Other Recommendations

Here you’ll find my recommendations for other things that will help you improve your performance, including books, podcasts and websites.

Mimi is an incredibly inspiring endurance athlete who is a multiple Guinness World Record holder, including for LEJOG.

Beyond Impossible: From Reluctant Runner to Guinness World Record Breaker is the “story of how an ordinary mum ran her way into the record books will inspire beginner runners and die-hard marathon devotees alike, proving that no matter where life takes you it s never too late to achieve your dreams and do the impossible.

After coming to terms with anorexia, Mimi begins to reassess her relationship with food and finds a new resolve in running.

With a renewed sense of purpose, she decides to take the sport that saved her life to the next level, by entering the epic Marathon De Sables in the Sahara desert, despite still being a novice runner.

One startling success leads to another, as she finds herself taking on ever-more-challenging races from the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, USA, to the 6633 Extreme Ultramarathon in the Arctic all building up to her biggest challenge yet, attempting to gain the Guinness World Record for the fastest time by a female running 840 miles from John O Groats to Land s End.”

Beyond Impossible taught me a huge amount about ultra-endurance events.

And it's one of those rare sports books that's actually entertaining as well!

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner is the international best-selling book from ultra-running legend Dean Karnazes.

“Ultrarunning legend Dean Karnazes has run 262 miles - the equivalent of ten marathons - without rest.

He has run over mountains, across Death Valley, to the South Pole, and is probably the first person to eat an entire pizza while running.

With an insight, candour and humour rarely seen in sports memoirs, Ultramarathon Man has inspired tens of thousands of people - nonrunners and runners alike - to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and simply get out there and run.

Ultramarathon Man answers the questions Karnazes is continually asked:

  • Why do you do it?

  • How do you do it?

  • Are you insane?

A Life Without Limits is the story of Chrissie Wellington, probably the world’s best and most well-known female Ironman competitor.

Chrissie has won multiple World Champion Ironman events, and was the World Record holder.

In 2009 she was voted 'Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year' and in 2010 was awarded an MBE.

She was the undefeated champion of Triathlon, having won thirteen Ironman titles from thirteen races.

A Life Without Limits is the remarkable story of how a Norfolk girl - a 'sporty kid, swimming, playing hockey, running, but never excelling and always more interested in the social side of the sports scene' - became a world champion.

Finding Ultra is the inspiring story of Rich Roll’s remarkable transformation, a complete physical and spiritual rejuvenation that proves that anyone can "find ultra" if they know how.

“On the eve of his 40th birthday, Rich Roll was in bad shape. His days were filled with work, stress, and junk food, and his nights were spent on the couch, remote in hand.

Taking out the trash was the closest he came to exercise, and, at 50 pounds overweight, a walk up the stairs left him winded.

He decided it was time to make a change.

After undergoing a diet detox, adopting a vegan lifestyle, and pushing his fitness regimen to undreamed-of heights, he was profiled by Men's Fitness as one of the world's 25 fittest men.

Among Roll's many jaw-dropping athletic feats: he completed the unprecedented "Epic 5"- five back-to-back Ironman-distance triathlons on five different Hawaiian islands in under a week--an achievement many said was impossible.

Finding Ultra is a great story to inspire you to get off the couch and try to achieve something amazing.

I can't think of many better people to get a recommendation from than Bear Grylls!

"If you want to gain insight into the mind of great athletes, adventurers, and peak performers then prepare to be enthralled by Alex Hutchinson’s Endure." – BEAR GRYLLS

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance was a great red if your're looking to understand how to push beyond your limits.

Here's a short overview of what the book is about

"Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D., reveals why our individual limits may be determined as much by our head and heart, as by our muscles. He presents an overview of science’s search for understanding human fatigue, from crude experiments with electricity and frogs’ legs to sophisticated brain imaging technology."

The bestselling book, Born to Run, has probably been part of the reason ultra-running has seen a boom in popularity in recent years.

Here’s the blurb:

“At the heart of Born to Run lies a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who live quietly in canyons and are reputed to be the best distance runners in the world.

In 1993, one of them, aged 57, came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing a toga and sandals.

A small group of the world's top ultra-runners (and the awe-inspiring author) make the treacherous journey into the canyons to try to learn the tribe's secrets and then take them on over a course 50 miles long”

It’s a really compelling story, featuring some fascinating characters.

And it delves into the history of why we run. And puts forward a very intriguing argument for running barefoot.

Any serious ultra-runner definitely needs to read Born to Run.

Natural Born Heroes tells the fascinating story of a group of English people who helped resist the Nazi invasion of the island of Crete.

“When Chris McDougall stumbled across the story of Churchill's 'dirty tricksters', a motley crew of English poets and academics who helped resist the Nazi invasion of Crete, he knew he was on the track of something special.

To beat the odds, the tricksters-starving, aging, outnumbered-tapped into an ancient style of fitness: the lost art of heroism.

They listened to their instincts, replaced calories with stored bodily fat and used their fascia, the network of tissue which criss-crosses the body, to catapult themselves to superhuman strength and endurance. 

Soon McDougall was in the middle of a modern fitness revolution taking place everywhere from Parisian parkour routes to state-of-the-art laboratories, and based on the know-how of Shanghai street-fighters and Wild West gunslingers.”

Natural Born Heroes is another inspirational book to help you get out on your own training run.

Running with the Kenyans (for JamesRunsFar.com).jpg

Running with the Kenyans was the Sunday Times Book of the Year and shortlisted for the William Hill Sportsbook of the Year.

And there are plenty of good reasons why.

Like ‘Born to Run’ it’s a really fascinating story with lots of great characters.

“After years of watching Kenyan athletes win the world's biggest long-distance races, Runner's World contributor Adharanand Finn set out to discover what it was that made them so fast - and to see if he could keep up.

Packing up his family, he moved to Iten, Kenya, the running capital of the world, and started investigating.

Was it running barefoot to school, the food, the altitude, or something else?

At the end of his journey he put his research to the test by running his first marathon, across the Kenyan plains”

Running with the Kenyans is another ‘must-have’ book for any ultra-runner.

The Way of the Runner is another of Adharanand Finn’s deep dives into the history of another running culture.

“Welcome to Japan, the most running-obsessed nation on earth, a place where...

  • A 135-mile relay race is the country's biggest annual sporting event

  • Thousands of professional runners compete for corporate teams in some of the most competitive races in the world

  • Marathon monks run a thousand marathons in a thousand days to reach spiritual enlightenment

Adharanand Finn spent six months immersed in this unique running culture to discover what it might teach us about the sport and about Japan. As an amateur runner about to turn 40, he also hoped to find out whether the Japanese approach to training might help him run faster.

What he learned - about competition, team work, form, chasing personal bests, and about himself - will fascinate anyone keen to explore why we run, and how we might do it better.”

Just like Running with the Kenyans, the Way of the Runner, is a fascinating insight into the running world of a completely different culture.

Why We Run is a deep, insightful story about the various reasons why we run.

“Whether it is a jog around the park on a Sunday morning, or lining up with 40,000 other people at the start of the London Marathon, all it requires is a pair of trainers and the open road. But where does that road lead and why do we run at all?

Robin Harvie ran his first marathon after a bet, but it wasn't until he had ventured 6,000 miles into the extreme world of ultra-distance running to the start line of the oldest and toughest footrace on earth, that he found an answer. As a hobby turned into a 120-mile-a-week obsession, so a way out of his daily routine evolved into a journey to discover who he was and what he was really made of.

Through the scorching heat of the desert and into the darkest hours of the morning, Why We Run reveals the beating heart of the brutal and profoundly intoxicating experience of running. If you have ever wondered what makes you lace up your trainers, and why you keep coming back for more, this is your story too.”

Feet in the Clouds is a tale about fell-running in the UK, something which isn’t that widely covered.

“The concept of fell-running is simple: it’s a sport that involves running over mountains sometimes one, sometimes many.

It’s also immensely demanding. While running uphill is a stamina-sapping slog, running pell-mell down the other side requires the agility and even recklessness of a mountain goat.

And there’s the weather to contend with.

This is a portrait of one of the few sports to have remained utterly true to its roots in which the point is not fame or fortune but to run the ancient, wild landscape, and to be a hero, if at all, within one s own valley. Feet in the Clouds is a chronicle of a masochistic but admirable sporting obsession, an insight into one of the oldest extreme sports, and a lyrical tribute to Britain s mountains and the men and women who live among them.”

Relentless - From Good, to Great, to Unstoppable breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable.

Tim Grover has worked with a huge number of world-class athletes on the mental side of their game. Including Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players ever.

“Relentless is about breaking the rules that hold you back and trusting your instincts to take you where you want to be.

Packed with previously untold stories and unparalleled insight into the psyches of the most successful and accomplished athletes of our time, and with all new material for the paperback on achieving excellence in the face of impossible odds, Relentless shows you how even the best get better… and how you can too.

You keep going when everyone else is giving up, you thrive under pressure, you never let your emotions make you weak.

In "The Relentless 13," Tim details the essential traits shared by the most intense competitors and achievers in sports, business, and all walks of life.

Relentless shows you how to trust your instincts and get in the Zone; how to control and adapt to any situation; how to find your opponent's weakness and attack. Grover gives you the same advice he gives his world-class clients-"don't think"- and shows you that anything is possible.

Kobe Bryant raves, "Tim Grover is the master of mental toughness. This book is the blueprint for discovering what you are capable of achieving, getting results you never imagined, reaching the highest level of success-and then going even higher."

Relentless is a great insight into some of the world’s top performers. And can easily be applied to ultra-running, no matter what level you are.

Grit is a book about “what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.”

In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement.

Grit is full of lots of research-backed insights and lots of actionable things to improve all areas of your life.

And lots of the leanings from Grit are applicable to ultra-running too.

Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice is a great viewpoint on what it takes to become a champion.

“What are the real secrets of sporting success, and what lessons do they offer about life? Why doesn’t Tiger Woods “choke”? Why are the best figure skaters those that have fallen over the most and why has one small street in Reading produced more top table tennis players than the rest of the country put together.

Two-time Olympian and sports writer and broadcaster Matthew Syed draws on the latest in neuroscience and psychology to uncover the secrets of our top athletes and introduces us to an extraordinary cast of characters, including the East German athlete who became a man, and her husband – and the three Hungarian sisters who are all chess grandmasters. Bounce is crammed with fascinating stories and statistics.

Looking at controversial questions such as whether talent is more important than practice, drugs in sport (and life) and whether black people really are faster runners, the mind-bending Bounce is a must-read for the hardened sports nut or brand new convert.”

Bounce has lots of research-backed points and actionable things that you can implement in preparing you for ultra-running.

Trained is one of the best podcasts I listen to.

Each week has a world-class athlete or coach talking through a key topic.

Here’s how the Trained podcast describes itself - “Greatness isn't born, it's trained. This podcast explores the cutting-edge of holistic fitness to help make you a better trainer and athlete. Listen to conversations with industry experts and discover the latest innovations, insights, and trends making the biggest impact on the training world”

Tim Ferriss is the best known as being the author of the best-selling book “The 4 Hour Work-Week”.

As part of that book, he taught millions of people life-hacks to make the most of their time.

And the Tim Ferriss Podcast has been widely successful too.

Each week he interviews a fascinating person. And he gets deep with them too, often digging into their personality, rather than just their unbelievable achievements.

The podcast is often the #1 business podcast on all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 500,000+ podcasts on many occasions. It is the first business/interview podcast to pass 100,000,000 downloads

I listen to lots of podcasts whilst I'm running.

And the Endurance Planet podcast is one of the most informative and useful ones.

Here's how Endurance Planet describes itself on it's website

"Endurance Planet is the premiere online destination for health-conscious endurance athletes who want to perform optimally in sport and take care of their bodies. If you’re a triathlete, runner, cyclist, swimmer, obstacle racer, adventure racer or all of the above then tune in for cutting-edge sports science, inspiration, and an education to fuel your journey"

Rich Roll is an inspirational guy - He’s competed in many ultra-endurance events and has made a successful career in giving lifestyle advice to millions of his his fans.

And the Rich Roll podcast is inspirational too.

Each episode has a really interesting individual who he interviews. And he usually gets pretty in-depth on the topic they speak about.

Here’s how the show describes itself - “Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. Intimate, deep and often intense, these are not interviews. They are conversations. A weekly aural dance designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.”

The British Ultra Running Podcast is hosted by UK ultra-running legends Dan Lawson and James Elson.

Dan is one of the best ultra-endurance athletes in the world.

James isn’t too bad either! But he’s probably more well-known for being the main man behind the extremely popular Centurion events.

Each episode they talk about the latest UK ultra-running news.

The only problem is that it’s not more often!

The Science of Ultra Podcast is a must-listen if you like to keep on top of the latest tips and advice that is based heavily on science.

Shawn Bearden is hugely knowledgeable on the science of endurance sport. And there are great tips and advice in every podcast.

The episodes can sometimes get a bit heavy, but they’re worht sticking with!

The ‘Coaches Corner’ episodes are a goldmine of great information. As Shawn brings together 4 world-class athletes and coaches to tackle a specific topic.

Dave Asprey is the CEO and founder of the Bulletproof podcast and calls himself a biohacker.

For nearly two decades, Dave has been challenging the status quo of nutrition and medicine to feel better and have more energy in his 40s than he did when he was in his teens or 20s.

And hid podcast gives information on how others can do this too.

There are lots of articles on nutrition, health, technology and many other things to help you improve your health and performance.

Vinnie Tortorich is a celebrity fitness trainer, speaker, podcaster and author.

He’s also the creator of the NSNG (no sugar, no grains) diet, which is very similar to the keto diet. And is actually probably more similar to the diet that I follow.

His podcast is often full of loads of very helpful information.

And although his style can be brash and loud, his podcast is pretty entertaining.

Hurdle is hosted by Emily Abbatte and it brings you inspirational stories from a range of people.

It’s a really easy listen and the host does a great job of getting good stories out of the people she interviews.

Here’s how she describes Hurdle - “Hurdle features people who got through a tough time—a hurdle of sorts—by integrating wellness into their routines. In the modern world we live in filled with anxiety, pressure, and obscene amounts of competition, wellness in all of its forms is an outlet.”

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