Triathlon Book Reading List

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Following are books I recommend to others that have helped me train and race.

Some are purely triathlon or endurance sports related, while others are broader or more general.

They are divided up into a few sections:

Training: These are purely about how to swim, bike, and run better.

Thinking: These books cover mental or mindset topics. They are not specific to endurance sports necessarily but are full of ideas and concepts that you can apply to triathlon.

Nutrition: All about what to eat and why to get the most out of your food when you train and race.

Entertainment: These are stories, lessons, or more novel-type books, as opposed to reference.

Click on any image to buy the book via Amazon. You’ll have a great book but you’ll also support IronmanHacks as I will earn a few cents.


The Power Meter Handbook

I have read this book cover to cover so many times I think I have certain parts of it memorized. This is the clearest, simplest, and best explanation of how to train with a power meter that I have found so far.

Read my interview with Joe Friel here.

Training and Racing with a Power Meter

Here we go with an alternative to Friel’s. Hunter Allen (read my interview of him here) teams up with Dr. Andrew Coggan, a heart rate expert, to show you how to train and race with power.

The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week

This book is all about getting the most out of your training if you have really limited time.

Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life

I haven’t read this yet, but I bought it for my mom. If it’s a Friel book, though, it has to be good.

The Triathlete’s Training Bible: The World’s Most Comprehensive Training Guide

The title pretty much says it all. This is where I suggest most beginners start; with this book they have mostly all they need.

The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel

Equally comprehensive, if your focus is cycling or you really need to work on that discipline, this is for you.

Marathon by Hal Higdon

This was the first training book I ever read. I devoured this book multiple times prior to my first marathon. A word of caution: The easiest marathon training plan in here seems too light for anyone wanting to do well. At least it was for me, as my first marathon was a real horror show.

Daniels’ Running Formula

Full of plans and structure, this book has both the runner and the coach in mind. Definitely more sophisticated and in-depth than the more basic Marathon book above by Higdon, this is what I read when I was ready for more advanced material.

Lore of Running

The granddaddy of all running books, right here. This 900+ page opus could double up as a weight for the gym, it’s so big. It’s my go-to source for anything running-related, kind of like a reference book.

Run for your Life: The Complete Marathon Guide

This book has one of the clearest and best running plans I’ve ever read. Written by Singapore physician Ben Tan (who competed in the Olympics in sailing) it breaks down all aspects of running in an easy-to-understand format for beginners, I’d say.

Running Injury-Free

This book covers the main types of injuries you are likely to experience while running. It’s a pretty easy and fast read and definitely opened my eyes.

The Science of Running

This book goes deep into the nuts and bolts of running, training, and the body. It’s what I’d call an advanced level guide to running faster and better.

Quick Strength for Runners

Full of workouts to maximize your running strength, this is a book that is easy to follow. I’m a big believer in such workouts if only to prevent injuries.

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Jump to Nutrition

Jump to Thinking

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The Endurance Training Diet and Cookbook

Written by Ironman athlete Jesse Kropelnicki, this book takes a balanced view on what to eat and why. Meaning there’s no dogma about some fad diet or hidden.

The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition

The title says it all.

Racing Weight: How to get Lean for Peak Performance

While not purely a nutrition book, it does get you to where you want to be. Matt Fitzgerald breaks down how to achieve the optimum weight to compete in endurance events.

The RP Diet for Endurance – Ebook

In this book, Dr. Alex Harrison and colleagues dive in to nutrition for endurance, supported by calculators and examples.

I just bought this and will elaborate more when I’ve read it.

Food Fix

Mark Hyman, MD, goes into the vested interests, politics, and complex food systems that confuse, mislead, and exploit us.

It’s a powerful call to arms that you should read if you care about our food future – and our children’s.

The 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge

I never expected to abstain from alcohol, and while I can’t say I stopped drinking only because of this book, it did play a part.

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Can’t Hurt Me

He’s like a cult figure to many because of this book. David Goggins recounts his traumatic upbringing and shows that pretty much anything is possible. But please don’t try what he does at home. You will get hurt.

The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

Steven Kotler shows us how we can achieve peak performance, and often relates this to work he’s done in the concept of flow.

Atomic Habits

I really loved this book. Clear breaks down what makes a habit and how to keep them going. Anybody who is struggling to keep a consistent training plan needs to read this. And even those that don’t struggle will get insight and tips from Atomic Habits.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Here’s an excellent book that gives insight into what makes up grit (it’s passion x perseverance). As a psychologist, Angela Duckworth has tested her grit index on thousands.

Why we Sleep

This book covers why and how we sleep and goes deep into the implications of poor or insufficient shut-eye.

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Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run

This is one of the most entertaining triathlon books, and it’s all pretty much true. It has obscure facts and stories in it that I even verified with Dave Scott.

This is probably where you should start if you want an amazing story about the sport and if you want an foundation on two of the most iconic and winningest names of triathlon.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

This is basically the story – struggle – of how Nike was born. A really great read about some of the biggest names in sports shoes.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

This book started the movement in barefoot and minimalist running. And I bet it also generated millions in doctor and physiotherapy bills. Still, it’s an awesome book with some amazing stories.

The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods

Read this and you’ll know the stories of all the toughest cycling men and women the world has ever known. It’s full of short but jaw-dropping stories from cycling’s hardest.

The War of Art

A quick read, this book picks apart the struggles of creating, and I think that translates very nicely over to endurance training. He talks about the urges to quit and the struggles to push on.

The Race to the Truth

Here’s a true and emotional story of how Lance Armstrong manipulated, coerced, and deceived his own teammates and “friends,” causing ruin to the lives of many, including the author’s. It’s fascinating how Lance himself wrote the foreword of this book that tears him apart.

The Program: Seven Deadly Sins – My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong

Journalist David Walsh tells all about his journey to uncover Lance’s elaborate web of deception.

Triing: A Journey of discovery, challenges, and camaraderie while racing in 50 States and the continents beyond.

Author Doug says, “Triing is a mashup of continual learning to improve as a person, employee, and athlete while developing others to up their game too. A professor inspired me to create a professional and personal journey that intertwined sports, family, and a career across a span of 30 years. “Triing” includes a chronological summary of 60 races. It includes numerous examples of how sports develop character that drives success in many aspects of life.”

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