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Becoming An Ultra Runner: The Best Books And Gear To Get Started

Last updated: June 1, 2022

Ultrarunning is short for ultramarathon running, which means a runner that covers distances greater than a marathon (26.2 miles, or about 42.2km). While this technically means that anyone who runs 26.3 miles would be considered an ultramarathon runner, this would not do the sport justice or comply with its spirit. An ultramarathon race can typically start at 31 miles and can increase to 50, 80, and even 100 miles. Famous record-holders and races can be found in the list on the Wikipedia page.

In this article, we'll go over the best equipment you should focus on for getting started with ultramarathons, including clothing, books, documentaries, and even the best socks to wear for training and events.

Best Ultra Running Books

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning: Book can be found here. This has to be the number one book dedicated to preparing ultra-runners for ultra marathons. It contains in-depth explanations and science-driven concepts to explain how top runners, such as Dakota Jones winner of a great 50-mile ultramarathon race, got to where they are. The methodology in this book differs from common preparatory concepts such as exercises, stretches, and diet, and focuses on explaining your body as a machine that needs fuel and "proper engine" maintenance.

Best Ultra Running Documentaries

The Source: This documentary focuses on Courtney Dauwalter, a famous ultra-running superstar who took on one of the longest events - the 200 Tahoe. Not only does this documentary cover her training and habits, but it also focuses on her sources of motivation to do what she does. After all, an ultra-marathon pushes you much past your physical body, as you must have a strong desire and a great answer to the question "Why" before attempting to even train for running such long distances. Best of all, it's free and only has a runtime of approximately 30 minutes.

Best Ultraboost For Running

Ultraboost 22: The ultra boost 22 is one of the best running shoes that Adidas has to offer, and is extremely viable for running both long and short distances. This shoe is extremely well known for its soft cushioned soles, making this ideal for those that are not only running often but are incorporating high-impact exercises that will shock their soles, knees, and feet (jumping, cardio, etc). The ultra boost 22 features a foam midsole which creates a comfortably cushioned and bouncy run, while the stiffer torsion systems add responsiveness to your movement. The shoe does not compromise its grip, even after rainfall or heavily wet conditions.

Best Watch For Ultra Running

Polar Vantage V2 Premium Multisport GPS Watch: Ultrarunning is an extreme commitment, and you need extreme equipment. This polar vantage is one of the best top-of-line solutions to an ultramarathon GPS watch that you can get. It is designed to be an all-in-one solution that provides all the information you need when out for your training sessions, including your tournaments. Some of the key features include: tracking heart rate, providing a 40-hour battery time for training, GPS, and keeping track and trends of your performance. The watch aims to help you outside the track, as it follows your sleep patterns and gets insights into your sleep quality, and updates you with recommendations for your diet and sleep.

Best Ultra Thin Running Socks

Balega Hidden Comfort: The most important qualities of a good sock, especially when running an ultra marathon, are thinness, durability, and protection for your feet to avoid blisters, wetness, and other foot ailments. With over 15,800 ratings at the time of this writing, it is extremely available and affordable. These socks can be machine washed, as it contains 75% drynamix polyester, 20% nylon, and 5% elastane. The socks are highly lauded for their moisture avoidance properties and the minimal friction that you feel when running with them on. Paired with the right shoes, you will feel an almost lightweight cushioned support, making your runs easier and lower impact on joints and other areas.

Best Shorts For Ultra Running

Adidas Terrex Aravic Pro Trail Running Shorts: These running shorts are a favorite for long distances, as they are extremely lightweight and versatile. When running for long distances, your primary concerns would be lightweight, preventing chaffing, and having ample storage for your devices and equipment. Three pockets line the waistband and you can carry phones, shirts, and other necessary running equipment that you may need for your long hours of training. The material is not only lightweight but is in concert with Adidas' sustainability mission as 75% of the material is created from recycled material. The shorts are not only light but contain mesh side panels, which help to keep moisture away and prevents friction and chafing of the skin.


How do I start ultramarathon running?

Running, regardless of distance, starts with the same attitude: mental strength to keep on going, as well as having the proper equipment, cardiovascular resources, and stabilizing muscles to carry you the distance. As with any exercise, make sure your diet, sleep, hydration, and recovery are given as much attention as your training. Check out the best running routines and schedules here.

Can running cause lower back pain?

Running can cause pain throughout your entire body and is often attributed to back pain, neck pain, and foot pain. This is largely due to having the correct form, posture, and equipment when running, and not pushing yourself past your limits too quickly. Joint flexibility, as well as stretching your ligaments and muscles will reduce the chance of injury, and learning to run and train with the correct posture will strengthen the correct muscles, further mitigating your risk of detriment to the body.

When running what muscles are used?

Running is a full-body exercise that more or less uses your entire body, whether it is directly for running, stabilizing, rotating, or maintaining your form while in motion. The most targeted and worked muscles would be the core, hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and lower body tendons and ligaments.

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