Book Review: Relentless Forward Progress by Bryon Powell
Bryon Powell is, of course, the creator (along with Meghan Hicks) of “IRunFar.com” – the trail running community’s home for everything related to the subject of ultra-running on trails or road, but more geared toward the trails. Bryon lives in Moab, Utah with his girlfriend, Meghan Hicks – a very accomplished ultra-runner as well. I think one time she ran like 140 miles. Something ludicrous like that!
I first found IRunFar.com after reading “Born to Run” a story about a hodgepodge group of runners from the USA competing in a first-ever trails race in the Copper Canyons of Mexico with the Tarahumara tribe. I found the website because there is literally nothing else that can compete with it. Bryon has been a runner since high school, and though he doesn’t talk much about it – he is a damn good trail runner too. In the past he placed in the top 10 in one of the hardest trail running courses in existence – the Leadville 100 and was the number one competitor under 30 years old in the Western States 100 twice. Just recently he competed in the Hardrock 100-mile race and came in 16th place overall.
But this is a review of his book – Relentless Forward Progress. I purchased and read this book on my phone. It is formatted well and was easy to read. This will be a short review because there isn’t much to say. The book covers ultra-trail running (over marathon distance) inside and out, and I couldn’t even find a topic that wasn’t covered well except maybe watch technology. I didn’t expect Bryon to write about watches though since he probably prefers one brand over another and he surely didn’t want to alienate himself or IRunFar.com from any technology company that might advertise on the site in the future. Bryon’s no dummy. In fact, he started out as a lawyer for his first go at life.
So the book is very thorough and factual. I could say it’s a bit dry, but then when so many facts are covered, humor doesn’t necessarily fit and probably isn’t what readers are looking for. Bryon does have a great sense of humor, so I guess I expected a book more in line with his quirky personality.
Chapters cover the Who, What, When, Where, and the big one – the WHY. And that was just the first chapter. Preparing for your ultra with various types of training runs, recovery, tapering, hiring a coach, climbing, descending, training for specific distances, hydration and fuel, gear, environment, what to be scanning your body for – literally EVERYTHING you could want to know – is here.
Top it all off with featured sections by top ultra-runners like Dakota Jones and Geoff Roes as well as other experts and there is no doubt about it – you NEED this book if you’re going to run ultras.
If you are considering running an ultra-distance race on the trails or roads, get this book among others and read it through – taking notes. There are hundreds of things to remember, some that are crucial, so don’t leave it to memory. Get it on paper.
A bunch of great running books: