Book Review: Hal Koerner's Guide To Ultrarunning

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Line Kolbe, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. Line Kolbe

    Line Kolbe
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    Barefooters
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    Line Kolbe's review of Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultranunning. Training for an ultramarathon from 50K to 100 miles and beyond. Hal Koerner with Adam W. Chase. Foreword by Scott Jurek. Velopress, 2014.
    Note, through thebarefootrunners.org the publisher has provided a complimentary copy of this book in return for the following review.

    Let me start by telling about my background for writing this review. I feel it's important to know a little about that to get a better understanding of how I've read the book.
    I've been wanting to read this book since I heard about it. A dream of mine is to run ultras and this book seemed like a perfect start to the long journey to becoming an ultra runner. The longest I've ever run is the marathon distance but that is many years ago now. I've done some half marathons lately but they are still a challenge. When I started to read this book I expected to learn everything I needed to know about becoming an ultra runner and I hoped it would give me belief that I would be able to accomplish that.

    The book is just under 200 pages and has 8 chapters:
    1. Getting started, which is about why you'd run an ultra, who can do it, choosing the first race and setting goals and more.
    2. Training, where he gets into pace, trail technique, ascending and descending, strength training, tempo, easy runs, stretching plus a lot more.
    3. Nutrition and hydration, with strategies and alternatives, a lot of info on the different choices of supplements you can get, even caffein and beer is touched here.
    4. Gear, which is about all from shoes to trekking poles, clothes and compression and lamps, watches and gps and more.
    5. Maintenance, self-care and first aid. Here you get to learn about everything from blisters to vomiting and many other conditions you might encounter.
    6. Dealing with your environment, which is about mud, ice, snow, altitude, heat, cold. It's even about getting lost and running with a dog and more.
    7. Race day. Here he gets into every bit about the race day, even from a week up to the race to the recovery afterwards.
    8. Training plans for 50K, 50 miles to 100K and 100 miles. One training plan per page so it's easy to take a copy of it to put up on a wall. He even writes a bit about how to deal with setbacks in the training plans.

    Every chapter is devided into sections with all thinkable information about the subject. All the sections are written in the start of the book in the contents so it's easy to find in the book. This makes it a great manual where you can look for a something specific, find it and read about just that. Or you can read it from the start to finish, just as you would any other book.

    I really like the way Hal Koerner writes. It's like hearing him talk. It's down to earth and enjoyable. He tells a lot of personal stories and mixes them in with the information he wants to give and that makes it a great read. The information is also very detailed leaving nothing left to wonder about. Or let me say it this way: after reading the sections I felt I knew all there was to know about that specific subject. The book caught me and I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading, except for the times I wanted to go for a run to try the different techniques he writes about in the Training chapter.

    It's so filled with information and I learned about all the things I thought I would learn about, plus a lot more. I learned things I didn't even know I needed to learn. I must say that the book lived up to my expectations and even more so. Mostly it made me believe that I can do it too and become an ultra runner. I warmly recommend this book to anyone wanting to become an ultra runner, and also the ones who are already there but want to get better and learn from Hal Koerner, one of the best ultra runners out there.
     
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