Saturday, January 16, 2016

Running Your First Ultra with Krissy Moehl!

I am a terrible person. The amazingly awesome Krissy Moehl had a book release on Thursday at SF Running Company in Mill Valley, and I was supposed to write a blog post about it so my millions and millions of Bay Area readers (lololol) would know about it and go. They even sent me a copy of the book, Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-Mile Race so I could read it and tell you how awesome it is.

But I got the week wrong.

So here I am, two days after the book event, having just cracked the book itself for the first time.

I suck.

BUT. You know who does NOT suck? Crazy-insane-baddass Krissy Moehl. Lest you have doubts, you can check out her very very long list of ultra races in which she has won/placed/set crazy-insane records. The woman has run like over 100 ultras & won 55 of them.

Question: Will I ever be even remotely that baddass?

Answer: No.

But if one wanted to, maybe, try getting just a *tiny bit* closer to Krissy Moehl levels of baddassery, reading her new book is maybe not the worst place one could start.

First, I have to just say that this is a *gorgeous* book. Like, even if you don't run ultras, it's packed with beautiful full-color photographs of Krissy & others running in breath-taking locations.

The beginning of the book is designed to get a would-be first-time ultrarunner thinking about the reasons behind their interest in the sport as well as the practical considerations involved. (What is your current fitness level/running experience? How much free time do you have? What kind of terrain do you have access to? What's your financial situation?) Based on the answers to these questions, Moehl makes some recommendations about where you might start (with a 50K, 100K, etc.).

Next are sections on choosing the right goal event given your answers to the questions in the beginning, "tricks of the trade," and the mental side of ultrarunning. I particularly liked the section titled "On Doubts," where she listed a bunch of pairs of "Your Doubt" and "My Advice". I may not be an ultrarunner but the doubts were certainly familiar ones!

(It also amused me that there was a section called "Preventing Issues." TELL ME, KRISSY! I would buy a whole book just on that.)

Only after laying all of this groundwork do we get to training plans for 50K, 50M, 100K, & 100M. I don't run ultras, but I have heard several friends mention while preparing for their first that reputable, high-quality training plans (beyond, "Just run a lot, duh") were kind of difficult to find, so perhaps this is a much-needed resource. For each, there is a month-by-month overview, as well as detailed, color-coded instructions for each week. The last sections are on topics like finding & prepping your race crew, selecting gear, how to prep the week/day/night before your ultra, how to keep a training log, etc.

I have to say, this book seems hard to beat as a starter pack for an aspiring ultrarunner, regardless of their background or experience. If this book was about running shorter distances & I had a friend who was like, "Hey I am thinking of running my first 10K, what should I know?" I would totally just hand them this book, because it's all in there--the groundwork, safety stuff, logistics, the mental stuff, support, training plans, etc. And I mentioned it's gorgeous, right?

The ultra bug is not one by which I have been bitten, so literally everything I know about ultrarunning, I've learned from reading blogs and chatting with friends who've done it. So for me, flipping through this book was interesting and quite educational. (I did say also gorgeous, right?) Nice to know that if I ever do get the hankering for ALLLLLLLL the miles, I'll already have this resource on my shelf. (Also if anyone is ever like, "Tell me everything you know about running ultras." BOOM. Done.)


  1. Yeah, I don't think I'll ever have the need to read that book - as good as it sounds. No way, never, never am I ever going to do an ultra.

  2. I will probably never run an ultra, but I certainly want to know all about Preventing Issues!
    Is it odd that I don't like to trail run - I prefer to hike? That way I don't have to concentrate as hard on where I'm putting my feet and can actually appreciate all the gorgeous scenery around me.