Training Essentials for Ultrarunning

How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance

By Jason Koop, Jim Rutberg


Jason Koop, coach to elite ultrarunners, reveals his highly effective method of training for ultramarathon.


When elite ultrarunners have a need for speed, they turn to coach Jason Koop. Now the sport’s leading coach makes his highly effective ultramarathon training methods available to ultrarunners of all abilities in his book Training Essentials for Ultrarunning.

Ultramarathoners have traditionally piled on the miles or tried an approach that worked for a friend. Yet ultramarathons are not just longer marathons; simply running more will not prepare you for the race experience you want. Ultramarathon requires a new and specific approach to training. Training Essentials for Ultrarunning will revolutionize training for those who want to race an ultramarathon instead of just gutting it out to the finish line.

Koop’s race-proven ultramarathon program is based on sound science, the most current research, and years of experience coaching the sport’s star runners to podium performances. Packed with practical advice and vetted training methods, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is the new, must-have resource for first-timers and ultramarathon veterans.

Runners using Training Essentials for Ultrarunning will gain much more than Koop’s training approach:

  • The science behind ultramarathon performance.
  • Common ultramarathon failure points and how to solve them.
  • How to use interval training to focus workouts, make gains, reduce injuries, and race faster.
  • Simple, effective fueling and hydration strategies.
  • Koop’s A.D.A.P.T. method for making the right decisions to solve a race-day crisis.
  • How to plan your ultra season for better racing.
  • Course-by-course coaching guides to iconic U.S. ultramarathons including American River 50, Badwater 135, Hardrock 100, Javelina 100, JFK 50, Lake Sonoma 50, Leadville 100, Vermont 100, Wasatch 100, and Western States 100.
  • How to achieve your goal, whether it’s finishing or winning.

A revolution is coming to ultrarunning as ultramarathoners shed old habits and embrace the smarter methods that science and experience show are better. Featuring stories and advice from ultrarunning stars Dakota Jones, Kaci Lickteig, Dylan Bowman, Timothy Olson, and others who work with Koop, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is the go-to guide for first-time ultrarunners and competitive ultramarathoners.

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

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning: How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance
Jason Koop with Jim Rutberg
Paperback. Two-color interior with charts and tables throughout.
7 3/8″ x 9 1/4″, 352 pp., $21.95, 9781937715458

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning: How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance

Jason Koop, Jim Rutberg

Paperback. Two-color interior with charts and tables throughout.

Shipping Dimensions: 7.38in x 9.25in x .8in 352pp $21.95, Inventory 9781937715458, Shipping 1.6lbs

Foreword by Dean Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man

1 The Ultrarunning Revolution: The Big Ideas, Starting from Scratch, Cracking the Code, Top Four Training Mistakes in Ultrarunning, What You Need to Get It Right, Why the .5 Percent Matters, The Cast of Characters

2 The High-Performance Ultrarunner: Characteristics of Elite Ultrarunners, Your Priorities

3 The Physiology of Building a Better Engine: Energy Systems, Principles of Training

4 Failure Points and How to Fix Them: Science of Ultrarunning, Common Limiters, GI Issues, Blisters, Muscular Breakdown, Fatigue

5 The Four Disciplines of Ultrarunning: Biomechanics, Run or Hike?, Training Each of the Four Disciplines of Ultrarunning, Body Weight, Should I Use Poles?, Uphill Intervals

6 The Technology of Ultrarunning: Tools, Popular Training Logs and their Flaws

7 Train Smarter, Not More: The Five Workout Components, Measuring and Personalizing Training Intensity, Perceived Exertion, Key Ultramarathon Workouts

8 Organizing Your Training: The Long-Range Plan, Choosing Your Event, Principles to Plan Your Ultramarathon Training

9 Activating Your Training: The Short-Range Plan, Guiding Principles, Back-to-Back Hard Days, Tapering

10 Fueling and Hydrating for the Long Haul: Essential Elements of Ultramarathon Sports Nutrition, Fluids and Daily Hydration, Before/During/After Workouts, Avoiding GI Distress, The Bull’s-Eye Nutrition Strategy, Balancing Hydration and Sodium

11 Creating Your Personal Race Strategies: Outcome vs. Process Goals, Effort-Based Race-Day Strategy, Race-Day Nutrition Strategy, Supplements and Ergogenic Aids, Koop’s ADAPT system for problem solving

12 Racing Wisely: How Many Races Do You Need?

13 Coaching Guide to North American Ultras: American River 50 / Badwater 135 / Hardrock 100 / Javelina Jundred / JFK 50 / Lake Sonoma 50 / Leadville Trail 100 / Vermont 100 / Wasatch Front 100 / Western States 100


Appendix: The Long-Range Plan

References and Further Reading



About the Authors

Preview book.

Ultrarunning Magazine’s TOP PICK

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is a breakthrough work that brings together sound scientific principles and years of coaching experience to create the definitive training manual of our time.” — Dean Karnazes, ultrarunner and author of Ultramarathon Man

“Jason Koop masterfully communicates complex science in a way that everyone can understand. So if you’re looking for a technical guide to ultras, look no further than Training Essentials for Ultrarunning.” – Bryon Powell, founder of and author of Relentless Forward Progress

“The best training manual ever written for our sport…Never before has the science of running ultra distances been evaluated and explored in the way that Koop does it in this book…This book may revolutionize how we train for and race long distances…In a word, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is brilliant.” — Ultrarunning magazine

“Jason Koop is one of ultrarunning’s most successful coaches.” — TrailRunner magazine

“Follow the principles Koop outlines and you will not only run your ultra, but own it as well.” — American Trail Running Association

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is a look inside the mind of the guy responsible for getting the world’s best ultrarunners to the podium.” — Outside

“A scientific and performance-oriented approach to ultra training and racing… Invaluable for any level of running.” — Competitor

“Many ultrarunners don’t train with a coach [because] most coaches have not raced 100 miles. Not so for Koop, who is an ultramarathon vet and understands what it takes to succeed.” — Elevation Outdoors

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is best for intermediate to advanced ultrarunners looking for science-driven information and in-depth explanations of training concepts.” — TrailRunner magazine

“Everyone has an inexhaustible well of grit, guts, and determination, but great training helps, too. If you want to come to Leadville and succeed, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is a book you need to read.” – Ken Chlouber, founder of the Leadville Trail 100 Run

“Having Jason Koop as a coach has been exactly what I needed in order to train properly both physically and mentally.” – Kaci Lickteig, 2016 Western States Winner and 2016 Ultrarunning Magazine Ultrarunner of the Year

“Jason Koop ended up being the most important component of my 50/50.” — Dean Karnazes, ultrarunner and author of Ultramarathon Man

“Having Koop as my coach has simplified and amplified my training to new heights.” – Timothy Olson, professional ultrarunner and Western States 100 course record holder

“Jason has helped me to be the best athlete I can be, which has often involved mental and emotional training as much as physical. I’m pretty much a wreck without him.” – Dakota Jones, professional ultrarunner

“Coach Koop is quietly one of the most influential people in the sport of ultrarunning.” – Dylan Bowman, The North Face athlete, 3x Top Ten Finisher at Western States

“One of the preeminent ultrarunning coaches globally…Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is Koop’s offering to those beginning in the sport and those who’ve completed countless ultras the distillation of his philosophy and approach to ultrarunning training and race preparation.” — Impact magazine

“I have been waiting a long time for a book like Jason Koop’s excellent new release, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning. Koop fills a gap in the literature with this comprehensive resource for high-performance ultrarunning, written for serious ultrarunners and coaches.” — Sarah Lavender Smith, The Runner’s Trip

“Every once in a while a training book is published that stands out as a likely candidate to become a classic. Jason Koop and Jim Rutberg have done just this…Training Essentials for Ultrarunning will take a place next to other classics like Lore of Running, Daniels Running Formula, and Hansons Marathon Method as the “go-to” book for ultrarunning training…It’s a valuable and comprehensive guide that represents a landmark in the unique and quirky realities of training for ultrarunning.” — It’s All About the Vertical

“Coach Koop details how to strategically prioritize preparation for ultras, without being distracted by popular physiological manipulation that leads to marginal performance gains. Coach Koop focuses on metrics the athlete has control over as an ultra runner, with the ultimate goal of the athlete embracing the culture of what it means to be an ultra runner.” – Holden S-H. MacRae, PhD, Professor of Sports Medicine, Pepperdine University and High Performance Physiologist for Red Bull

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