Running Books       (Wheaties for the brain!)


Once A Runner - John Parker
Buy it. Read it. Live it. This is the bible of running. I actually own 2 copies, one for myself and one for lending and I've had to buy several copies along the way as gifts and/or my lending copy got 'lost'...

Long Road To Boston - Bruce Tuckman
A slim (123 pages) but VERY INTENSE story. Intertwines Brad Townes journey of recovery from a car accident (a so-so story) with his Boston race (heart thumper!). While reading, I said it was "almost as good as Once A Runner." But, with hindsight, I'd say it's a good book but not THAT good. I'd rate it a little below The Olympian.

Runners & Other Dreamers - John Parker
Not really fiction but you can see how a lot of this material was used in Once A Runner. I was not very impressed with this book. I almost think Parker 'wrote' this to fullfill a book contract wih Cedarwinds.With that said, there are a few gems here and, it is a must read if you're impressed with Once A Runner.

The Olympian - Brian Glanville
Not as much for distance runners as Once A Runner is but it is still an amazing book. Totally captures the races, stresses and fears we all experience in running.

The Lonliness Of The Long Distance Runner - Alan Silitoe
This is actually just one short story in the collection and the only one about running. Great story - gets you pumped to fight the establishment!

The Runner's Literary Companion - Garth Battista (editor)
A collection of short stories and book excerpts about running. Some OK, some great, none bad. I first picked it up in a bookstore 2 days before my first real marathon - couldn't read more than a page or two without my heart rate hitting the ceiling.

Zanboomer - R. R. Knudson
The story of how Zan Hagan (a.k.a. Zanboomer) gets sidelined from baseball and takes up running. Within about 6 months she not only runs numerous 60 second quarters in practice, she also wins the state championship running 15 minutes over a 3 mile course. Believable? Not likely! The only good thing I can say about this book is that it may be an inspiring book for a 9-13 year old girl to read; just make sure she understands that it is fiction.


A Cold Clear Day - Frank Murphy
Along with Once A Runner and Better Training For Distance Runners, this book completes a triumverate of books (fact, training & fiction; mind, body & soul) you need to read. "The athletic biography of Buddy Edelen" tells Edelen's story up close and personal - we learn, among other amazingly punishing workouts, where the 60x400 workout comes from. We also catch glimpses of that which can't be told or taught; it can only be learned through the Trial of Miles: The Secret.

Running With The Buffaloes - Chris Lear
Follows a season of the Colorado University XC team - when Adam Goucher was a senior. Hard core. Motivational reading for those HARD tempo runs.

The Four Minute Mile - Roger Bannister
An amazing athlete - especially when you look at the training he did (or didn't) do. Inspiring!

PRE - Tom Jordan
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." - Steve Prefontaine. Put down that Batman comic book and read this book; a book about a REAL superhero. Then, go run.

A Clean Pair Of Heels - Garth Gilmour
I spent about a year looking for this book. It is mentioned in Once A Runner so I figured I should read it. Kind of light and fluffy (but fun and enlightening) story of Murray Halberg, one of the great New Zealand runners who trained under Lydiard. One of the better "runner stories."

No Bugles, No Drums - Peter Snell & Garth Gilmour
Like A Clean Pair of Heels, I spent a lot of time looking for this book. I eventually ordered it used from NZ. Similar in style to ACPOH and also mentioned in Once a Runner, it's the story of Peter Snell, another world class runner who trained under Lydiard. Good read.

Marathon: The Clarence DeMar Story - Clarence DeMar
DeMar won Boston an unbelievable 7 times but hardly talks about these amazing achievements in this short 92 page book. Reading this gives you hints of how hard-core DeMar was and what distance running was like in the early 1900's. Leaves you wishing for a lot more!

Marathoning - Bill Rodgers & Joe Concannon
Don't read this book for it's literary merits, there are few to none. Do read this book for a good overview of Bill Rodgers thoughts, philosophy, rants, raves and, most importantly, outlook on running. Written just after Rodgers won the NYC marathon for the 4th time, it's packed with anecdotes, good quotes and snippets of the training of one of the best and most consistent marathoners ever.

Finding Their Stride - Sally Pont
A nice story in a nice place about a nice group of kids with a nice coach. Did not inspire me to, as Quenton Cassidy said, "...race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway!"

Running To The Top - Arthur Lydiard
30 years ago I'd of put this book in "Training" but the science of running and training has come a long way since Lydiard redefined what training is all about. After reading it, I also suspect Lydiard was the real-world model for Sam Dee in The Olympian. Filled with errors and typos as well as erroneous information, the best part of this book is that it shows Lydiard's philosophy on training and life. Read this only for historical perspective.

Train Hard, Win Easy - The Kenyan Way - Toby Tanser
"Basically there are no secrets." Want to know why Kenyans run fast? Because they know the answer to the question posed at the end of the book "Can you give a little bit more (effort)?" Read this book and you'll know the answer. Good motivational reading for when you want to run 100+ mile weeks.


Better Training For Distance Runners - David Martin & Peter Coe
Give a man a workout and he runs for a day. Teach a man how to train and he goes to the Olympics. Stop reading all those books that have the word 'Galloway' in the title. As Seb Coe said: The only thing Long Slow Distance Running produces is Long Slow Distance Runners. This book explains the science of running and training and how you can benefit from all the research in this area. Once A Runner is the bible for your running heart, this is the bible for your training log.

Advanced Marathoning - Pete Pfitzinger, Scott Douglas
There's a LOT of books out there for those who aspire to mediocrity in the marathon. This is the first one I've found that assumes your goal is not merely to finish but to kick ass. This book is an easier-to-read selection of the information found in Better Training For Distance Runners. If you've read BTFDR, you've pretty much read all that's here.

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