I get asked about what training books to read, so I’ve decided to come up with a list of the top training (textbooks excluded) books I’ve read. It’s a subjective list but to add some objectivity my rankings will take into account how many pages of notes I took when reading the book (I have like 400+pgs of handwritten notes).

(Note: This was originally published in 2007)

1. The Science of Winning– Jan Olbrecht- Yes a swimming book
2. A scientific Approach to the Marathon- Canova and Arcelli
3. Renato Canova letsrun.com Notes- not a book, but if you read all of them might as well be
4. Swimming Fastest– Make that two swimming books in the top 4. Yes I’m crazy
5. Better Training for Distance Runners – 2nd Edition– Coe and Martin
6. Mechanics of Athletics– Dyson
7. Running My Way– Harry Wilson
8. Running to the Top (or Running the Lydiard Way)- Lydiard
9. Road to The Top– Vigil
10. Rowing Faster– Yes a rowing book too.
11. Long Distance and Middle Distance Series by Jess Jarver- collection of books with articles
12. Run, Run, Run– Wilt
13. Running: The Athlete Within– Costil
14. The Competitive Runners Training Book– Dellinger
15. How They Train– Wilt- great book but ranks lower b/c just schedules
16. Daniels Running Formula– Daniels
17. Training With Cerutty– Myers
18. Run With the best– Benson and Ray
19. Van Aaken Method
20. Run Strong– Beck
21. Run to Win– Kenyan Training Secrets
22. Running Tough– just workouts
23. The Cutting Edge Runner
24. Fast Track- Hamilton
25 . The Runners book of training Secrets
26. Precision Heart Rate Training
27 . Runners World Complete Book of Running


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    1. Eric on January 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm

      Criticism…here it comes! Lore of Running by Tim Noakes. I’m shocked that isn’t listed at all. It’s been an excellent resource through four editions and should be in every serious runner’s library. C’mon Steve! You’re a serious runner!

      Thanks for keeping this blog and your website updated. It’s been a great source of information and motivation for me over the past year. Take care, and good running.

    2. stevemagness on January 19, 2007 at 2:06 pm

      I’ve read Lore of Running and it ranks up there. I should have mentioned it but I put it in that textbook category so I didn’t rank it.

      Thanks for the comments though. Your right LOR is one that every serious runner should have. So much info in it!

    3. Anonymous on May 21, 2010 at 4:52 am

      i read 'distance running' by robert lyden and thought it was ok.

    4. Michael on June 18, 2011 at 2:48 am

      I'm surprised this hasn't been asked: Why the swimming books?

    5. Joshua Wong on March 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      What about the list of textbook?

    6. Rey Ellin on December 31, 2016 at 2:28 am

      I have 8 including the 2 swimming books. Plus 8 cycling books, 6 strength books. Plus some more coming, including yours. But I have 4 open right now, also a re-read of the science. Have a great 2017. Great work also reading the school of coaching.

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