In my life, two quotes can surmise my feelings about knowledge.
“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.”
“If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.”
Adlai Stevenson Jr.
Take a second and think about those quotes. What are they saying? What do they mean to you? To me, Disraeli’s quote reminds me that no matter how much I learn, I can always learn more and go into greater depth. There is so much knowledge available that it is foolish for me to believe that I am anywhere close to knowing it all. Stevenson’s quote is my reminder to allow all thoughts and ideas to enter my head. Now that doesn’t mean I believe everything I read, but instead it reminds me to not just hold fast to what I currently believe or understand and that it is okay to challenge the preconceived notions of the running world. I encourage you all to do the same. Since you are taking the time to read this list, it is clear you are dedicated to being the best coach or athlete that you can be. To become better at something takes time, motivation, and focus. Becoming a better coach or more knowledgeable athlete is no exception. Below you will find a list of recommended resources to help you in your pursuit for better performances with fewer injuries and illnesses. As with anything in life, you’ll get as much out of them as you put into interpreting, understanding, and applying the information. Let the journey begin!
Reading journals should become a habit in this profession regardless of if you fall on the athletic development or the manual therapy end of the equation. Below are a few of my favorite journals that I check each month and pull the “must reads” and also use extensively to explore topics of interest in more details. If you are a student, you should have access via your library. If you are a professional, you may need a subscription or a partnership.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research–The NSCA’s journal
Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Sports Medicine (Auckland)
Books and DVD’s–
Understanding the Body Essentials:
Kinetic Anatomy–Excellent entry level information on anatomy from a more functional perspective.
Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function–My college A&P book. It is a great one, though there are several out there that accomplish the same task.
Anatomy Trains–Discusses the fascial network in depth. Inside exist clear-cut implications for regional interdependence; valuable for both the movement and manual therapist.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes–Extremely commonly cited and a text that helped lead the “movement” revolution. Sahrmann details her approach to a number of specific joints. Her follow-up text will be a much welcomed edition that will give more detailed information into the joints not discussed in volume 1.
Kinesiology: Mechanics and Pathomechanics of Human Movement–An excellent resource detailing the mechanics of human movement. It’s impeccably detailed and a wonderful reference.
Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques–Volume 1 is the upper body edition, and is extremely extensive, Volume 2 is no different. Not only do you get a detailed theory to help understand the workings of the fascial system, trigger points, NMT, and how they all fit together, but also specific indications and applications.
Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach–Details the interpretation Janda’s work through the lens of Phil Page, Clare Frank, and Robert Lardner. It’s extremely well referenced, gives you easy to apply ideas, and helps you gain an understanding of how things can fit together.
The Pelvic Girdle–A great resource for understanding load transfer through the core. If you’ve paid any attention whatsoever to performance in the past decade, you’ll realize how important it can be.
Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance–a clear resource for basic physiological concepts in exercise.
Clinical Sports Medicine–Brukner and Khan–A fantastic sports medicine reference. I find myself referring back to it frequently.
Run With The Best–Benson and Ray–A great resource that really emphasizes long term development. A must have for all track coaches and athletes. I have probably read it between 10 and 15 times and always find new gems.
Block Training For Endurance Athletes–Verkhoshansky–An interesting perspective on training endurance athletes.
Running: Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology in Practice–Bosch and Klomp do a great job of discussing the crux of efficient locomotion and provide some interesting training interventions. While I cannot say I use the training portions extensively, it is an excellent book nonetheless.
Running To The Top–Arthur Lydiard–A classic from Lydiard. It is hard to say that anybody who has had success in running in the past fifty years wasn’t influenced by Lydiard in some way.
Running My Way–Harry Wilson–Hard to find, but a good one to get your hands on.
Science and Practice of Strength Training–Zatsiorsky/Kraemer–Another essential in the library. A relatively extensive look into strenth training and performance enhancement.
Daniel’s Running Formula–Jack Daniels–A good read that provides a clear understanding of basic physiology and training organization.
Mike Boyle’s Functional Strength Coach–Boyle–a fantastic DVD series covering a gamut of strength and conditioning topics from evaluation to race day. I highly recommend checking it out.
Core Performance: Endurance–Verstegen–Shifts the way endurance athletes look at training. A great start up resource that I recommend to recreational athletes seeking general guidance for non-running programming.
Road to the Top–Joe Vigil–A more complex book than many running books, but does a fantastic job of covering special topics and event-specific preparation from one of the most successful coaches in history.
Middle and Long Distances–Jarver–An anthology of various articles and scientific literature as it pertains to enhancing running performance. Great stuff.
Better Training For Distance Runners–Coe/Martin–A solid training reference with some serious scientific backing. This is one, along with Run with The Best, that I read parts out of almost weekly. The latter half of the book is especially valuable once you understand the underlying physiology.
Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods–Thibadeau–A clear, concise text covering exactly what the title suggests.
Supertraining–Siff–A dense, scientifically backed text. Probably the most comprehensive evaluation of training as it relates to the human body and performance. I typically read all books cover to cover, but I find this one to be a better “digest” style book where I’ll pull a chapter or section at a time depending on what’s relevant to me at that moment.
Nutrient Timing–Discusses how to time nutrient intake for optimum recovery.
Precision Nutrition–Teaches you not only what to eat, but how to optimize timing, individualize nutrition, and perform better in a very simple format.
The Paleo Diet for Athletes–I really enjoyed this book and find it to be pretty applicable. I’m not fully sold on Paleo as a zealot, but a lot of the thought process makes sense and with a few modifications, you’ll end up with very good nutrition.
Trigger Point Therapy Workbook–Self-applied soft-tissue work strategies for pain relief.
And there you have it, a list of books, websites, and other resources to get you well on your way to understanding the body and it’s function as well as how to optimize it’s performance. As this is a living document, it will be updated frequently, so check back often.