How to Make the Leap from Runner to Ultrarunner — with iRunFar.com’s Bryon Powell

It’s been a busy few months, with wrapping up the No Meat Athlete book and our recent trip to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, but No Meat Athlete Radio Episode 9 has finally happened — and it’s worth the wait.

The focus of this episode is ultrarunning — but not superhuman, I-run-a-marathon-every-day-before-breakfast ultrarunning.

Instead, the purpose of this episode is to help marathoners or half marathoners (or even runners who aren’t there yet, but have big aspirations) take the plunge into the sometimes-intimidating world of ultarunning.

To add some expertise the conversation (my co-host Doug and I have each done 50-milers, but still consider ourselves relative ultra newbies), we asked author Bryon Powell of iRunFar to join us for an interview. Bryon has completed dozens of ultramarathons, including several 100 milers, and is the author of Relentless Forward Progress, a guide to ultramarathons that Doug and I have both used extensively in our training.

After talking to some listeners in NYC, it sounds like most of you are listening to the podcast while you run, and like it when the episodes last for miles and miles so you don’t have to fiddle with your iPods. So we didn’t hold back — this one is about 85 minutes long, and packed with information. And a small disclaimer: my mic’s audio during the interview section is a little funky, so I apologize for that. But hang in there, Bryon’s knowledge is worth it!

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Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Doug and Matt’s introduction to ultramarathons (5:00)
  • Interview with Bryon Powell of irunfar.com (14:10)
  • Difference in training plans for marathons and ultras (16:00)
  • Fueling for an ultra (23:20)
  • The mental side of ultrarunning (25:00)
  • Differences between road and trail running (28:00)
  • Where to start (33:00)
  • Matt — How can I run 100 miles after only training up to 50-100k? (35:00)
  • Doug — Advice for running up mountains (Mount Mitchell Challenge) (39:00)
  • Relentless Forward Progress (40:30)
  • Doug and Matt recap (45:45)
  • Matt’s standup comedy (46:10)
  • Trail running (46:30)
  • Upping mileage and where to start (56:45)
  • Running your first 50k (1:05:00)
  • Running your first 50 miler (1:10:15)
  • Wrap-up and news (1:18:00)

Links from the show

Races we discuss

PS — We’re running a quick “Hurry Up, Spring” sale in the No Meat Athlete Store to make room for more tanktops and shortsleeve shirts, so now through Friday, March 15, all long sleeve shirts (men’s and women’s, in both the carrot and stamp logos) are marked at 20% off. Get yours before they’re gone!

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