“The beauty of ultrarunning is its accessibility; ours is a sport that is open to everyone. But the sheer magnitude of 50- and 100-mile races is intimidating to many, and for a long time information about preparing for ultramarathon has been hard to find and largely based on “it worked for me” anecdotes. This is the problem I set out to address when I started coaching ultrarunners more than a decade ago.” – Jason Koop
As the sport of ultrarunning gains in popularity and the subject of coaching comes up, one name is always on the top, Jason Koop. As a Director of Coaching for Carmichael Training Systems (CTS), Koop has established himself as one of the top coaches in the endurance world with a widely successful group of ultra elites such as Dakota Jones, Dylan Bowman, Kaci Lickteig, Timmy Olson and many others. In recent years we’ve seen an increase in running books being published, but there was still a void in the coaching section of the bookstore. Jason Koop, along with Jim Rutberg, have published a book that will stand the test of time, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning: How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance. (Velo Press)
Koop’s book is broken into easy to read chapters (well, you might need to put on your science hat for some of them), and it covers everything from understanding the sport of ultrarunning and the challenges that it brings to adequately preparing your body and mind for those challenges. Koop does an excellent job of explaining his coaching philosophy, and why it makes sense. He covers various workout types, nutrition and hydration. He also goes into great detail to help you develop a training plan that will work for you. Not only is the book filled with valuable information, but it includes many charts that will help you understand what he is talking about. The book guides you through an ultramarathon and it helps you along as you deal with highs and lows, ups and downs, mental and physical. In addition to doing a great job in explaining his coaching philosophy, Koop has also enlisted the help of many of his coaching clients to provide invaluable personal insight into their own training. Koop uses their testimonials and results as evidence of effective training throughout the book.
One of the most intriguing sections of this book was planning and organizing your training plan. Koop presents the information in a logical, easy to understand format. While he does not give you a plan to follow, he gives you all the tools you need to sit down, and do some serious thinking about your future plan. Koop provides readers with detailed explanation of his go to workouts, purpose of each, and general guideline on how you can implement those workouts as you prepare for your next race. He does not tell you that it will be easy, nor that anyone can do it, but he does not tell you it will be impossible either. You will not see many resources out there, that will help you put together an entire year’s worth of training. The mileage, time and effort are up to you to fill in. All the tools you need are presented in these chapters.
What you will find in this book:
– an excellent resource to help you understand the sport of ultrarunning
– a guide to develop your own training program and racing strategy
– a resource to understand ultrarunning nutrition and hydration
– a unique guide to many top North American Ultras
– all the tools you need to become a better athlete
What you will not find in this book:
– training plans that you can implement immediately
– nutrition/hydration guide that tell you what to eat and drink
– a cookie cutter recipe on how to run your race
– it does not have a plan on how to run sub 24 hour 100 miler in 3 months with little to no training (sorry)
– it does not contain a magic pill in the back to make you a better athlete
Koop’s book is a wealth of knowledge. It will make you think and rethink your current plans and training. It will make you disagree with and question his philosophy. It will give you the resources to make you a better athlete.
If you are serious about the sport of ultrarunning, do yourself a favor and add this book to your library. It is thought provoking, giving you an insight into the mind and thought process of Jason Koop.
The book is available for purchase now.