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10 Running Movies to Ease Those Sore Muscles

By Agent Bedhead | Seriously Random Lists | October 23, 2012 | Comments ()


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Those of you who happen to follow me on Twitter will know that I've developed quite a nasty habit of chattering about my upcoming road race that has involved six months of training (so far). Long story short -- I'm signed up for the Route 66 half marathon, and it's kind of a big deal in my own head because it's the first real race that I've run beyond the occasional 5K, and those races tend to be themed and annoying because they often involve chugging beer at certain points or eating a corndog halfway through the race. In other words, gross.

Hence this half marathon. Of course, my schedule as a blogger is kind of whack, so I'm not following a "proper" training program like Runner's World advocates. Instead, I've been doing 4 miles each day (Monday through Thursday) and then a huge 13.1 mile run each Saturday to prepare for the eventuality of embarrassing myself on race day. Speedwork and hillwork are also included, and the entire process is one of solitude (which is kind of nice and meditative) but also a total bitch, especially on those long Saturday runs. As one might imagine, I've been largely spending my Sundays laid up on the couch complaining about my sore muscles ... while watching movies that revolve around or heavily feature running. Here are the most motivating additions to my queue, and maybe the fellow runners out there might have a few additional suggestions to fill the month before race day:

Prefontaine: Sometimes, a little bit of cockiness can be outweighed by charisma, and Steve Prefontaine delivered upon his promises by pushing limits to their breaking point. Not even a blonde and 'stached Jared Leto could manage to ruin the inspirational nature of this movie about the legendary track star.

Chariots of Fire: This is quite possibly the most iconic film on the subject of running, and its legacy continues despite the annoying theme song that feels like a clich&caute; at this point. Corny song, sure, but the movie is a winning tale of personal struggles that can be overcome through victory.

Spirit of the Marathon: Here's my requisite documentary for the list, which follows the preparations of six runners (two elite) for the Chicago marathon. It's not pretty, but sports training seldom is. While I'm not much of documentary buff, the work that went into making this particular doc may just rival the training process itself.

Forrest Gump: Run Forrest, run! The protagonist so lovingly portrayed by Tom Hanks could "run like the wind" and initially used the practice to avoid bullies and then to play football. Then when his girl, Jenny, rejects him, he runs across the country because he "just felt like running." Yeah, it made me cry a little bit.

Marathon Man: Here, Dustin Hoffman stars as a Jewish marathon runner who has "truly gone the distance" after seeking revenge against against the Nazi war criminal who killed his brother. What a great thriller.

The Running Man: At the height of Arnold Schwarzenegger's action career, he starred as a military pilot wrongly convicted of multiple deaths. Naturally, he ends up fighting for his life in a televised arena and kicks all kind of ass in the process. Arguably, this is Arnold at his best even if it was an overall crappy adaptation of Stephen King's novel.

The Jericho Mile: This movie is actually rather depressing and revolves around a man (again, wrongly) convicted of first-degree murder who gets a shot at qualifying to run in the Olympics. He clocks a superior time but ends up getting shut down by the man.

Run Fat Boy Run: David Schwimmer kind of dropped the ball when he directed this film that carried so much promise (as films starring Simon Pegg often do). Here, Pegg plays a character who never finishes anything, but he sets out to face his problems instead of running away from them, and part of his newfound resolve includes running a marathon. This is a movie where "hitting the wall" has never been so intensely personal and amusing at the same time.

Run Lola Run: Adrenaline is the name of the game in this movie where Lola must try to save her boyfriend through three different scenarios where the twists and turns of fate and the ticking of time will have their way. With the aid of an incredibly intense score, this movie is hard to sit down while watching.

The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner: Not to be confused by the Iron Maiden song, this movie stars Tom Courtenay in one of his first roles as a troubled youth who uses his power as a runner as a means of refusing to yield to corrupted authority.

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • LibraryChick

    I've never run long enough to get into a zen meditating state or the amazing endorphin rush, but I always liked the Animatrix sequence about the runner because he figured it all out and went for it, consequences be damned.

  • Where's Logans Run? "Run runner!!"

  • mograph

    How about "Running" (1979) with Michael Douglas?

  • Brian K

    Good luck on the training. I'd add Running the Sahara and Saint Ralph to your list of motivational running flicks. I watched Running the Sahara almost daily while I was training for a marathon and it never failed to inspire me before a long run.

  • Good luck, Bedhead. I did a half-marathon a few years back, but I did it with semi-busted shins. Needless to say it finished off the job and I haven't run since. Cycling's the trip now, but I still remember the rush of crossing that finish line. I think for the final third I was powered purely by will power but I'm sure you're more prepared than that. But yeah, good luck! Do it for zeke's busted shins.

  • BWeaves

    After watching the prequel "Prefontaine," I'm still waiting for the sequel "Postfontaine."

    I LOVE Chariots of Fire. Now I'll have that hymn in my head all afternoon.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    I know everyone hates Mel Gibson, but Apocalypto was also a really great running movie.... well a "chase" movie... but there is a lot of running in it! Sometimes when you need that extra encouragement (like at mile 12) it is good to imagine someone (something) chasing you.

    Good luck! and thank you... I need to start running again.

    ...well... I call it running it is actually a really slow jog... those bad guys would get me for sure!

  • Samantha Klein

    Holy crap. That is some intense training. You are going to ROCK your race, for sure. I just ran my first half-marathon a couple of weekends ago, and it was a great experience. :) Fun list!

  • Sweep The Leg

    What?...No "Gallipoli" or "Personal Best" ???

  • hasshole

    The last shot in Gallipoli made me cry.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Me too... like for an hour after the credits were over.

  • Lee

    My son and I sat there bawling for about half an hour after it finished - it was pathetic.

  • Without Limits is the better Prefontaine movie, IMHO. Crudup > Leto, plus Donald Sutherland as Bill Bowerman. A nice little glimpse of the birth of Nike, and minimal overly melodramatic story arc.

    I spent three years in Eugene, OR, and his legacy still is as strong as ever there. I have extra fondness for a small town kid who makes a splash, especially with chip firmly on shoulder.

  • lowercase

    Oof, I've got a race coming up in December and Texas has not been kind with training weather. Could definitely do with some of these ...

  • BobbFrapples

    I'm doing my second 5K and my first zombie run this November. I just put several of these titles into my Netflix queue! Run Fat Boy Run is one of my favorites.

  • SugarSmak

    Thanks for this list! I personally love "Run Fat Boy Run" and have "Spirit of the Marathon" in one of my queues. Good luck with your race! I'm training right now for my 11th half marathon (the EPCOT Wine and Dine - because nothing goes better with physical fitness than craft beer and decadent food). For someone who was actually ranked as the worst runner in Florida my senior year of high school and the owner of two horrible knees, this is quite an accomplishment. You may get addicted...trust me, it's not a bad one to have!

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