For those of you who don’t know, I am a children’s librarian. It’s my dream job. I sort of fell into it, but it makes perfect sense. I love books and I love little kids, and combination of the two = LOVE LOVE LOVE.
I’m a reader for life. I spent many childhood Saturday afternoons on my bed with books surrounding me. When I became a runner, my instinct was to absorb every bit of information I could find in books. It’s not surprising, but there are A LOT of really great books about running. Training books, running philosophy books, books about the mental side of running, even cookbooks.
Here’s my current library. I like that currently they all fit in one of the cubbies of my bedside “table.”
Meals on the Run
The Runner’s World Cookbook
Racing Weight Cookbook
We make recipes from these books weekly. They take into account the nutrition a runner’s body needs. Many of the recipes are easily adaptable to be dairy-free for me. They use a proper ratio of carbs and proteins. My hands down favorite recipe: the corncakes one from The Runner’s World Cookbook.
Racing Weight Quick Start Guide
I need to dive deeper into these. One of my big, long-term goals is to decrease my body fat percentage, and this is what these books are all about. Matt Fitzgerald dominates my reading collection for a reason. He knows his stuff!
Eat and Run
Scott Jurek is a professional ultra runner and has eaten a vegan diet for most of his life. If you are in a running or eating slump and need a dose of inspiration, definitely give this book a try. It’s one of the reasons why Mr. Neon and I try to eat #veganbefore5.
Run Less, Run Faster
The concept: three runs per week. Interval run, tempo run, long run. I used this plan in 2015 when I ran a spring half and a fall full. It works. I did get faster, but I also ended the year with a serious case of hip bursitis. My tip: do not skip the cross training. You might be running less, but you are certainly not training any less.
Hanson Half-Marathon Method
To be honest, I have only skimmed this book. Hanson’s plans are known for high volume mileage. Since I’ve spent most of 2016 decreasing my weekly running mileage and increasing the time spent on my bike, this plan just wasn’t even a possibility for me. One day I might give one of his plans a try. Des Linden, one of my favorite female marathoners, is coached by the Hanson brothers.
The Run-Walk-Run Method
Galloway’s 5k/10K Running
These books were my bread and butter when I got started running. I ran my first half marathon with a 4:1 run/walk ratio. Then I ran my second half marathon with a 9:1 run/walk ratio. I thought I would use Galloway for the rest of my running career. I’m not sure if I got tired of hearing the beep of my Garmin telling me to switch, but I eventually stopped using it.
I started reading this and then got distracted by something else. Probably a YA book about vampires or a dystopian civilization. The bookmark is still in it. I dabble with meditation, so this style of running definitely appeals to me. I just have to find the time in my schedule to sit down and embrace it. Sounds like a double-edged sword, doesn’t it?
Quick Strength for Runners
I’m about to start this program back up again, after I dust off my balance ball that has been hiding behind my recliner from the boys and the dog. I’ve gone through this program once before, and it really seemed to make a difference. I’m horrible at knowing what to do in a weight room, so this book was great for someone who struggles to understand the point of strength training and how to do it effectively.
Another training method. The theory: spend 80% of your time running easy in heart rate zones 1 and 2 and the other 20% at a zone 3-5 harder effort. These plans flat out work. The concept is sound. You will be in better shape with less chance for injury. The book helps you establish proper pace ranges for the different zones, as well as explains heart rate training in a way anyone can understand.
Train Like a Mother
I LOVE Dimity and Sarah. Their blog, social media, and their three books are full of inspiration for mother runners everywhere. This book is full of sound advice and wonderful training plans. I keep coming back to it.
IronFit Triathlon Training for Women
This is a relatively new addition to my library. The authors provide three levels for each distance. I am looking forward to following the mid-level spring/oly plan next summer.
This book was recommended in Eat to Run. It prompted me to buy a yoga strap to use for stretching. I keep a list of stretches that I’m supposed to do after cycling and running.
Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-By-Week Training Guide
This book isn’t in the above picture because 1. it’s too big and 2. it’s not really mine. It’s Mr. Neon’s bible. It has SO MANY PLANS. I think there are 10 different levels for each distance of triathlon. If you are triathlete without a coach, you need this book.
Books I Don’t Own But Enjoyed:
Run Fast Eat Slow – Shalane Flanagan’s approach to food and running. I’ve read it, tried some recipes from it, and it’s currently on my Christmas list.
Kara Goucher’s Running for Women – Another excellent book for a new runner or a runner in need of inspiration.
First Ladies of Running – Such a cool book! 22 incredible women who showed the world how running can improve the lives of women.
Meb for Mortals – I’m gonna be honest. Parts of this book were a bit “meh” for me. Maybe I was expecting more out of Meb. What I did get out of this book was a list of dynamic warm-ups and stretches to do before running. I also found out how much Meb weighs. Dude needs more cheeseburgers in his life…just kidding.
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – From The Oatmeal. If you love to run and need to laugh, it’s worth a read.
For pleasure reading books about running:
Born to Run – Reading about the Tarahumara Indian tribe will make you want to sign up for an ultramarathon. Scott Jurek makes an appearance as well.
Two Hours – Can a sub-2 hour marathon happen? Science says yes, but will it happen in my lifetime? This book looks as the biology and science behind running. Fascinating read!
Shoe Dog – Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, writes his memoir. It’s pretty amazing stuff. A somewhat typical rags to riches story, with crazy runner mentality thrown in.
Books on my to-read list:
How Bad Do You Want It? – Matt Fitzgerald’s book on the mental side of running and racing. If it’s anything like his other books, it’s bound to be good. It’s been recommended all over the place. I will definitely be reading it before 2017 when I hope to break 2 hours in the half.
The Running Revolution – Another method of training. When I was hit with my bursitis diagnosis, this is one book that kept popping up on my Amazon feed. I went with ChiRunning instead, but I think it’s a similar idea.
Let me know if you take me up on my recommendations. I purchased all of these books from Amazon, so they are easy to get ahold of. Also, check with your local public library. Running is so popular that most libraries are keeping a copy of several of these on the shelf.
I previously reviewed running books on my old One Brown One Blue blog. I transferred all of those posts over. You can check out that post here.