ARTICLE: Talking books–the sequel

In my last article on this topic, I talked about running stories: Books about our running heroes, big and small, their lives, adventures and achievements.

While it is from these books we can attain much of our inspiration, it’s from the “cold, hard” training books, we must get much of our knowledge (wisdom sadly, as always, follows later).

Best Training Books

I’ll start out with the training books, I would use regularly both as an athlete and a coach:

    1. Running the Lydiard Way: The seminal work on distance running
    2. Healthy Intelligent Training: Lydiard’s superb system synthesised and interpreted for a new generation of runners
    3. Advanced Marathoning: A terrific insight into the training required to join the top rank marathoners
    4. The Runner’s Body: A detailed and cutting-edge tour of what makes you tick – the human body in motion
    5. Better Training for Distance Runners: Agree or disagree with Coe and Martins, this is a great resource for middle-distance runners

Books that fell short but deserve mention:      

  1. Lore of Running: Comprehensive, scientific – a bible of running knowledge but other books handle everyday questions better
  2. Run to the Top: Lydiard’s prose demands attention in this newer version of the great man’s program
  3. RUN – The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel: A practical and enticing guide for those shackled by programs
  4. Brain Training for Runners: An untested and perhaps dubious program in parts but a brave take on the changing face of exercise physiology
  5. ChiRunning: It made a lot of people feel good about their running and kick-started the interest in improving your form

Training books, I would rarely use::

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running: One of many decent attempts but the topic off-road running still awaits its seminal work…
  2. Run Strong: Covers a range of topics well, but you find yourself going for the specialised manuals for the “full story”
  3. Run Less, Run Faster: The “Less” said the better…
  4. SERIOUS Training for Endurance Athletes: A highly complex, over-engineered system inconsistent with Lydiard’s principles
  5. Cutting-Edge Runner: A wasted opportunity – out-dated, here “cutting-edge” means “commonly known”

Coming Up

Next up, we’ll have a look at the books I hope to buy including past classics, upcoming books such as “Barefoot Running” in 2011 and my eternal quest for the great running stories of the 60s and 70s which now trade at extravagant prices in second-hand bookshops such as Peter Snell’s “No Drums, No Bugles”.


Eamonn said…
Okay Rene, I want a Lydiard book. Running the Lydiard Way or Healthy Intelligent Training. Whaddya reckon?
Renny said…
Hi Eamonn, I'd say get both as they retail for only 10 and 15 GBP respectively on HIT is available in Hodges and Figgis and Waterstones.

If you have to choose though I'd go for Running with Lydiard first simply to read about the program in his own words. He's really inspiring but not always 100% clear to the reader so HIT is great at explaining everything while being more of a coach's book.

Meanwhile, you can get a good idea by reading these two lectures:

And there's a concise powerpoint on the system here:

Think I'll do an article on all the Lydiard material out there.