Many of us amateur athletes are self-coached, for various reasons. It may be due to lower ambitions, because of financial constraints, lack of good coaches or something similar. I, for instance, enjoy coaching myself because I like experimenting with new training principles and blending them with established facts, observing effects and analyzing results. I firmly believe that training is pretty much art, with some science thrown in-between. There is so much to learn, how your body reacts to certain stimulus, what are its strengths and weaknesses, how your body is trying to tell you certain things. And by being your own coach, there is no one else to blame for your results. Or more importantly, no one takes credit for your successes 😉
With or without coach, some basic universal principles still apply. Following are the books which I use for coaching myself:
Well, the title pretty much sums it up. It’s the training bible for triathletes, now in the 3rd edition. Very well written, with a lot of emphasis put on training basics, periodization, progress tracking and racing strategies. It covers all distances, from sprint to Ironman, has sections specific for women, younger and older athletes. So if I would recommend one triathlon book, this would certainly be it!
Building on the success of the Triathlete’s training bible, in Your Best Triathlon the emphasis is put on training plans for sprint, olympic, half-ironman and ironman distance triathlons. For any given distance and training period, the training plans for all three disciplines are provided. Not an essential reading, but recommended for ones, who struggle to organize their training weeks.
This book’s main purpose would best be described as a go to reference book. It deals with pretty much every topic relevant to triathlon training and provides scientific backgrounds. Each section is written by a respectable science writer on that field, so the books chapters are not closely “bound” together, and can be read as sections easily. Only for the most enthusiastic ones, who wish to understand the scientific foundations of triathlon.
This nicely illustrated guide shows a plenty strength training exercises for swimming, biking and running. The exercises are organized by sport and muscle group, allowing you to quickly find the best exercise for their unique training needs. What I also found very useful in this book is the periodization principles of strength training that are also very well presented. Recommended for ambitious athletes.
This is a bible for everyone, who owns cycling power meter. The scientific rationale for using power meter is nicely presented along with training protocols and workouts. Also, great emphasis is put on testing your progress and searching your weaknesses. In the new version is also a whole section devoted to triathletes and their training and racing specifics. A worthwhile investment to get the most out of your power meter.
Written in the same manner as Triathlete Training Bible, this book covers everything regarding cycling, from training, periodization to racing. A nice read even for us triathletes.
Runner’s World The Runner’s Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster
The Runner’s Body offers in a friendly, accessible tone, the newest, most surprising, and most helpful scientific discoveries about every aspect of the sport—from how best to nourish the runner’s body to safe and legal ways to increase oxygen delivery to the muscles. Full of surprising facts, practical sidebars, and graphical elements, The Runner’s Body is a nice resource for anyone who wants to become a better—and healthier—runner.
Often deemed as the Bible for runners, this 900+ page reference book provides incomparable detail on physiology, training, racing, injuries, world-class athletes, and races. The only section that is not relevant is the section on nutrition. The author, Tim Noakes, repeatedly instructed all owners of the book to rip those pages out, as he now endorses a more Low Carb approach to endurance training. Since writing this book in 2002 he reversed his opinion to “get as much carbohydrates as possible” in your diet to “as little as possible”.
Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise
Alex Hutchinson, a physicist, award-winning journalist, and contributing editor of Popular Mechanics magazine, reveals the little-known and often surprising truths that science has uncovered about exercise. A book that ranges from cardio and weights to competition and weight loss, here are fascinating facts and practical tips for fitness buffs, competitive athletes, and popular science fans alike. Nothing essential, but a nice collection of various scientific topics related to exercise.
The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery is a comprehensive, practical exploration of the art and science of athletic rest. Sage Rountree details daily recovery techniques, demystifying common aids like ice baths, compression apparel, and supplements. She explains in detail how to employ restorative practices such as massage, meditation, and yoga. All in all a nice overview, but nothing vital that hasn’t been covered in other books such as Triathlon Training Bible.
Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World’s Fastest Swimmers (Swim Speed Series)
4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina reveals the swim technique used by the world’s fastest swimmers. Much of her emphasis is put on the high-elbow underwater pull, with many drills and tips for efficient swim stroke. Not an essential reading.