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  • Ashlander's book is a definitive guide to ultrarunning

  • To get noticed in the running and jogging book market — Amazon currently lists 2,154 titles — a new entry must offer something truly different or be written by a well-known runner. Or both.
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  • To get noticed in the running and jogging book market — Amazon currently lists 2,154 titles — a new entry must offer something truly different or be written by a well-known runner. Or both.
    Enter "Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond," by Ashland ultrarunner and businessman Hal Koerner and Running Times editor Adam Chase.
    Among the current running titles on the market, you'll find several ultrarunning memoirs — such as Scott Jurek's "Eat and Run" and Killian Jornet's "Run or Die" — and a plethora of how-to books about running your first 5K or marathon.
    Koerner's book, however, 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."
    Koerner certainly has the trail cred to pen such a tome. With 16 years as a top competitor under his belt, he has completed 140 ultramarathons — 90 of those with podium finishes. He has notched 14 victories at the 100-mile distance he set the fastest known times for multi-day runs on both the Colorado Trail and the John Muir Trail.
    Though seasoned ultrarunners will pick up plenty of tips from the book, it is marketed for beginners and those on the outside peering in at the sport.
    "It's a how-to book, a journey into trail running," Koerner says. "To quell some of the trepidation people might have of it: What do I do to get into it? What to expect?"
    Ultrarunning is different from road running in two fundamental ways: The extended time needed to train for and complete a race, and the remoteness of many of the courses. There's a lot of ground to cover in this 202-page book, and Koerner and Chase have chosen breadth over depth.
    If you go too in-depth, says Koerner, "Sometimes you lose people. We wanted it to be something where you just open it up and go to a certain page, whether it's the environment, race strategy or nutrition "¦ It's not necessarily a front-to-back book."
    The book features topics you'd expect to find in road-running books, such as training tips and race strategies. You'll also find subjects here that would never cross your mind were you to unlace your shoes on the pavement at 26.2 miles, including dealing with extreme weather, running on technical trails, wilderness first aid, fueling and hydration during a race, and working with your crew and pacers. If you're planning on running through the night in the wilderness, you'll be safer and have more confidence if you've read Koerner's tips on dealing with snow, ice, thunderstorms, and an ornery moose.
    Along the way Koerner injects a few lessons from the school of hard knocks from his own racing career — as teaching tools — such as knowing when to call it quits after rolling an ankle or creative ways to mitigate painful chafing.
    While explaining a sport known for its painful later stages, Koerner manages to inject humor, whether he's extolling beer as the perfect recovery beverage, Viagra as an aid to running at altitude, or Texans as wild animals you might meet on the trail.
    The four standard ultra distances are 50 kilometers, 50 miles, 100 kilometers and 100 miles. You'll find 16-week training plans for each of these distances on these pages, something you'll be hard-pressed to find in other running books. Koerner has tailored the plans for first-timers rather than elites, showing his readers that training might not be as impossible as it sounds.
    "The distance is terribly daunting," Koerner explains. "Some people might think that to run 100 miles in a race you have to run 100 miles in training, or 50 miles — that's not necessarily the case. Eventually you do, but that's the end goal."
    Koerner is the owner of the Ashland specialty shoe store Rogue Valley Runners, and an athlete with a running shoe contract who has won many of the big races in his sport. He's also a new father who has recently dialed back his training regimen. As he looks ahead, one of his goals is to make ultrarunning accessible to a larger number of runners.
    "There's also a place for those millions of people who are running half-marathons and marathons. They don't know about trail running, they don't know about ultrarunning," Koerner says. "Once it's opened up to them — the idea of running on soft surfaces, running in beautiful places, in the mountains, on trails and still having something be good for your body, but knowing how to pace yourself for it and what to expect — is what the book is a about."
    "Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning" is published by Velopress. The price $18.95.
    <I>Daniel Newberry is a freelance writer living in the Applegate Valley. Email him at dnewberry@jeffnet.org</I>
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