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Books and other Resources for Coaching Runners

Updated on March 23, 2013

You can just go out and run...

Or you can do the workouts necessary to win races. The basic theories of training are somewhat similar, run a lot and practice running race pace with workout faster and slower than race pace. How exactly to go about that is a little more complicated. There are a myriad of resources available and Runner's World or Running Times would be willing to overload you with every nugget of information. My goal of this page is to point you toward some of the resources that I find have been most influential in designing a running season training plan.

It all starts with Lydiard - There are hundreds of books on coaching, dozens of good ones, but only one Arthur Lydiard.

Running With Lydiard
Running With Lydiard

Arthur Lydiard was a New Zealander that became passionate about fitness, and competitive running, when he was middle aged in the late 1940s. From there he proceeded to become one of the best marathoners in New Zealand and coach world record holders and olympic gold medalists such as Peter Snell and Lasse Viren. There have since been other coaches that are better but he really wrote the book on how to train for competitive running. His philosophies are still sound. This is where a runner's coaching education begins.

Road to the Top
Road to the Top

Dr. Vigil coached at D2 Adams State as well as helping the United States win two medals at the Athens Olympic marathons. Olympic medals speak for themselves.


Physiology at Its Best - Doctors, Cellular Metabolism, Efficiency, and Other Technical Factors

These books are thick! 400+ pages are sure to give you the education you desire about how to run faster.

Lore of Running, 4th Edition
Lore of Running, 4th Edition

The first time I opened this book I had a muscle knot that injured me and this was the only resource I have ever read that discussed chronic muscle tears. Needless to say as soon as I identified the problem I was able to start treating it and within two weeks I was back to normal. This book talks about injuries and psychology more than any other book about running, as far as I know.

Better Training for Distance Runners - 2nd Edition
Better Training for Distance Runners - 2nd Edition

This is an extensive book that covers the metabolic systems involved in running very well. The scientific examples that are given in this book tie together the training philosophies of successful distance runners in a way that is thorough and yet able to be understood by a someone who is not a biologist. This book also has detailed information on Sebastian Coe, including pictures of him doing various exercises, that provides a proven example of the principals it offers.

Marathon Training: A Scientific Approach
Marathon Training: A Scientific Approach

Marathon Training: A Scientific Approach

By Enrico Arcelli and Renato Canova

Marathon training doesn't get any better than this. When I bought it it was 6 Euros ($8 US) and a scant 70 pages, but it has everything you need to run a good marathon.

These Italian Authors manage to explain why you need to run slower than marathon pace as well as faster than marathon pace and at marathon pace to run your best marathon. They explain the physiological factors, in the form of a technical summary, that influence the ability to run a fast marathon. If your goal is to finish a marathon or coach people to finish a marathon this is not for you. On the other hand If you are going to coach regional, national, or really even international marathon runners this book is entirely worth the money and time.

The Best Running Training of the Internet - Not everything good costs money.

Many runners have blogs, which are educational, but so many do not focus on the details that finding a runner or coach that blogs about their training is a little rare.

Miscellaneous Coaching Philosophy Books - If an athlete races in the most competitive race in the world, the coach had something to do with it.

Running Tough
Running Tough

Want to know was workouts Olympic Gold medalists attribute their success to? Then read this book it was 75 workouts from some of the most successful runners and coaches ever.

Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach
Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach

A relative new comer to the genre of books on running training, Brad Hudson has trained a number of athletes to world class performances.

Once a Runner: A Novel
Once a Runner: A Novel

Not specifically on training and it is fiction, but it is a classic from a very good runner.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

This is really a book about injury prevention through strength training.


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