for readers to make their own decision. Many of us swing a bit on the amount and type of faster training we do so its useful to consider the different options when developing training plans for the next ultra challenge.

Overall I am sure that ‘Relentless Forward Progress’ will inspire, and lead to better ultra performances. Enjoy and good luck out there.

You can buy Bryon Powell’s  ’Relentless Forward Progress’ at the BCR Trail Shop HERE  and is currently on Xmas sale, just $17.95 (and all pre Xmas order come with Pocket Fuel!)

Russell Hurring is possibly the last person who need’s to read a book on how to train for ultra marathons, with 6 win’s at the Kepler Challenge and a 4hr41 best to him name. This past December he run his 11th Kepler on his 58th birthday, finishing in 5hr52. 

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