Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, By Dean Karnazes

 Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Topping the "What book should I read for motivation?" threads on /r/running, right next to Born To Run, is Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner.

Ultramarathon Man, written by Dean Karnazes, is essentially the story of how Dean went from an uptight swanky office man to a ultrarunning fanatic. The book is really a few short stories showing different adventures he has partaken in. From the tight running cliques to the toughest runs, this book will beg for you to read it after every page turn.

If you are looking for running motivation, this is your book. As Dean runs 199 miles nonstop for charity, he describes the things that push him forward. Clearly this is a man of steel, both physically and mentally. The thought of a man running this far for someone else is more than enough to make you want to stop whatever you are doing and go run.

His stories show the greatest obstacle to any runner: himself. Every step he makes effects his next step. Something that happened miles back could affect him 3 hours later. I have developed even more of an appreciation for ultramarathoners after reading this book.

Throughout the book he asks himself the question, "Why am I running?" A typical question most runners struggle with.  He gives many answers, but finds peace in one answer that he supports with his whole heart.

Now, Dean does not run barefoot. He finds joy in running in shoes. After finding the shoe that he liked he stuck with it. Do I see him as anything less for wearing shoes? Heck no! If you can run 100+ miles I am in no position to judge you. Do whatever you want and do whatever works for you. I do, however, wonder if he has considered some barefoot training...

If this book has taught me anything it is to run with your heart. Once your legs give out and your mind is telling you to quit, your heart will keep pumping and guide you to the finish.

I give this book a 8/10. It is an excellent read. Why the deduction of points? I think some more details could have been given about what he does to train, what he wears, etc. The lack of these topics is clearly a way to get non-running geeks to read the book, but maybe my interest is a little geeky.

If you are interested in buying the book Ultramarathon Man, please use the links from my site to purchase it. All funding contributes to

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