Carrie Jackson Cheadle

Looking for a good endurance-related book to give to yourself or another endorphin junkie this holiday season? I’ve got you covered. Here are five such books I’ve read and enjoyed recently. I’m confident there’s at least one in here that you’ll enjoy also.

Swim, Bike, Bonk: Confessions of a Reluctant Triathlete

Will McGough

Every triathlete wants to write a book about his or her first Ironman, and many do. The results are rarely interesting to anyone other than the author. But here’s an exception. Will McGough is a travel writer, and what makes Swim, Bike, Bonk work is that he writes about triathlon as though it’s a weird foreign country he’s visiting. His humorous, skeptical outsider’s perspective allows insiders like me to see the sport with fresh eyes and appreciate it in a new way.

Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries

Carrie Jackson Cheadle and Cindy Kuzma

I reviewed this book earlier this year, and I haven’t changed my mind about it in the intervening months. Getting injured as an athlete affects the mind as much as it does the body, and it’s important to attend to both whenever you suffer a breakdown. Rebound is the definitive guide to addressing the psychological aspect of sports injuries. Check out my full review here.

Kaizen-Durance: Your Aerobic Path to Mastery

Shane Eversfield

This book is actually a couple of years old, but this is my holiday reading list and I can do whatever I want with it! Author Shane Eversfield takes a quasi-spiritual approach to endurance training that I find quite appealing. His core concept is something called kinetic intelligence, which is essentially the body’s innate wisdom concerning movement. It may sound far out, but the book is actually science-based and practical, offering readers concrete techniques they can use to unlock this wisdom and learn to move with “effortless power.”

Endurance Performance in Sport: Psychological Theory and Interventions

Carla Meijen, Editor 

Now is an exciting time to be alive if you’re interested in the role of the mind and the brain in relation to endurance performance. There’s a ton of cool science being done in this area. If your interest in this stuff is of the what’s-in-it-for-me variety, you can learn all you need to know from books like Alex Hutchinson’s Endure and my own How Bad Do You Want It? But if you’re interested in the science for its own sake, get a copy of Endurance Performance in Sport, which is a collection of monographs from today’s top researchers in the field of endurance sports psychology, including my personal favorite, Samuele Marcora.

The Athlete Inside: The Transforming Power of Hope, Tenacity, and Faith

Sue Reynolds

In February 2015, Sue Reynolds emailed me with a unique question. She was then 61 years old and had recently lost 175 pounds through triathlon training and sensible eating, but the transformation had left her with a lot of loose skin, and she wanted my opinion on how it might affect calculations of her optimal body composition. Sue and I have maintained an ongoing correspondence ever since, during which time she’s lost another 25 pounds and finished as high as sixth in the ITU Age-Group World Championships. The full story of her journey from lifelong overweight couch potato to elite athlete is truly remarkable, and she does a terrific job telling it in this book, which, unfortunately for you, will not be publicly available until April. But you can pre-order it now.

Overuse injuries such as Achilles tendinosis and runner’s knee are very different from other “health problems” such as migraine and flu. Whereas the latter cause all-day physical discomfort, most overuse injuries hurt only when you try to do the specific activity that caused them. And yet they bother you just as much, don’t they?

The point I’m getting at is that sports injuries are more psychologically than physically harmful. If you didn’t mind not running for a month, plantar fasciitis isn’t a big deal. The same cannot be said of irritable bowel syndrome. As an often-injured athlete, I know this as well as anyone, and I have a strong appreciation for the importance of addressing the psychological dimension of injury.

That’s why I’m so excited about the new book Rebound: Train your mind to bounce back stronger from sports injuries. Coauthored by mental skills expert Carrie Jackson Cheadle and running journalist Cindy Kuzma (who happens to be a friend of mine), Rebound functions as a kind of mental training plan for the injured athlete. Most athletes just kind of muddle through the mental aspect of injury. This book offers a far more effective alternative that will help you be less miserable the next time you get injured and also get more out of that next injury.

Cheadle and Kuzma identify 15 mental skills that are essential to injury recovery:

Confidence: “Belief and trust in your ability to accomplish your goals”

Focus: “Capacity to direct or redirect your energy and attention to what’s relevant and constructive”

Goal-setting: “Ability to define what you want to accomplish and create a plan to achieve that target”

Motivation: “Drive and desire to put in the work and push toward your goals and aspirations”

Stress management: “Proficiency at using coping skills and strategies to eliminate stressors when you can and to regulate the stress response when you can’t”

Attitude: “Positive approach and mindset to facing adversity, challenges, and setbacks”

Communication: “Competence at clearly expressing your opinions and ideas—and ability to hear and understand others’ perspectives”

Emotional intelligence: “Ability to recognize emotions, discern their origins, and understand how they affect behavior”

Self-awareness: “Conscious knowledge about how you operate, including how you think, feel, and react”

Visualization: “Skillfulness at creating and recreating vivid, controllable images in your mind”

Discipline: “Persistence in pursuit of longer-term goals and deeper values”

Generosity: “Willingness to extend grace toward yourself and others”

Mindfulness: “Adeptness at keeping you consciousness in the present moment—or at bringing it back there—and acting as an objective observer of your own experience”

Psychological flexibility: “Willingness and ability to adapt to changing circumstances by shifting your reactions, behaviors, and perspective”

Resilience: “Power to bounce back from hardship or adversity and thrive despite setbacks”

Rebound shows athletes how to strengthen each of these mental skills. One of the things I like most about the book is the authors’ recognition that each athlete is unique and should therefore take an individual path toward becoming more adept at dealing with injury. In reading Rebound, I recognized that I’m not very skilled at practicing generosity. More specifically, I tend to get angry at my body when it breaks down. Cheadle and Kuzma suggest that athletes like me write a sympathy card to themselves as a way of fostering a more generous mindset. I gave it a try and found it surprisingly comforting.

Another strength of the book is its abundance of inspiring and edifying examples of athletes who have used the very same tools Cheadle and Kuzma teach to bounce back stronger from injuries. Collectively, these illustrations show fragile athletes like me that they are not alone and they need not reinvent the wheel to get better at dealing with injuries. One of my favorite case studies is that of Amelia Boone, a champion ultrarunner and obstacle racer who turned a small quad injury into a major career interruption by allowing that voice in her head to talk her into hurrying the recovery process. She learned from the experience, though, and eventually returned to the top as a wiser athlete who is unlikely to ever make the same mistake again.

There’s no doubt about it: “Injuries Suck.” (This is the literal title of Chapter 1 of Rebound.) But I promise that if you read this much-need and well-executed book and put its guidance into practice, your injury experience will suck less, and you will love the sport you love all the more.


If you would like to read a book related to 80/20 training, you might want to check our published 80/20 endurance books here:

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