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
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
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
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.