Sunday, June 8, 2014

Run Gently Out There John Morelock - A Book Review

Since I began reading the book, the Ultra Running Facebookgroup has recommended it over and over for any ultra wanna-be that needs inspiration or wants help getting to the starting line of an ultra. (Ultra is loosely defined at any race longer that 26.2 miles).
Since I am trying for my second ultra I read it to stay motivated for my first 50 mile race that has already came and went.  I couldn’t get my miles up for a February 2014 50 miler even though I was reading the book at the time. Now, I’m hoping to get to the starting line of a 50 mile race in December.

The book was a fun read since Morelock has such a laidback approach to running – he seems to just get to the trailhead and run, run, run. He is not much of a planner which I find interesting since he was miles from civilization on many of his trail runs; and I wonder how he made it through alive.

But this book is not so much an instruction book on how to prepare for an ultra. It is more about a lifestyle approach to ultra running for longevity. When he describes running through the woods in Oregon and Washington I miss seeing great leafy trees and rain; I’m hopesick for the New England forest while I sit in air conditioning writing this review in Tucson in June.

Like the back cover states, “If on leaving a trailhead you only glance at your watch to have an idea of when you need to be back-parts of this book will be for you.”
My favorite chapter defines seven ways you can approach an ultra:  1) pushing hard all the way 2) pushing moderately all the way 3) finishing with increased effort in the later part 4) finishing feeling good 5) just finishing, no time goal 6) doing the survival shuffle 7) ending with a death march.

I love how Morelock defines them all with his examples and I think I have done all 7 in my racing life. I still laugh out loud re-reading the definitions.

He has great chapter names like What I have Learned, Blathering About Long Runs, Pacing At the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, and At Play in the Mud.

Run Gently is a good read and I really enjoyed reading the final chapters about walking El Camino Santiago.

P.S. My 50 Mile training plan starts in August for the McDowell Frenzy.  

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