Review of Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning

“The feeling usually hits me hard a little past the halfway point of a race. You are so exposed at that point, physically and mentally. There is so much behind you, yet so much ahead. It is daunting. And thrilling. An ultra forces you to put yourself out there, and it is that all-or-nothing feeling that I love. When you finally cross the finish line, the feeling of having triumphed over not just the many physical hurdles, but also the even more formidable ones of uncertainty and doubt, is like none other. I still shake my head in wonder and think, Wow, I can’t believe I just did that. Now that’s a good day.

? Hal Koerner, Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning

I was skeptical about this book because I wasn’t sure what it could offer that was not already covered in Byron Powell’s “Relentless Forward Progress,” which is often accepted as the must read guide to ultrarunning. As I read, it quickly became apparent that this book makes a great companion (or stand alone, even) guide to ultrarunning.

Hal Koerner’s ultrarunning credentials are hard to beat. He has notable wins at the Western States Endurance Run (2), Hardrock Hundred, Angeles Crest (2), just to name a few.

The writing style of the book is very straight forward and engaging. It’s an easy read. He also tells information in way of sharing what works for him. It may not work for everyone and he doesn’t claim that his way is the only way. I really love the expert tips and firsthand experience he offers. He also shares some of his mistakes, making you realize he’s human, rather than some perfect ultrarunning elite.

It’s a great guide to help your prepare for an ultra, including detailed training plans. There are plans for 50k, 50m-100k, and 100m distances. In addition to training, there is information on nutrition/hydration, gear, do’s and do nots on race day, and much more.

In addition to ultras, there’s great information for running in general (especially trail running).

I recommend this book if you are interested in running an ultra or you are already an ultrarunner. This book brought some things to my attention that I can work on and also some tips to implement in future training sessions and race days.


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