10 Must-Watch Running Documentaries

10 Must-Watch Running Documentaries | happyfitmama.com

There’s nothing like a great running documentary to get me pumped up.

Whether it’s something to pass the time while I’m on the treadmill, resting my butt on the couch after a long run, or if I’m looking for inspiration to get that same butt out the door. Running documentaries give me ALL the feels. I’m not going to lie, tears were shed while watching at least 8 of the following films.

So if you are looking for motivation or you just love running and can’t get enough of it, these films are for you.

Warning: You are going to want to run after watching these films.

Life in a Day

I had chills watching this film as soon as the opening sequence started.  It follows four badass women running Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race who each had four very different race experiences. They encounter the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs but leave you with pure inspiration to tackle whatever obstacle you face in your day.

Western Time

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and then you will smile wider than your face will allow. Sally McRae is one of my fav runners. She keeps it real but motivates you to keep climbing the mountains in your life. Her roller coaster run at Western States is unbelievable.

15 Hours with Amelia Boone

Amelia Boone is best known for her Obstacle Course wins but also runs ultras although she considers herself a “newbie”. This film follows her during her first race after a major injury that had her sidelined for a very long time. It’s total inspiration for when you are faced with returning to racing after an injury and all the chatter that’s in your mind.

Breaking 2

I love the science behind this documentary about breaking 2 hours in the marathon. It’s amazing to watch what the human body can accomplish.

Run Wild

The Spice Girls may have started it but this film screams GIRL POWER. Every time, I watch it, I want to round up a group of badass lady runners, hit the road or the trail and ask “Where can our legs take us today?”

The Barkley Marathons

This has to be one of the oddest races ever which is why there’s so much interest in it. Get the scoop on the race that has had less than a dozen finishers in it’s history.

Spirit of the Marathon

If you are losing faith in the human race, watch a marathon. There’s no doubt this film will give you inspiration for whatever race you are running. And it’s entertaining to look back at what we used to wear for running clothes.  Thank God for new technology! 🙂

Finding Traction

If you want to see grit and determination, Nikki Kimball is your gal. She’s one of the pioneers in women’s ultra running. This documentary follows her attempt at the FKT of Vermont’s 273 mile Long Trail with it’s gnarly roots and rocks.  Even if you never want to run an ultra or step foot on a trail, this film is pure inspiration to get out there and go after what you want.

Wonderland: Gary Robbins FKT Around Mount Rainer

I don’t know what I love more about this film – the determination of Gary to crush the FKT or Ginger Runner’s filming and voice over.  It’s all well done!

Courtney Dauwalter: Ultra Runner

If you don’t know who Courtney Dauwalter is, you should.  She’s an ultra runner who runs in basketball shorts and breaks all the “rules” of running.  She does not have a coach, does not record her miles, doesn’t use a fancy watch and basically has no training plan other than to run and have fun, yet is breaking records left and right.

What’s your fav running documentary?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.

Last Week’s Workouts

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Last week’s workouts didn’t involve a heat wave but I brought the heat with upping the intensity of my workouts.  With my Achilles feeling SO much better, I’m gradually increasing the intensity to prepare for spring, summer and fall races.  Last week opened up the lottery for the Mount Washington Road Race. I put my name in but if I don’t get picked, I’ve got lots of other options for some crazy, mountain fun.


When I go to the gym, I’m not there to socialize.  I only have a short amount of time so I’m all business – earbuds in and moving quickly from one exercise to the next. I rarely talk to anyone even though most of the early morning crowd are regulars like me. I met a fellow early bird on Sunday at my running club’s membership expo. She told me that I look “so different with make-up on”.  Is that a compliment or should I be offended?  Lol!

32 minutes stepmill ladder workout

DB bench press

DB pull over

Eccentric pull ups

Banded pull ups

Med ball slams

SL deadlift with DB press

mountain legs:

barbell squat (20 reps)

side lunge touch w/ balance (10/side)

barbell squat (15)

reverse lunge to SL stand (10/side)

barbell squat (12)

walking lunge w/ med ball Russian twist (10/side)

barbell squat (10)

speed skaters (10/side)

barbell squat (8)

bench split squat (10/side)

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com


Morning Flow Yoga @ Bending Bodhi

60 minute run, 7 miles, 8:41 avg pace

After running 1 minute pick ups last week, I wanted to test the waters a little more by increasing the time to 2 minutes.  Why does 2 minutes seem so short on paper but when you are actually running it’s SO LONG?  And then the 3 minute recovery is gone in a flash?  That’s just not right. I squeezed in this workout in the afternoon before the snow started to fly.  Thankfully, this brown, frozen dirt is now covered in snow.  It’s still winter so let’s keep the snow a little longer please.

Last week's workouts } happyfitmama.com


I woke up to freezing rain on top of the 6 inches of snow we received over night.  Rather than mess with possibly treacherous roads, I opted for a basement workout.

15 minutes recumbent bike

dynamic warm up/mobility

40 sec work, 20 sec rest x 4 of the following:

alternating single arm KB swing with lateral lunge

KB swing to curtsy lunge

push up to bear crawl row


glute bridge DB pull over

DB weighted single leg jackknife


Morning Flow Yoga @ Bending Bodhi

50 minute run, 5.44 miles, 9:11 avg pace

The snow/freezing rain from Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, along with melting during the day resulted in some slick conditions for Thursday’s run. The roads were fine but the sidewalks were treacherous.  I’m amazed that Kyle, Charles or I didn’t fall during the run.  Ironically, I did wipe out while walking home from dropping my kids off at school.  I’m glad I could provide some entertainment for the drop off line.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com


30 minute run, 3.4 miles, 9:01 avg pace

Strength training:

Cable flys

Pulley skiers

Eccentric pull ups

Banded pull ups

Bench step ups w/ KB press

SL KB deadlift

Renegade KB rows

Overhead DB march w/ high knees

Med ball slams

I had a short window of time after the gym to squeeze in a 30 minute run.  I made the most of it by tackling a series of 4 hilly streets that run parallel to each other.  It’s amazing how much easier the hills feel compared to two weeks ago.  Noticed I said easier, not easy.  They’ll never be easy.  Lol!


Rest day!

Welcome the newest member of our family, Max!  He’s a two year old yellow lab that we got from a rescue in Texas.  He’s the biggest love bug!  I think I’ll have an excellent running buddy on the roads and trails but first we need to work on his leash skills.  He is SO strong and full of energy.  The boy needs to run! 🙂

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com


8 mile run, 8:51 avg pace

Kyle and I didn’t intend for this to be a faster pace run but we got on the subject of politics again.  That always makes our legs speed up!  Lol! There were a few treacherous icy spots that slowed us down.  I’m so over ice.  It was a gorgeous sunny morning with good conversation and happy miles – Sunday Funday indeed.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

How was your week in workouts?

Linking up with Hoho and Wendy for the weekly workout wrap up.

4 Cross Training Workouts for Runners

Cross training workouts for runners | happyfitmama.com

Before running became such a big part of who I am, I was a gym rat. I loved cardio equipment, weights and classes such as step and yoga. I loved having a variety of workout options so I never got bored. Then I got rid of my gym membership right around the time running and I became serious. My variety changed but I still did weights at home, cycle outside or on a trainer, hiked and occasionally would take Barre or Yoga classes at a studio.

About 2 years ago, I went back to the gym and am still cross training.

Cross training has never been an issue for me. It’s what I like. While I love running, I need some variety in my workouts Variety is the spice of running for me. I’m not someone who can run six or seven days a week.  My muscles and joints need a break from pounding the pavement and trails otherwise I end up injured. With cross training, I get that break and am able to use different muscles and movements that enhance my running.

Cross training workouts for runners | happyfitmama.com

A lot of hard core runners advocate that there is no cross training in running. It’s only a thing to do when you are battling an injury. When I attended the RRCA coaching certification workshop years ago, there was a hot debate about cross training.  The instructor was adamant that runners did not need cross training. His explanation – If you want to improve your running, you need to run. It’s the law of specificity. I agree with that but I personally need other activities in my life even during training. It makes me happy and keeps me running longer!  Plus, I think you are more likely to have over use injuries if that’s all you do.

The short answer  – do what works best for you.

With all of my run coaching clients, I encourage cross training. There certainly is no down side to adding cross training to your running.  The benefits definitely are plenty.

So what exactly is cross training for runners?

There are many forms of cross training. At the gym, it could be cycling, the Arc Trainer, Elliptical, Stepmill, treadmill walking, pool running or swimming. These activities in some way mimic running but also work muscle groups that aren’t necessarily used while running.  That can mean picking an activity that uses the same muscles that are used in running or it can be an aerobic exercise that works the cardiovascular system in a similar way.

Equipment like the bike, elliptical and of course, pool running, helps build muscle endurance in the quads, hamstrings and glutes – the same muscles used in running.  It also helps with leg turnover if cadence/rpm is equivalent to running.

If you live in a cold climate, skate skiing and snowshoeing are also great winter cross training activities.

Will these activities make you a better runner?  Studies say no BUT it will help increase or maintain your cardiovascular endurance. So for overall fitness, it’s a good deal.

Here are 4 cross training workouts that can help any runner whether it’s while battling an injury or supplementing their running.

Elliptical Sprint Workout } happyfitmama.com

Beginner's swim workout } happyfitmama.com

Stepmill workout | happyfitmama.com

Treadmill hike | happyfitmama.com

Do you cross train?

What’s your favorite way?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.