Favorite Books for Athletes & Marathoners

I am always on the lookout for new running books including those on training, nutrition, and psychology. Everyone should be a lifelong learner, especially athletes. You have to constantly be open to learning about your sport and willing to adapt to change. There are millions of books out there, so sometimes it can be hard to choose what contains the best information. I look for books written by doctors or well known experts in specific fields to assure quality. I previously wrote reviews on How Bad Do You Want It and Elite Minds. Today I am going to share a few more of my favorites. These are the books I turn to again and again, day after day. 

For the mental side of sports, I love the two books mentioned above as well as Peak Performance and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Peak Performance is written by Brad Stulberg, a specialist in health and human performance, and Steve Magness, a world class athlete and coach. The authors discuss strategies to maximize your motivation, efficiency, and success. Some of my favorite parts address how focusing on one task is more productive than trying to multitask, how to maximize your rest time, how to optimize your routine, and the importance of developing a purpose in life. Here are a few great quotes:

  • "Across the board, when great performers are doing serious work their bodies and minds are 100% there. They are fully engaged in the moment." 
  • "What you're after is the sweet spot: when the challenge at hand is on the outer edge of, or perhaps just beyond, your current skills."
  • "Growth comes at the point of resistance. Skills come from struggle."
  • "Sleep is one of the most productive things we can do."
  • "The more you stress, the more you should rest." 

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff is not a sports book, but you will perform better in life if you are able to manage stress and find happiness. The book is simply a list of 100 techniques to help make you calmer, more satisfied with your life, and overall a better person. Here are some of my favorite pieces of wisdom:

  • "Choose being kind over being right."
  • "When in doubt about whose turn it is to take out the trash, go ahead and take it out."
  • "Practice ignoring your negative thoughts."
  • "Give up on the idea that more is better."

For marathon runners, my three favorite books are Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Running, Advanced Marathoning, and Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners. Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Running is written by a medical doctor and includes great information including solutions to a huge array of injuries as well as health tips for runners. Even as a physical therapist, I find his Injury Manual to be an excellent reference. Advanced Marathoning is written by Pete Pfitzinger, a renowned olympic marathon runner and coach. He offers unbeatable advice for marathon training across all topics. He also include five marathon training programs, two of which I have followed with great success. Finally, Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners is written by Nancy Clark, one of the leading sports dietitians in the U.S. The book helps simplify nutrition for runners and has many great ideas for meals and snacks including recipes. 


What are your favorite sport books? Any suggestions?