Updated: Apr 15, 2020
As the Lockdown continues into week 3, we are all doing things that we “always wanted to do but never had time for”. If Reading was on your list here is the list of our favourite Triathlon and Running (I will always be a runner at heart!) books.
Do share your fav with us in the comments!
(Most of these are available as Kindle editions on Amazon or on Audible, and Libgen)
1. A Life without Limits: Chrissie Wellington
While Chrissie Wellington is now a four-time Ironman World Champion, she wasn’t always athletic. As a child, she was accident-prone, with no sign of any sports talent. But she had a fierce determination to make the most of her potential. This was a book which I read as a marathoner – and was so inspired. Little did I know then that one day, I too would be a triathlete. Pure motivation!
2. Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run: Matt Fitzgerald
The title says it all. This book chronicles arguably the greatest IRONMAN of all time: the 1989 IRONMAN World Championship. Rivals Dave Scott and Mark Allen raced shoulder to shoulder at a record-breaking pace before the fateful race was decided in the final few miles. It's an impressive story of grit and the never-say-die attitude that propelled these athletes into the stuff of legends. Hair raising…
3. Iron Cowboy: Redefine Impossible: James Lawrence
It is an endurance memoir in the tradition of Dean Karnazes’s Ultramarathon Man—a lifetime’s worth of intensely lived experience packed into twenty riveting chapters.
50 full distance triathlons: 50 days: 50 states. This just about sums up the story!
4. The Rise of the Ultrarunners: Adharanand Finn
Once the reserve of only the most hardcore enthusiasts, ultra-running is now within reach for most of us. Through encounters with the extreme and colorful characters of the ultramarathon world and his own experiences of running ultras everywhere from the deserts of Oman to the Rocky Mountains, Finn offers a fascinating account of people testing the boundaries of human endeavor.
5. How Bad you want it: Matt Fitzgerald
A collection of the stories of more than a dozen epic races from running, cycling, triathlon, we get an insight into what makes a champion, a champion. My go-to book before every race, the first time I read it was before Boston Marathon 2017. And it has stayed with me since. Each chapter explores the how and why of an elite athlete’s transformative moment, revealing powerful new techniques to flex your own mental fitness. Goosebumps...
And for those looking for training plans and technical stuff (recommended by my friends…It's not my cup of tea!):
6. The Triathlete’s Training Bible – Joe Friel
This book is, quite literally, the bible of triathlon. THE TRI TRAINING BOOK. If you are looking to step up your game, this book has a lot of helpful information to guide you in developing an optimal training plan. When stuff gets complicated, he breaks things down so anyone can understand. It’s not light reading and will require a bit of dedication on your part.
7. Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: Hal Higdon
At its core remains Hal Higdon’s clear and essential information on injury prevention, training, and nutrition. Marathon demystifies the marathon experience and allows each runner to achieve peak performance without anguish or pain, taking the guesswork out of marathon training, whether it’s for your first or fiftieth. With Higdon’s comprehensive approach and tried-and-tested methods, any runner will learn how to optimize their training and achieve their marathon goals.
And below is a list of the classics…I assume most have already read (if not order them ALL, NOW!)
8. What I talk about when I talk about running: Haruki Murakami
THE BEST BOOK!!
In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. He reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing. Funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, all of us will find something that resonates with us! Love this book!
9. Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen: Christopher Mcdougall
This is the bible of the barefoot running movement. The novel takes us on a wild and random trip, down multiple rabbit-holes, all subjects equally fascinating and Google-worthy. Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? Must must must read- if you call yourself a runner!
10. Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
My first “running book” and it will always be special… It is a story of how he rediscovered his love for running with a 30 mile, through the night epic that left him pretty much broken. And so started the ultra-endurance career of one of the most unusual athletes of the modern age.
Dean Karnazes’ dealing with “mid-life crisis”, his belief in himself and way of life, and his passion for running come through in this compelling read.
11. From Last to First: A long-distance runner's journey from failure to success: Charlie Spedding
In this remarkable autobiography he explains how – how someone who was almost bottom of the class when he first went to school, and even worse at sport, eventually turned himself into a genuinely world-class athlete, competing in top marathons all over the world, and genuinely going from last to first. It rambles a bit towards the end (I skipped some parts) but just loved the emotion of this book.
Works for racing in the time of Covid-19....
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin