Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning

Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond

By Hal Koerner


Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning is a comprehensive handbook to ultramarathon training, workouts, nutrition, gear, and training plans.


Ultramarathon doesn’t leave much room for mistakes. Don’t learn the hard way—get a jump on training for an ultramarathon with Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning, a comprehensive handbook to running 30 to 100 miles and beyond, written by one of the most experienced and recognized athletes in the sport.

Hal Koerner is among America’s best ultrarunners with podium results in more than 90 ultramarathons. In his smart, down-to-earth handbook, Koerner shares hard-earned wisdom, field-tested habits, and insider tips to help you prepare for your ultra.

You’ll find guidance on exactly what you need to know to prepare for ultramarathon, including:

  • best gear for ultrarunning
  • fueling and hydration guidelines
  • choosing an ultra
  • trail-running technique
  • first-aid advice
  • beating altitude, storms, and heat
  • race-day game plans
  • crew and pacer tips
  • mental strategies to get you to the finish line
  • three detailed training plans to prepare for 50K, 50-mile to 100K, and 100-mile ultramarathons.

Start your ultra with confidence and finish it strong with Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning!

Foreword by Scott Jurek
Paperback with illustrations throughout.
6″ x 9″, 224 pp., $18.95, 9781937715229

For more trail running and ultramarathon articles and guides from VeloPress books, please visit the Trail Running & Ultrarunning page here

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond

Hal Koerner

Paperback Foreword by Scott Jurek. Charts and illustrations throughout.

Shipping Dimensions: 6.00in x 9.00in x 0.75in 224pp $18.95, Inventory 9781937715229, Shipping 1.00lbs

Writer’s Note
Foreword by Scott Jurek

Why run an ultra? Who can do an ultra? You Know You Are an Ultrarunner If…; Tackling the distance: 50K, 50 miles to 100K, and 100 miles; 50K—steps to increase the 26.2-mile threshold; 50 miles to 100K—time on feet becomes crucial; 100 Miles—putting it all together; choosing your first race; settting a goal

Pace, trail technique, What if I don’t live near trails?, ascending, power hiking, trekking poles in ascents, training for ascending, technique tips for the ascent, intensity training, hill training/strength work, speed work, tempo runs, easy runs, long runs, How long is long?, mileage—quantity vs. quality, preparatory races, recovery/rest days, Am I overtraining?, taper, weight training/core work, Crosstraining—Yes or no?, road and trail—mixing it up, stretching, Do I need a coach?

One guy’s fueling strategy, How many calories do I need to run an ultra, What nutrition do I need?, gels, gel alternatives, fat-based chews, fruit-based chews, baby food, energy chews, sports bars, salt, sodium content, a word about whole foods, nutrition-dense and portable whole food options, caffeine, hydration, water vs. sports drinks, recovery drinks, recovery drink ideas, beer

Shoes, Do I need a trail-specific shoe? Are my shoes worn out? Clothing, performance, a short word about socks, gaiters, compression, hydration: packs vs. water bottles, trekking poles, flashlight/headlamp, choosing a headlamp, watch, GPS, GPS: a caveat, music, Hal’s playlist

Preventing and caring for small injuries, blisters, blisters—preventive measures, toenails, Hal’s Manity Kit, chafing, Should I shave? Rolled ankle, kinesiology tape, cuts and bruising, pain relievers, tummy troubles, vomiting, Why do I feel sick and how should I deal with it during a race? Diarrhea, kidney failure, hyponatremia, cramping, Am I racing too much?

Technical vs. nontechnical trail, running in mud, running on ice, running in snow, water crossing, running at altititude, tips for better breathing at altitude, altitude sickness, lightning, cold/heat management, cold, hypothermia, heat, heatstroke, going to the bathroom, when you have to go—a few tips, animals, safety tips in the wild, snakes on the trail, watch out for stingers, running with dogs, going off trail, trash on the trail, getting lost, drinking from natural water sources, drinking unfiltered water—a few tips, night running, tips for running at night

Traveling to your race, warming up before the race, preparing your crew and pacers, check the rules, crew, pacers, What makes a good pacer? Muling, Should I go it alone? Drop bags, fueling and hydrating during a race, dining chez aid station, fluid—What, how and when to drink, monitoring weight loss during a race, pace on race day, cutoff times, mental focus on race day—tips and strategies, talking on the run, nasal strips, racing with friends, passing on singletrack, DNF: when enough is enough, tips for how and when to make the call, cooling down after the race, Top 10 Must Do’s on Race Day, Top 10 Do Nots on Race Day

Intensity workouts; tempo runs; fartleks; hill repeats; training races;, the plans: 50K, 50 miles to 100K, and 100 miles; training plans and setbacks

Afterword. What’s next?
About the Author

Preview book.

“Whether you are a newbie ultramarathoner or a season veteran, Hal’s down-to-earth advice will give you the confidence to get to the finish line or set a personal best.” — Scott Jurek

“Hal’s Field Guide is a comprehensive guide to all things ultra. It typifies the man himself—a wealth of information, devoid of self-promotion. A near-limitless body of knowledge that, if you were sharing a trail with him, Hal would gladly share.” — UltraRunning magazine

“Hal Koerner has a formula for fitness and life that keeps him winning and smiling. So follow his lead—just don’t try to keep up.” — Outside magazine

“Hal’s honest, personal take is helpful and approachable for beginner and intermediate ultrarunners…Best for beginners or any athletes who need a quick reference on ‘what if’ situations.” — TrailRunner magazine

“Ultra-distance champion Hal Koerner serves up amazing insights for training, gear, fueling and trail techniques in this comprehensive book.” — Competitor magazine

“Hal Koerner’s ultra career was started deliberately, and, with plenty of mentors, he became one of the torchbearers of a new generation of trail fiends.” — Runner’s World magazine

“Koerner brings both personal athletic credentials and a knowledge of the importances of equipment choices to his subject…A single-volume source for info on training and gear.” — Canadian Running

“American ultrarunner Hal Koerner has written a comprehensive guide to this booming part of the sport.” — Athletics Weekly

“A how-to manual chock full of valuable information for newbie and veteran ultramarathoners alike.” — Competitor.com

“Koerner’s book is the first ultrarunning nuts-and-bolts offering, and might just as well have been titled ‘Everything you always wanted to know about how to run 100 miles but were afraid to ask.’” — MailTribune.com

“Ultra running champions like Koerner make it look easy.” — Competitor magazine

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