Best Triathlon Books

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When choosing an triathlon book, you should select the best one to meet your needs. In this article, we will look at eleven of the best triathlon training books to help guide you in your training endeavors and give enough information for you to be able to pick the best one for your needs and wants.

Best triathlon books

A variety of people don’t believe they can complete a triathlon, but it all begins with the first step. If you are a beginner, the most critical step in training for a triathlon is just doing it. The second level is to be consistent. As you become more passionate about the race and practice, it is essential to read about different training strategies and methodologies.

For those who want improvement, the best method is to train with a personal coach, but everyone does not have the money to invest in a private coach. For those of us who need another choice, the second best option is to use the best triathlon training books available.

The Best Triathlon Books in 2023

1. The Triathlete’s Training Bible: The World’s Most Comprehensive Training Guide

The Triathlete's Training Bible Review

This book was written by Joe Friel who is one of the most trusted triathlon coaches in the world. His training program has been used by thousands of people to help them complete a triathlon successfully.

The newest edition is the 4th edition which lets you know he has continued to improve his techniques over the years. This edition contains fabulous new training principles to help athletes to train smarter.

When a triathlete is planning a session, this book helps him or her to see all the details that must be considered. It also equips the athlete with enough information to create a week’s worth of workouts and prepare for the day of the race.

2. Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier

Total Immersion The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better Faster and Easier Review

Terry Laughlin is an expert with over thirty years of swimming experience. He has a unique method to allow anyone to learn how to master swimming. Whether you are an expert or a novice swimmer, this book can improve your swimming.

When discussing swimming, Mr. Laughlin states that a person who uses mindful fluid movement can become comfortable in the water. It does not take athletic ability but a particular approach. This approach includes a series of drills to improve skills. These drills must be practiced in the same mind as you practice yoga, but if done correctly, you will enjoy swimming.

Mr. Laughlin’s method is a holistic one where he teaches you to become one with the water. This oneness helps you to create a style of swimming which makes it comfortable to be in the water. This book also provides a guide on how to improve overall fitness and form when swimming. Total Immersion also includes a free land-and-water program to help you achieve a healthy and supple body despite your age.

This book has been known to improve the swimming techniques and strategies for thousands of people regardless of age and ability.
I would recommend this book for those who have running and cycling under control but need to improve the swimming aspect of the triathlon.

3. The Power Meter Handbook: A User’s Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes

The Power Meter Handbook A User's Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes Review

Expert coach Joe Friel also wrote this handbook. In this book, Mr. Friel gives you a simple guide to using a power meter to get massive gains when cycling. He can use easy to understand words to explain in simple terms how a power meter works.

His unique writing style allows everyone to comprehend what he is trying to say. Any triathlete will be able to master the basics of a power meter without having an advanced degree or being tech savvy. With this book, you will be able to focus on the data to discover the extra power, excellent pacing, and a variety of other beneficial information.

Once you have a grasp on the fundamentals of a power meter, Mr. Friel provides you with his unique training approach. With this approach, you can get fabulous results in a variety of types of races including road, time trials, century rides, etc. This book will also help you to match your training with your race season. You can also continue to test the limits with the information in this book.

4. Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance in Long-Course Triathlon

Fast-Track Triathlete Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance in Long-Course Triathlon Review

Matt Dixon wrote Fast-Track Triathlete for those professionals who can spare at least ten hours a week for training. His goal is for you to PR in a long course triathlon such as the Ironman, Ironman 70.3, and Challenge races. Typically, when training for a long course triathlon, an athlete would have to commit at least fifteen to twenty hours a week.

With this book, Mr. Dixon helps you cut this time in half. With work, family, and other commitments, time is limited for you to train so this book can assist you in doing it all. If Mr. Dixon is to be believed, this fact is incredible when you realize that training for a long-distance triathlon is more laborious than actually running the race.

This book provides expert advice for getting your top performances in any distance triathlon in half the training time. With a focused approach to particular aspects of training, you only need seven to ten hours a week for a half-distance triathlon and ten to twelve hours for a full-distance triathlon. These aspects include workouts, nutrition, strength, mobility, and recovery. Fast-Track Triathlete has the perfect recipe for a successful combination of life and sports performance. It also comes with a ten week and fourteen-week off-season programs to complete the workouts for training. Mr. Dixon believes in a four-tiered approach which he explains in this book.

This book could be recommended to any busy professional or everyday person who wants to commit to completing a triathlon. If a person can only train for a few hours each day, this book could guide them. Mr. Dixon believes with his laser focus on specific aspects of training; you can be successful with less than twelve hours a week of practice. He also thinks that these benefits can at regardless of the distance of the triathlon.

5. Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life

Fast After 50 How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life

Many times when you get older, people think you will get slower. This idea is especially right when discussing running, swimming, cycling, and participating in a triathlon. Joe Friel, who is an expert sports coach, has done his research on age and sports performance and wrote this book to help the older person stay healthy and continue racing even after the age of 50.

The reason Mr. Friel wrote this book was to provide information about fighting off the effects of aging. With this book, Mr. Friel says you can extend your racing career for years and be successful. To help you accomplish this extension, he has created various guidelines to use for intense workouts.

6. Strength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance

Strength Training for Triathletes The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance Review

In this book, Patrick Hagerman provides a comprehensive training program for strength. This program was created to help the triathlete increase his or her speed, power, and muscular endurance. Hagerman believes you should see an improvement in any race over various distances if you follow his program.

Being a certified triathlon coach and NSCA Trainer of the Year, Hagerman can be considered an expert in the field of triathlon training. This program is specific to triathlon and encourages the triathlete to push harder during training and the actual race. With his progressive strength training, Hagerman believes athletes will become resistant to injuries. This book also includes over 75 strength training exercises to help this resistance.

These exercises are for the triathlon’s cycling, running, and swimming events. They also include activities meant to improve the core strength and overall conditioning of the athlete. The author organized the exercises into groups so you can easily find the ones you need. Each activity has a color picture to help illustrate correct positioning.

This book was also created to help you develop and maintain powerful muscles. The author says he can also help you to resist fatigue and injury using his program. This book has a variety of different training programs that are meant to adjust to the triathlon distance. These programs also try to focus on the various sports associated with triathlons.

This book could be recommended to anyone wishing to improve his or her strength training. Strength training gives a triathlete an edge over other triathletes who do not strength train. Many experts would agree that small improvements in each of the three sports should provide surprising results. Mr. Hagerman believes this book can give you the edge. He even helps the novice by organizing the exercises by body weight and providing an exercise log template for those who like to keep a record.

7. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing

The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing Review

This book says it can help an athlete achieve greater endurance whether you are cycling, skiing, swimming, or any other sport.

Dr. Maffetone believes he provides you with the information needed to reach your optimal athletic potential while staying healthy and injury free. If you follow his approach to endurance, he believes you will get a genuinely individualized outlook for your training program.

This program is the aerobic base which is supposed to help you to burn fat, lose weight, increase energy, and develop a robust immune system. His approach also includes nutrition and ways to reduce stress.

A unique area of this book is Dr. Maffetone’s ways of dispelling a variety of myths associated with individual sports. He thinks these myths can prevent you from reaching your full level of performance. In this area, the author also explains a variety of his truths about endurance.

For example, when you train slower, Dr. Maffetone believes that you improve your endurance using your aerobic system. He also promotes that an expensive running shoe is not always necessary to be successful. In fact, he believes that costly shoes can cause damage to your feet and legs.

This book would be perfect for those who want to increase endurance levels while exercising or playing sports. Dr. Maffetone states to reach your highest athletic potential; you must have a strong aerobic base for triathlon training because it produces a wide variety of benefits. According to the author, these benefits should allow a triathlete to see an improvement in particular areas of the race.

Dr. Phil Maffetone Interview by Floris Gierman about Heart Rate Training, Nutrition and Recovery

8. Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

Finding Ultra Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself Review

When Rich Roll reached middle age, he achieved an incredible physical transformation. Finding Ultra is his story of this incredible journey. In October of 2006, Roll was climbing stairs in his house. Before reaching the top, he had to stop and catch his breath.

The next day he would be forty, and he was fifty pounds overweight. As he was standing on the stairs catching his breath, he could see his dismal future. This future propelled him into a new way of viewing his nutrition. He put plant nutrition first and decided to exercise and train daily. In just a few months, Roll went from huffing and puffing up the stairs to running up them.

Ninety days into his training, he almost ran a marathon while he was training. He knew he had to increase his goals. This book explains how Roll went from stopping and breathing on the stairs to competing in an Ultraman competition. This race is 320-miles which include cycling, swimming, and running. When he finished this race, he began training and completed an Epic5 race.

9. Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance

Racing Weight How to Get Lean for Peak Performance Review

Matt Fitzgerald wrote this book as a weight control program for endurance athletes. He utilizes new research and other athletes’ best practices to develop six steps for triathletes to help them lose weight without affecting training.

When an athlete is training, some hang-ups prevent him or her from getting a new PR. Mr. Fitzgerald says that this book provides beneficial information to help you lose weight and to avoid these hang-ups.

He also wants to help triathletes to improve their nutrition while controlling their appetite. He provides information to help an individual to balance his or her energy sources and monitor his or her weight and performance.

When trying to balance your diet and lose weight, Mr. Fitzgerald recommends you to time your nutrition throughout the day. He also states the key to success in triathlons is to train to get and stay lean.

Mr. Fitzgerald has created a Diet Quality Score which does not require you to count calories to lose weight. He includes a variety of superfoods that you need while training.

Mr. Fitzgerald talked with 18 pro athletes and had incorporated their food diaries to provide information about their diets and appetite.

I would recommend this book to those individuals who want to lose weight while maintaining training performance. Mr. Fitzgerald believes that every extra pound on your body wastes energy which hurts your performance when racing. He wanted to provide people with a program and tools to help them hit personal target numbers.

10. A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey

A Life Without Limits A World Champion's Journey Review

This book is different from the others on this list because a woman named Chrissie Wellington wrote it. This book provides a woman’s perspective of an Ironman World Championship and training for this type of race.

The book explains her journey from her childhood in England to New Zealand, to Argentina and finally winning the Ironman Championship in Hawaii. It is a truly inspiring story of how she faced challenges in her life and overcame them. These challenges included items such as her fight with anorexia and her survival of near drowning.

In this book, Ms. Wellington provides in-depth information about her training with a controversial coach. She believes that all of the drama of the sport allowed her to use sports to improve the lives of those around her.

This book is considered one of the most motivational pieces available. Besides the motivational story included in this book, Wellington provides the training, diet, and other techniques she used to win the championship.

She also offers a variety of motivational techniques she used to keep her on track to win this grueling race.

I would recommend this book to any woman who has not competed in an Ironman race because she felt it was a man’s world. Wellington provides information about how to train for yourself and not for those who want to tear you down. She believes if you read her book, you will know you can face any issue and conquer it.

11. The Brave Athlete: Calm the F**k Down and Rise to the Occasion

The Brave Athlete Calm the F* Down and Rise to the Occasion Review

Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson wrote this book. These two authors believe that everyone has three brains. The first brain is an ancient Chimp one that allows you to be alive.

The second one is a modern Professor brain which enables you to navigate the world. The last mind is the one that controls memories and habits which they refer to as your Computer brain.

Marshall and Paterson believe these three brains are continually fighting for control which makes negative things happen. For example, you are nervous before a race starts or you cannot handle the pressure and choke while racing. When you make dumb mistakes while racing, these authors believe it is because your three brains are fighting for control.

The authors of this book think that they have a method for you to take control of these three brains which would allow you to race faster and train better. Dr. Marshall is a sports psychology expert, and he works with a variety of professional athletes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Goals Important?

Before investing in a training plan or book, you should consider your triathlon goals. It is impossible for one book to suit the needs of every triathlete. However, a significant training book and plan can give you an excellent start on the right path.

Overall goals are critical when choosing a training book or plan. Goals are also important when determining the intensity of a particular season. Questions can guide you when you are creating your triathlon goals. For example, you should know what triathlon distance you want to do first. A goal can focus on finishing, improving, or winning depending on your desire.

Another question that should be answered is what your level of fitness is at this time. Any other health issues need to be factored into your training program also. The question of the amount of time and money to be invested also has to be answered.

Is a Training Book Enough?

When you begin to train for a triathlon, you have various options for training when looking for the right fit. Each of these options has different prices, benefits, disadvantages, and come with different expectations. Which option is right for you? The right choice depends on your preferences.

Triathlon books and guides are excellent one-stop resources. You can learn all aspects of the sport. Many of these books also explain you should use different techniques and the different phases of training. The best thing about books and guides is you can continue to return and review the information as needed on your own time. Many of these books also include training plans. These books tend to be affordable but take time to read.

Another option is an online triathlon training plan. This choice tends to be free, and typically, you can start the program right away. However, some of the online training plans can be confusing or lack vital information for a successful race.

The final option is to pay for a tri-coach. A tri-coach is the best way to get personalized service. However, it can be costly. If you plan to do an Ironman or a HIM, a coach may be necessary. The best option is to use a combination of all three. A virtual coach will be more affordable than an in-person coach, and a training book typically includes the training plan.

What Should Be Included in a Training Book?

When looking for an excellent triathlon training book, it should cover some of the significant components of triathlon which include:

  • Clothing – What to wear and what not to wear
  • Bike and Bike Shoes – Type of bike and different techniques
  • Swim Googles – Purpose and best type
  • Wetsuit – Disadvantages and advantages
  • Bike Helmet – Required for most races
  • Water/Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Running Techniques and Running Shoes
  • Swimming Techniques
  • Biking Techniques
  • Daily Training Plan
  • Motivation

Once these components have been covered, training techniques and methodologies can be explored further. An excellent book will also include personal experiences and references.

If you only plan to complete one triathlon, just do it. If you are passionate about being a triathlete, you must always advance your skills. Hopefully, at least one of the above eleven books can take your training to the next level. Be sure to continue to explore triathlon training books because other books will soon be available. Good luck.

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Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 3 Certified Coach. Since graduating college, Ryan has coached over sixty triathletes, runners, cyclists, and swimmers. He focuses on helping them select appropriate goals and guiding them towards achieving them.

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