I’ve been waiting for a quiet afternoon to crack open the cover of Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon From 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond. Just moments into the book, I was a little disappointed to discover that the Writer’s Note at the beginning abruptly ended mid-sentence, but I chalked this up to a printing error–perhaps just a missing page, though, hmmm, I did notice two “xvi” pages following. Bummer. But putting that aside, Hal’s book is a clear and consise read for someone who is contemplating their first ultra–or for anyone thinking about getting more serious on trails.
The encouraging, how-to tone of Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning, reminds me of Relentless Forward Progress. It contains training advice, such as dealing with technical issues, gear, hydration, increasing mileage, including topics such as advice for runners who don’t live near trails and dealing with animals (and yikes! snakes) on trails. Hal offers valuable “Expert Tips” and discussion questions in shaded text boxs, such as tips about recovery drinks and even an answer to the burning question: Should I shave? When it comes to running with dogs, on and off leash, Hal hits the main points that make for lively running forum discussion and Facebook posts, and advises: “be sensitive.” He talks about using pacers and preparing a crew to help you achieve your goals, race “DNF” disappointment and important topics like dealing with injuries, such as when to bag a race because of one. He dedicates many pages to race day, including preparation and day-of race advice. In the last Chapter, he gives the lowdown on training workouts, and includes a 50K, 50Miles to 100K, and 100 Miles plan.
For someone who is super excited about getting into ultrarunning, who has little off-pavement experience or has yet to run longer distances, this books seems like an incredibly helpful addition to the ol’ running library. However, for someone with a bit of trail running or racing under her/his belt, and who is comfortable off-road, Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning may offer less in the way of fresh ideas–for example, topics like figuring out how to deal with chafing or going to the bathroom outside may be hardly new.
But regardless of whether you’re seasoned or newly minted, run roads or trails, there’s something pretty sweet about reading the advice and wisdom of one of the best ultrarunners (and one known for being the Happiest, too) packed into a book with a glossy and bright enticing cover.
Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning is a definite plus for a runner’s book collection.
Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning
Published August 1, 2014