The temperature is dropping, the roads are slick, and the headlamps are out for the morning run. Now is a perfect time for you or your favorite endurance athlete to crack open a book, let the mind recover from a hard season, and get inspired for next year. But what triathlon books should you choose?
Publishers have released some great endurance reads this year that are sure to motivate, instruct, and inspire. Here's my suggested list of books?
For the triathlete wondering how to stay fit during a cold winter:
Inside the Box: How CrossFit Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body, T.J. Murphy, Velopress, 2012.
Sometimes the best way to rebuild your body is to start from scratch, with an entirely new activity. T.J. Murphy, a long-time triathlete and well-known journalist in the sport, tells his journey from skeptic to advocate for CrossFit, a fitness subculture that may have given him a new lease on his endurance career. The book will inspire any triathlete to try something new this winter.
For the person who feels like they were given a second chance in life and fitness:
14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life, Alberto Salazar and John Brant, Rodale, 2012.
In 2007, legendary runner Alberto Salazar suffered a massive heart attack that left him clinically dead for 14 minutes. The news at the time made me remember just how human we all are. This book delivers that point and more. In a very honest and sometimes blunt assessment of his training, races and competitors, Salazar offers a story of personal highs and lows that will keep any athlete engaged.
For the triathlete who plans to spend the winter in a man cave on the bike trainer:
The Power Meter Handbook: A User's Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes, Joe Friel, Velopress, 2012.
If you or any of your triathlete friends are planning to do an Ironman any time next year, training can literally start now. For the really serious competitors, the hardest work may take place in a cold garage for the next four months on a bike mounted to a trainer. This book is the manual and the training plan that should have come in the box with the power meter, but never did. Friel's book will be the guide that ties the equipment to the goal for the next six months.
For the athlete that has a coffee table littered with drink mix and broken heart monitors:
As the Crow Flies: My Journey to Ironman World Champion, Craig Alexander and Paul Robbins (Photos), Velopress, 2012.
This triathlon book will add a useful touch of class to any triathlete's home. Robbins took some great black and white photos that literally shoot the lights out on the life of a champion over the course of a year in which he won the Ironman World Championship. We get to see the family, the training, the camaraderie, some lows, and of course, the glories of an unprecedented first-place finish in the 70.3 World Championship and a victory at the Ironman World Championship in Kona.
For the triathlete that accidentally discovered they were actually good at this sport:
A Life Without Limits, Chrissie Wellington, Hachette Book Group, 2012.
Four-time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington shares her life story with American fans in this book. Her story is not that of your typical Olympic-class athlete. She didn't live for sports growing up. Rather, sports were an outlet for life. And somehow along the way she discovered that sports could propel her life's ambitions and passions farther than she ever imagined. She really just wanted to make a difference for people living in poverty around the world. Who would ever have guessed that the sport of triathlon would build an enormous platform for those ambitions?
Search for your next triathlon.
Special thanks to Glenn Sloves for his ideas and energy in scouring book lists with me.