I don’t read a lot of “motivational” books but my sister recommended this one. Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner is the story of Dean Karnazes – an ultra marathon runner. The book is a series of recollection by Karnazes as he describes the preparation and experience of running extraordinarily long distances in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable.
Karnazes’ story starts with a description of him eating a rolled up pizza while running all night.
We learn about his early running career and what he learned from some of his junior coaches. Incredibly, one so discouraged him that he didn’t run for several years.
If you ever wanted to know what went through the mind of someone running then his detailed description of the Western States Endurance Run – a 100 mile race – is a revelation. Through the mental and physical anguish we learn what such a feat can do to the mind and body.
The rest of the book – and I don’t want to downplay the significance of Karnazes’ effort by making it sound trivial or boring – describes a series of ultra-marathons and other events he participated in. I was especially captivated by his quest to run a marathon to the South Pole.
Once the run was finally completed he completed a nude lap around the South Pole in the coldest and harshest conditions on the planet!
If you’re interested in running and interested in the world of ultra-marathons then this book gives a deep insight into the psyche and physical effort it takes to come do something many others consider either ridiculous or impossible.
For me, it makes my complaints when it’s a little too cold, wet or hot to do 5km seem very weak.
If you’re an avid runner and are considering endurance events then Karnazes’ advice around training and nutrition is worth reading. He has considerable experience and expertise that he shares in the concluding chapters of the book.
This is a book all runners will learn from. Recommended.