Category Archives: Books and Resources

Exercise Your Brain

I’m a voracious reader, and love to buy and read books on the topic of training. I’ve bought so many books on the topic and found many to be really lame and some that are truly outstanding. I’ve also picked up a number of DVDs some of which were also lame and some that were really great.
As a triathlon enthusiast, I’m a big believer in consuming as much information about the topic as possible so that I have a broad knowledge base to draw from. Right now there is so much that is crap out there about training it’s really bad. The sport is advancing so much but yet very little has been captured in literature that is available to the public; a lot of people are still ingrained in old traditional ways of training, some of which is very harmful and unproductive. So I thought I’d list some of my favorite DVDs and books on training for your perusal.
A word about DVDs: I have found that training by DVD is pretty tough if you’re just starting out. I think it’s much better to use DVDs as a supplement to training, versus using it solely. Working with a live, good coach is much better, or even if you attend a seminar by a DVD author, it is better than just viewing the DVD by itself. However, viewing video is great for visualization, so that when you see someone performing great technique, you can watch the video over and over to imprint it into your brain.
TI Swim Japan’s Youtube Channel – my Total Immersion coach Shinji Takeuchi maintains a great collection of videos for learning and teaching the TI techniques. Sometimes I just watch Shinji swim and try to imprint his smooth body movement.
Terry Laughlin’s blog, founder of Total Immersion – Wow amazing tidbits from the man behind TI.
Total Immersion DVDs and books – Order it all here, for reference in practicing your TI swimming!
Breakthrough Swimming and Swimming into the 21st Century by Cecil Colwin – Great historical perspectives on swimming and how people trained for swimming way back when. Lots of great stuff on competitive training techniques.
Swimming Fastest by Ernest Maglischo – Another huge tome on all aspects of swimming technique and training.
Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen, Andrew Coggan – I am a big proponent of power training. This is a bible of power training, although some of the concepts are hard to apply. It’s good to read to see what people are doing with it.
Watts Per Kilogram by Richard Wharton – I love my Computrainer, and this book shows you details on how to use it.
Watts Per Kilogram by Richard Wharton, free from iBikeSports but adapted for use with the iBike Power Meter. I bought one once but found it was hard to calibrate. I like my Powertap much better.
The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week by Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg – Great insight into how to train the quality way, and the effects of training volume on performance.
Spinervals DVDs – Before I got my Computrainer, I used this DVDs to help me train. They are even better with my Computrainer as now I can more accurately repeat workouts from a load standpoint. My favorites are these two, which I use if it’s raining or cold out:
Spinervals: Competition 26.0 – The Hardcore 100 – a 5.5+ hour interval workout on the cycling trainer.
Spinervals: Competition 13.0 – Tough Love – a great 3 hour interval workout, which I would do twice when forced to cycle indoors and before the Hardcore 100 workout came out.
Serious Cycling – 2nd Edition and High-Tech Cycling – 2nd Edition by Edmund R. Burke – Two great collections of deep research into cycling performance.
Lore of Running by Tim Noakes – The ultimate resource on the science of running.
Dr. Nicholas Romanov’s Pose Method of Running and companion DVD – This was the first resource I used to change my bad running form of heel striking to a much better mid to fore foot strike. I like a lot of his drills, but some of his drills were downright strange and I didn’t get into them much.
Galloway’s Book on Running by Jeff Galloway – His run/walk method got me through my first NYC marathon; he really reinforced the fact that you don’t have to run the whole way and that it’s OK to walk – something that you often do during the Ironman marathon! I unfortunately don’t agree with his recommendations on not stretching.
ChiRunning DVD – Similar philosophies to Pose method, I found the small section on down hill running to be very illuminating.
Recovery and Sports Medicine
Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists by Thomas W. Myers – Anatomy trains are chains of muscles that have been shown to work in concert. Treating the area where acute pain is felt may not be the complete and most effective solution; treating all the muscles in the chain is even better. Combining ART and Graston with anatomy trains theory makes treatment that much more effective.
Muscle Medicine: The Revolutionary Approach to Maintaining, Strengthening, and Repairing Your Muscles and Joints by Rob DeStefano, Joseph Hooper, Bryan Kelly – This book shows you how to perform ART on yourself!
Functional Soft-Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods, Third Edition by Warren Hammer – A heavy, in-depth book on all sorts of treatment methods, including ART and Graston.
Other Training
Jumping into Plyometrics: 100 Exercises For Power & Strength by Donald A. Chu – I’m experimenting with plyometrics now, to improve my sprint speed and power generation.
Periodization-5th Edition: Theory and Methodology of Training by Tudor Bompa, G. Gregory Haff – The original guy behind training periodization wrote this book. Great reference for understanding training and how to use periodization to your advantage.
DVD: Resistance Stretching With Dara Torres by Dara Torres, Anne Tierney, Steven Sierra – I have played with resistance stretching but have not had the time to get really into it. But whatever works for Dara Torres must work for moi, no?
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Core Conditioning Illustrated by Ed.D. Patrick S. Hagerman – A great basic guide to core training, showing you a whole bunch of core and balance exercises.
Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes – Dean is an amazing athlete, and shares his journey to where he is today.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – Amazing story about a group of people living in Mexican mountains who run barefoot, and never get hurt. Perhaps this is why we should chuck our running shoes?
30 Years of the Ironman World Triathlon Championship by Bob Babbitt – The look through history of the Ironman Championships never ceases to inspire me to go out and race yet another Ironman.
Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life by Dara Torres, Elizabeth Weil – In her mid-forties, Dara went to the Olympics and set new world records; proof that as we get older, we don’t have to slow down. I want to be just like Dara Torres!
Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal by Lance Armstrong – Following Lance through his recent comeback, a great pictoral on his path from retirement to 3rd overall at the 2009 Tour De France. Can I have a comeback like that every year?
We Might As Well Win: On the Road to Success with the Mastermind Behind Eight Tour de France Victories by Johan Bruyneel, Bill Strickland, Lance Armstrong – A great look at thoughts, strategies, and life of Johan Bruyneel, who led Lance Armstrong’s cycling team to 8 Tour De France victories.
What, no triathlon books? I looked at a few and none really stood out for me. The knowledge in those books was OK; for some reason, I really didn’t learn much from reading. I got better information from talking to my experienced racing friends. I also tried some training programs in those books but, like most training programs found in books, they were way too generic and did not adequately prepare me for a great race. Yes, they did get me to the finish line but did not address my individual needs and tell me how to work on my weaknesses.
An even better source was my coach Mike McCormack who also runs a great triathlon training studio in San Francisco called M2 Revolution. M2 has such progressive training ideas that only now am I finding discussion on similar training techniques, like in Chris Carmichael’s Time Crunched Cyclist book. Basically, you don’t have to put in a huge amount of training hours or miles; quality is much more important than quantity. But yet, you still hear of coaches putting their athletes through tons of junk mileage training. It’s wasteful and doesn’t help you get past plateaus after you reach a certain level of fitness and ability. You can read about his training philosophies on his M2 Articles page.

Favorite Books and Resources

Just recently I’ve been asked many times for what books out there are good for training. Here is a list of my favorites. I tend to keep away from the coaching books as I have a coach and don’t need training programs or advice. I like to find books that help me understand the scientific and researched aspects of swimming, cycling, and running so that I am not reading some coach’s opinion, but rather facts that have been vetted through scientific methods. Here they are:
Total Immersion by Terry McLaughlin – great for body positioning drills but not so good on stroke efficiency. Check out the Total Immersion website for great DVDs on swimming.
Breakthrough Swimming by Cecil Colwin – history of swimming and how it evolved to the strokes used today. Contains lots of research as well.
Swimming Fastest by Ernest W. Maglischo – lots of science in here – a huge, thick book. Great stuff and the latest on training techniques.
Lore of Running by Tim Noakes – much research into the science of running.
Pose Method of Running by Dr. Nicholas Romanov – training to run on the balls of your feet, much MUCH easier on the knees!
Serious Cycling by Ed Burke – lots of great research into the science of cycling.
Workouts in a Binder by Gale Bernhardt and Nick Hansen – great waterproof workout book to take to the pool and do your own workouts. Workouts range in distance from about 1500m to about 4000m, with the bulk being in mid-2000s to 3000s.
Workouts in a Binder for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches by Eric Hansen – like the previous, but only with significantly longer workouts into the 4000s and 5000m range. Great for Ironman training!
Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Andrew Coggan – ever since I bought a computrainer and then a PowerTap, I’ve been sold on power training. This book nicely explains it all in one place.