There are many books available to give you information on training and racing plus magazines every month with articles and more articles.
Over the years I have made it a point of buying one book a year. I find nowadays, however, that as many of the books take you through all the same basics, that I probably get about 3 or 4 new things out of each book. Some of the books I can recommend are as follows:-
The Art of Running Faster by Julian Goater 2012 (world class runner in the 1980’s) and Don Melvin
Explains how and why to do speed sessions. XC is a must, why the unbalanced body is a problem and “more than anything else you need variety in your training”.
Daniels Running Formula 2005 Jack Daniels Phd
Jack Daniels devised the VDOT scoring system for where a runner is in relation to fitness/speed etc. and provides tables for speeds to train at for different VDOT numbers to improve. Has been called the world’s best running coach.
NB. If you train with Kenilworth Runners on the track we will invariably be using VDOT numbers to recommend your best training speed.
Run Less Run Faster 2012 Runners World
Advocates the 3 day a week training regime where you only run 3 days a week, each session is a HARD session and the other days are the recovery/rest days.
Hanson’s Marathon Method 2016 Luke Humphrey with Keith and Kevin Hanson
Provides a marathon training regime based on relatively high mileage undertaken throughout each week with a maximum mileage of 16 miles for the weekly long run. Includes weekly speed sessions, 2 tempo runs, slow intermediate distance runs and one long slow run.
The Physiology of Training 2006 various authors edited by Gregory White
Probably the best sports science book I have read on why we should train as we do. Explains the benefits of speed work, rest/recovery, HIT sessions etcetera.
Racing Weight 2009 Scott Fitzgerald
A step plan for endurance runners to get them to their best/ideal racing weight. Diets, food nutrients, calorie guidelines.
Check your racing weight here:-
Running Fast and Injury Free - Gordon Pirie (1956 Olympic Silver medallist 5000m)
A great read about a forgotten British Great runner of the 1950’s voted in 1965 as Britain’s greatest ever athlete ahead of Roger Bannister. Think high mileage was invented in the 1970’s? Think again, Pirie used to train 200 mile a week to run 5000 and 10,000m.
The name Gordon Pirie probably means little to most young athletes. Despite being one of the greatest runners in history and British athletics’ biggest crowd-pleaser during the 1950s and early 1960s, the South London Harrier, who died in 1991, is one of the forgotten heroes of the sport.
When Pirie was inducted to the England Athletics hall of fame in 2013 in Birmingham the organisers were unable to track down a relative to receive the honour, nor much footage of his amazing performances.
During a golden era of distance running, Pirie defeated legends such as Emil Zatopek and Vladimir Kuts. Thanks to training weeks of 200 miles or more, he won the prestigious English National cross-country title three times from 1953-55 and yet was speedy enough to take the inaugural Emsley Carr Mile in 1953 from American Wes Santee.
In 1955 he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year before a career-defining clash with Kuts at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where the Briton finally succumbed to the Soviet athlete’s surges after a brutal 10,000m battle.
Time and again, Kuts threw in vicious surges to break Pirie as the two men broke clear of the rest of the field. With a mile to go, the Briton finally snapped and jogged in eighth place, but Kuts later revealed he would have quit if Pirie had withstood that final surge. Later, Pirie would win silver behind Kuts in the 5000m.
“He was a megastar of his time, a runner whose appearance in a race would produce a frisson of excitement and anticipation,” wrote Mel Watman in his book All-time Greats of British Athletics.
Indeed, in 1965 readers of Athletics Weekly voted Pirie the greatest British athlete in history with 36% of the votes ahead of runner-up Roger Bannister with 19%.
An outspoken character, Pirie was forever at loggerheads with officialdom and the media during his heyday. It was perhaps no coincidence, therefore, that he was never offered an official coaching role.
A much bigger travesty, though, would be for the sport to allow his name to drift into athletics anonymity.
Read his book HERE