If you’re looking for triathlon books – whether for training, inspiration, or enjoyment – then we have the list for you. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best triathlon books that fit all three of these categories.
Each book has been mindfully-selected based on its usefulness, perspective, and overall reviews from other readers. We’ve added most of these multisport and endurance books in our libraries and they inspire much of the content we share here at BetterTriathlete.com.
Got a triathlon or endurance-related book to suggest? Let us know about it!
Going Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons
by Joe Friel, Gordon Byrn
Written by Ironman legend Joe Friel and now available in its second edition, Going Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons is a gold stand read for Iron-distance training. The book contains chapters that discuss the basics of triathlon training and building endurance, as well as sport-specific guidance for swimming, biking, and running. What makes it a great triathlon training book are Friel’s mental strategies and tips for athletes to get the most out of their time invested in the sport. Included in the book are sample training plans, plenty of visuals like photographs, charts, and tables, and copious athlete case studies.
Going Long is rated 4.1 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza
If you’re familiar with the work of Kelly Starrett, then you’re probably well aware of the importance behind proper biomechanics, movement patterns, and having adequate range of motion – and how all these fundamentals factor-in to athletic performance. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance is any athlete’s (but especially triathlete’s) bible when it comes to preventing and rehabilitating common athletic injuries and unlock potent reservoirs of athletic capacity. This book now has a 2.0 version with newly added content.
Becoming a Supple Leopard is rated 4.4 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Hard Wired: Life, Death and Triathlon
By Emma Carney and Jane E. Hunt
Dominant triathlete in the 1990’s, Emma Carney won the world title on debut in her first international triathlon. Emma then went on to win more races than anyone, before a heart condition developed and stopped my career. Emma Carney was sensationally left off the 2000 Olympic Team, and for the first time, discusses the circumstances around that process in her autobiography Hard Wired. Life, Death and Triathlon which is Emma’s life story beyond triathlon. Emma is now a high-performance coach and works with the World Triathlon Development team. Emma’s story raises questions: who is truly there when things go wrong? When the system fails? Who cares when you find yourself dying on the roadside?
Hard Wired. Life, Death and Triathlon is a relatively new book that you can learn more about on Google Books.
Strength Training for Triathletes
by Patrick S. Hagerman
One of the best triathlon strength training books, the simply titled Strength Training for Triathletes by Patrick S. Hagerman delivers highly sport-specific weight lifting programs for multisport athletes. Organized by sport and muscle group, the book offers over 75 exercises that are designed to help build strength for swimming, biking, and running. Athletes will appreciate sample seasonal plans for various triathlon distances, as well as guidance on adapting training plans to individual needs. In short, this book makes it easy to develop a triathlon-focused strength training program for both off-season and race season.
Strength Training for Triathletes is rated 4.0 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance in Long-Course Triathlon
by Matt Dixon
For those looking for Ironman training books, legendary pro Matt Dixon delivers the goods in his Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance in Long-Course Triathlon. Dixon delivers a revolutionary to triathlon training, as well as specifics related to recovery, strength and mobility, and nutrition. As the book title implies, Dixon helps busy Iron-distance athletes optimize their training to get the most out of less hours spent actually training. Novice and beginner triathletes will appreciate training programs for: 10-week off-season training, 14-week pre-season training, and 14-week race-prep training programs, with full and half-Ironman distance plans structured with key workouts plus strength and conditioning exercises.
Fast-Track Triathlete is rated 4.4 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You.
by Meredith Atwood
As an Ironman triathlon coach who packs a wealth of wisdom for female triathletes, Meredith Atwood shares everything you need to make your multisport goals a reality. In her book Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You., readers can expect easy-to-adopt training plans, the latest in sports nutrition, and the most up-to-date insights on long-distance racing. In addition to Meredith’s experience, she also shares expertise from fellow triathlon coaches, nutritionists, and athletes. Meredith’s story of going from exhausted wife and mom to successful triathlete as resonated at large with the female triathlon community. See why in this epic triathlon training/inspiration book.
Triathlon for the Every Woman is rated 4.3 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Triathlon for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know about Training, Nutrition, Kit, Motivation, Racing, and Much More
by Dan Golding
Triathlon For Beginners by Dan Golding is an insightful and easy-to-understand triathlon book that’s packed with practical strategies to help athletes progress in the sport. Dan Golding shares not only his own triathlon experience but also the experience of world class professionals. Readers can learn how to develop their own training plan, how to train effectively to maximize progress while minimizing injury, and how to acquire the essential gear to train and race to your highest potential. If you’re new to the sport of triathlon, then Golding’s Triathlon For Beginners is worth a read.
Triathlon For Beginners is rated 3.8 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Be IronFit: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness
by Don Fink, Melanie Fink
Considered to be the best Ironman triathlon training book in its 3rd edition, Be Ironfit: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness has it all. An appropriate read for both beginners and elite athletes, Be IronFit contains everything from sport-specific training, flexibility and core strength principles to mental training, nutrition, and time management tips. The IronFit book series has been refined over a decade and offers a goldmine of knowledge for Ironman athletes. The authors Don and Melanie Fink also have published IronFit Triathlon Training for Women. In short, they’ve written some great books in the IronFit series that worth exploring.
Be Ironfit: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness is rated 4.4 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World’s Fastest Swimmers
by Sheila Taormina
Written by 4-time Olympian (including a gold medal victory) and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina, Swim Speed Secrets: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World’s Fastest Swimmers is required reading for elite triathletes. Inspired by underwater video analysis and photographs of some of the world’s top freestyle swimmers, this book drives home the most fundamental of swimming principles – the high-elbow underwater pull. In addition to sharing some of the best drills to develop feel for the water, Taormina also offers out-of-water strength building exercises to cultivate proper arm positioning and upper body musculature that lends to faster swimming.
Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes is rated 4.2 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training
by Brian MacKenzie and Glen Cordoza
Crossing over into similar territory of Kelly Starret and the west coast CrossFit community, author Brian Mackenzie brings a refreshing and revolutionary perspective with his Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training. This book delivers next-level training strategies paired with copious imagery in full color. Power Speed ENDURANCE is a gold standard for optimizing athletic performance, especially for elite athletes that need an edge for both output and injury prevention. Applying principles from the world’s best crossfit trainers, athletes can enjoy actionable, step-by-step instructions for specific exercises and movements.
Power Speed ENDURANCE is rated 4.0 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Endurance Training – Science and Practice
by Íñigo Mujika
Endurance Training – Science and Practice is one of the most underrated yet impact books in its class. The book is easy-to-follow and provides a systematic approach to train – making it ideal for all types of endurance enthusiasts. Athletes, coaches, and sports scientists alike will appreciate the comprehensive, science-supported nature of this book. Mujika draws on the knowledge of over 50 international contributors who are recognized as world class in their respective fields. In doing so, Endurance Training – Science and Practice strikes the perfect balance in both the scientific and practical aspects of endurance training and performance.
Endurance Training – Science and Practice is rated 4.7 out of 5 at GoodReads.
The Triathlete’s Training Bible
by Joe Friel
Certainly one of the most iconic and time-tested triathlon training books out there is Joe Friel’s The Triathlete’s Training Bible. Essentially it’s a well-organized training manual that’s both comprehensive and easy to navigate. In its latest edition, Friel includes annual training plan worksheets and specific workouts for swimming, biking, running, and combined brick training. The book also touches on the psychology and mental aspects of training and racing, making the newest revision of The Triathlete’s Training Bible even more complete. This is one the best triathlon books that any serious triathlete should acquire in their library. It also makes for a great gift.
The Triathlete’s Training Bible is rated 4.1 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong
by T.J. Murphy, Brian Mackenzie
This inspiring book was written by a power duo consisting of previously-mentioned CrossFit Endurance pioneer Brian Mackenzie and legendary endurance author T.J. Murphy. Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong lights a match to conventional training and recovery norms, and officially burns these traditions to the ground by introducing a new set of rules for fast, powerful, and resilient running conventions. Murphy and MacKenzie dispel myths surrounding popular running ideology, like high-volume training and high-carb diets, and instead, replace these trends with high-intensity, injury bulletproof alternatives.
Unbreakable Runner is rated 4.1 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally
by Kelly Starrett, T.J. Murphy
Also taking an alternative look at how to become better runners/movers, the Supple Leopard himself later introduced Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally. In the book, Starrett addresses non-training norms like how sitting too much and wearing compromising footwear can contribute to chronic injury. More importantly, he tells us what we can do about it. Ready to Run is a mobility-forward runner’s guide to warding-off injury, developing proper movement patterns, and producing greater range of motion to achieve optimal mechanics. The book is very easy to read and contains a ton of wonderful photos.
Ready to Run is rated 4.3 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life
by Ben Greenfield
With a forward written by 2-time Ironman world champion Chris McCormack, any serious triathlete would be hard-pressed not to check out Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life by Ben Greenfield. This book takes a more all-encompassing approach by including far more than just triathlon and endurance content. However, almost everything in the book translates to better performance in multisport. From biohacks for mental performance to optimizing nutrition and immunity, this book offers a similar wide-ranging perspective like that of Ben’s podcast.
Beyond Training is rated 3.9 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Your First Triathlon
By Joe Friel
There’s a reason why one of the most prolific triathlon authors is also a best-selling author. Your First Triathlon is an enduring testament to Joe Friel’s work, as it’s widely considered one of the best triathlon books for beginners. Having been around for years and now out in its second edition, Your First Triathlon is a clear and comprehensive book that makes preparing for short-course triathlon both fun and easy. The book contains a simple 12-week training plan requiring only 4 training hours week. Not only does Friel provide training structure and technique advice, but he also includes a wide range of tips like handling pool etiquette, flat tires, muscle soreness, and other beginner FAQs.
Your First Triathlon is rated 3.9 out of 5 at GoodReads.
The following triathlon books fall into the category of inspiration and enjoyment (less about training).
Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run
by Matt Fitzgerald
This inspirational triathlon book is an epic story of the sport’s most iconic rivalries and neck-and-neck races to have ever happened. Rewind to 1989 during the Ironman World Championship in Kona, the two top athletes in the sport, Dave Scott and Mark Allen, would race shoulder to shoulder at record-setting pace for nearly the entire 8 hour race. The inspiring race would redefine the role of mental toughness triathlon, let alone the limits of human endurance. The book is told in a captivating narrative that tells a story of two world class champions and the paths that led to their gripping showdown over three decades ago on the big island.
Iron War is rated 4.3 out of 5 at GoodReads.
by Rich Roll
Finding Ultra, which is now available in a revised and updated edition subtitled Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself, is an inspiring story about author and self-transformed ultra-endurance athlete, Rich Roll. The story tells Rich Roll’s remarkable journey of going from a depressed, unhealthy attorney to plant-based multisport athlete competing in some of the world’s most intense endurance races. A true page turn for triathletes, Finding Ultra delves into some of Rich Roll’s experiences in racing events like the 320-mile Ultraman and the EPIC5, which is five consecutive Ironman-distance triathlons, each on a different Hawaiian island.
Finding Ultra is rated 4.0 out of 5 at GoodReads.
Dare to Tri: My Journey from the BBC Breakfast Sofa to GB Team Triathlete
by Louise Minchin
Dare to Tri: My Journey from the BBC Breakfast Sofa to GB Team Triathlete is inspirational journey of how Louise Minchin’s new discovery of triathlon quickly evolves into a passionate obsession. As a former athlete herself from decades prior, Minchin finds her interest piqued as a triathlete. As her performances improve, she embraces the possibility of representing the Great British team as a competitive age grouper. In doing so, Minchin must adapt to a rigorous training program, overcome personal nerves, a bike crash, and all of the emotions in between. For competitive age groupers, this triathlon book is inspiring and motivating read.
Dare to Tri is rated 4.2 out of 5 at GoodReads.
A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey
by Chrissie Wellington
Chrissie Wellington, a notable figure in the professional triathlon community of the late 2000’s, shares her journey first-hand in A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey. During the 2007 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Wellington shook up the sport by coming out of nowhere to win the race as a newcomer. Shocking both the press and triathlon community at large, Wellington quickly became an iconic role model for all types of athletes. Her book A Life Without Limits makes her story even more accessible, as readers join her through her travels, race experiences, and high’s and low’s of being a world class triathlete.
A Life Without Limits is rated 4.1 out of 5 at GoodReads.
As the Crow Flies: My Journey to Ironman World Champion
by Craig Alexander
As the Crow Flies offers triathletes and endurance enthusiasts an engaging story of five-time world champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander. Recognized as one of the sport’s most successful athletes, Crowie shares his mindset, his training, and the relationships that enabled him to become the athlete and individual he is today. From a triathlon training perspective, Crowie offers insight into his training blocks, workouts, and pivotal moments in big races. Additionally, he share is work-life balance and the struggles he faced with illness, family, and personal matters. Filled with incredible photographs, As the Crow Flies is a unique story that all triathletes will appreciate.
As the Crow Flies is rated 3.8 out of 5 at GoodReads.