Krissy Moehl, one the most accomplished ultra runners in the last 15 years, has jumped into the publishing world with her first book, “Running Your First Ultra”. Krissy has a long list of accomplishments that are well recognized in the sport, including wins at UTMB, the Wasatch 100, Hardrock 100 and a number of FKT’s. In addition, Krissy is one of the most giving and caring athletes in the world today.
Having interacted with Krissy over the last few years, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for her as a person and ambassador for the sport of ultra marathoning. Unfortunately, after reading the book I felt frustrated for Krissy. Without investigating the writing process or editorial decisions surrounding the book, I feel as though there was an editing let down. It’s the editors job to polish, shape and push the author toward the best work possible. The book could be better, much better. That said, the training plans and sporadic informational tidbits do provide value to those entering the sport of ultra running.
Let me speak to the main issues I found with “Running Your First Ultra”. First, the organization of the content is extremely obvious. The need for constant references to other parts of the book should have been an easy catch for any editor. Even more frustrating, the references take you constantly from front to back. The book simply does not flow.
The second issue with the book is the lack of detailed content for any of the topics covered. There should be pages where there are paragraphs. For the aspiring ultra runner, there are numerous considerations that have limited content or only anecdotal stories. Detailed examination and science was simply left out of the content.
Finally, I want to mention one last glaring item that I can not reconcile. There’s a 100 mile training plan for “Running Your First Ultra”. Without getting into the obvious argument let me just say, training for a hundred miler could and should have been an entirely separate book.
There are positive points for the book. First, the content has nuggets of good advice peppered across the pages. Second, the training plans are solid; while they will make sure you complete, they are solidly focused on competing.
I offer the following suggestions for use of this book. Read, reread and take notes; there’s good information but you have to dig and organize it for yourself. Also, there are many good tips within the days workout; read all of these prior to starting the plan. Many of the tips are applicable for workouts earlier than presented. Finally, think about how the program fits into your schedule and how your body will respond to it; never follow any training plan blindly.
In the end, Krissy brings forth some useful information and training plans based off currently accepted training principles. While it falls down in many areas, it can still provide enough value insights to justify the cost as well as the time to read it.
What books would you recommend as better organized and more worthwhile reads for runners who are training for their first ultra?