“Ultrafondo Training Fundamentals”

An excellent book that I have read and that, fortunately, fell into my hands despite having a title that at first slowed me down enough to sink my teeth into it. If you are tempted or have been to the mountain with a number I highly recommend its reading. This author has a high capacity to transmit information and training in equal parts. Today we are grateful to receive values and ways of being and acting beyond the information that stuns us everywhere. I think that books that delve into the reader’s motivation are the wonderful addition that we should demand in any text related to running. Jason Koop has certainly done it.

It is the first book I have ever read about specific training for the Ultrafondo and more specifically for the mountain races that are so abundant nowadays. It can be considered a pioneer in the specific treatment of these distances in an environment of unevenness and wild nature.

You can see that the author is a Yankee because at the end of the book he makes an exhaustive analysis of the most famous mountain races in the world. Among them are the Western States, Leadville or Hardrock and also the UTMB (Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc) already in Europe. He analyses their peculiar profiles and tries to give us the most suitable tactics to face each of these mythical races.

Uses affordable language and applies common sense and the experience of years of training. It has been interesting for me to see how the human body works (see that I have read manuals) from a very pedagogical point of view and also, and above all, it transmits to us the importance of the index of perception of effort (as opposed to the most subjective of the pulse or the rhythm).

It provides a holistic vision essential for managing mind and body over such long distances. He talks about the technology available for use in these tasks, how to manage hydration and nutrition in the race, the importance of running tired to get the body used to work with fatigue or sleep. He speaks, and I think his approach is brilliant, about how to adapt our challenges to the affinity we have or do not have for risk.

Explain the difference between winning these races or facing them in order to finish them in the maximum time they give. Good management of distances and profiles ensures that you go very far and do it efficiently. It has a chapter dedicated exclusively to better training and not necessarily more. It emphasizes key training sessions, those that should not be missed. Also the technique of running in the mountains is important and this is what the author says when he says: “While running the muscles only exert traction, they do not exert thrust” and he breaks down the idea that relaxation is at the base of movement: “To reacquire the instinctive capacity to activate exclusively the muscle whose contraction is essential to achieve the objective of movement”.

It’s all a matter of planning. The long, medium and short term. To apply motivation and wisdom to the achievement of goals that a priori seem impossible and unmanageable in our small heads for such large mountains.

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