Book Review: Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultra Running: Training for an Ultramarathon from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond

Field Guide

C and I were out doing errands a few weeks ago and ended up at Barnes & Noble to pick up some new reading material for the beach. Naturally, I drifted over to the running books to see if anything grabbed my attention. I settled on Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultra Running: Training for an Ultramarathon from 50K to 100 miles and beyond. I found the book to be an easy, enjoyable, educational read that will serve as a great resource in the future.

Truth be told, what really drew me to the book was the author himself. Hal’s running resume is incredible. 120+ ultramarathon finishes, finishing in the top 3 in roughly 75% of them – including wins at Hardrock and Western States. Equally as cool is how Hal gives back to the sport, as the owner of Rouge Valley Runners, and by being the race director of some of southern Oregon’s premier trail races, including the Pine to Palm 100.

Much like other field books , the field guide covers everything you’d need to know to get started—or stronger—at trail running. Nutrition, pacing, ascending/descending strategies, hydration tips, injuries, race day prep, and post-race recovery techniques … this book covers all that, along with so much more. While all that information was helpful—and will surely be referenced in the future—I most enjoyed Hal talking about his personal experiences during some of his most memorable runs.

I think that’s a unique thing about runners. That we enjoy hearing about other people’s running adventures nearly as much as we love experiencing our own. At some parts in the book you felt like you could completely relate to Hal and how he felt – because you’ve likely experienced a similar feeling in one of your races. I loved that component of the book.

For me, there was some invaluable information on running at altitude and dealing with extreme heat … two things that have been issues for me in previous races. There are also some great training plans for races ranging from 50K to 100 milers … something I definitely plan to utilize in the future.

Whether you’re looking to get on the trails for the first time, are interested moving up in distance, or are simply wanting to gain some knowledge and insight from one of the top names in the sport, Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultra Running is a great resource to help you get started, get better, and get inspired to get out there.

Take care,

G

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