As a mountain runner and running coach, I spend much of my day either running, reading about running or thinking about running in one form or another.
For those of us who spend their time in this bubble, there was a fair degree of anticipation while waiting for the release of this book. I mean, come on, if we can pick up a few nuggets from the legend that is Kilian Jornet, it’s got to be worth flicking through, right?
The first thing I would say is DON’T flick through; read it. Take in the science that underpins training, understand not just how to train but why a particular session works and what element of performance it will develop, develop your understanding of periodisation throughout a year, enjoy the inspirational vignettes from elite athletes and make use of the numerous training plans. There is so much packed into this tome
I’m coming to this review from the angle of a mountain runner, I have no experience as a ski mountaineer, though the book shares its focus between the two disciplines and there are, without doubt, lessons to be learned from each sport. The book divides into a number of sections, initially focusing on the physiology of endurance training. I know the majority of athletes will jump this and go straight to the training plans; we are runners and therefore we run, but you’d be missing out on the background knowledge that is vital if you are to understand why you are training in a specific way. Rest assured, it’s written in a userfriendly style which gets the details across without blowing your mind
You then delve into the methodologies of training including the terminology, how to monitor your progress, training load and longterm planning, all interspersed with insight from elite athletes. Section three, quite rightly (coaching hat on) explores the importance of strength training for the uphill athlete; a much-overlooked element of an endurance athlete’s programme.
Finally, you have the How to Train section; how to plan training, how to plan a race season, special considerations for both runners and skimo athletes and, of course, those all-important training plans aimed at a variety of different abilities.
What strikes me is that you can take what you want from this book, regardless of interests, ability or experience. You want science? You want inspiration? You want awe? You want knowledge? You want guidance? You want to be a better uphill athlete? Buy this book!
Header photo by Steven Gnam.