A Bibliography for the Competitive Runner

The following is a list of recommended reads. Some of these I read as a high-schooler 30 years ago, and they had more of an influence on “daydreamer Hodgie” than any other factor.


Also Ran By Tim Tays

This book is so “ill” (something extremely badass).

The illustrations are humorous and add a lot to the readers experience.

Sully faces the monumental challenges of all teenagers in abundance. Tim Tays weaves a suspenseful story carrying Sully through all the minefields he faces, family issues, romance, and a superior competitor on the way to nirvana possibly, or maybe just relative tranquility.

It is the story of a runner with a nemesis who happens to be his friend and athletic supporter. Their story culminates at the State Championships.

Most runners do not win the state championship, set records or succeed at the highest levels beyond high school and college, but athletics often provide a focal point and a release that eases the journey through life.

This book should be of particular interest to the teen crowd but adults will identify with this story as well.

Also by Tim: Wannabe Distance God


Bill Rodgers with Joe Concannon

The MARATHON. It is not one of the ultimate challenges, like going to the moon or climbing Mount Everest. The marathon is something that is readily within reach, and when I reached for it, I won Boston. I set the American Record. That opened doors. It changed my life. It also set me up for some failures. I learned how the marathon can humble you…

Read More.


Running With the Legends

Read Running with the Legends and become a training partner, student, friend, and fan of some of the greatest runners ever. You’ll be informed, inspired, and entertained by the programs, prescriptions, and personalities in this book. Who better to learn from than the best? 

Read More.



Following the Flame

Greg Lautenslager

He will run 150 miles per week through duststorms or snowstorms, endure the torment of crazed coaches and teammates, flip burgers, wash dishes, and live in a van or a basement or with the two people who tell him he is wasting his time—his parents…

Read more.




Mike Platt

One of the keys to performing well is eliminating anxiety. I have no fear of failure and no fear of success; both will happen. I do not get embarrassed. What happens happens and it matters little to nothing to me if others don’t

Read more.



From Last To First

Charlie Spedding

Spedding is the English record holder for the marathon, a winner of the London Marathon, and the last British athlete, male or female, to win a medal in the Olympic Marathon.

When Charlie first went to school he was almost bottom of the class, and he was even worse at sport. He and his teachers shared a very low opinion of his abilities, but then he found something he was good at. As he devoted himself to it, he gradually improved. After years of dedication he eventually became world class. He literally went from last to first.

This book is about running, because it was running that Charlie was good at, but the story he tells has a message for everybody: find what you are good at, and then become the best you can – at whatever it is.

From Last To First is Charlie’s story in Charlie’s own words. It is a story full of setbacks and adverstiy, of determination and commitment, and of love for the sheer joy of running. It is a story to fascinate anyone who enjoys sport.



On The Wings of Mercury : The Lorraine Moller Story

Lorraine Moller is a living legend in the world of New Zealand running and athletics. Four times Olympic contender, Commonwealth Games medal winner, Boston marathoner, World Track and Field Champion, three times winner of the Avon Women’s World Marathon. This is the remarkable story of the making of an Olympian. One who as a schoolgirl, ran barefoot with her father through the pine forests near her home in Putaruru, in the Waikato, and went on to win a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. It is also the candid story of Lorraine’s own struggles and challenges as she dealt with a sporting world that wasn’t quite ready for her. In her own words Lorraine looks back on her development as a world class competitor, the people she raced and trained with — Arthur Lydiard, Dick Quax, Rod Dixon, Anne Audain, Alison Roe, to mention a few, along with those who helped her reach her dreams. Lorraine reveals the strategies and coping mechanisms required to compete at the highest level.And she gives, in On the Wings of Mercury – The Lorraine Moller Story, an insider’s view of the amateur versus professional athlete controversy, and her involvement in overturning the authorities when it came to women competing in the marathon at the Olympics. Here is a portrait of an extraordinary life: intense, highly entertaining, intelligent and very funny. Like a novel, with Lorraine as the heroine, and the Roman god Mercury as her guide, On the Wings of Mercury will redefine sports autobiography.

Lorraine Moller is one of New Zealand’s greatest women distance runners. Four times an Olympic contender, winner of three Avon Women’s Marathons, winner of the Boston Marathon, three times the winner of the Osaka international Ladies’ Marathon, and a Commonwealth Games medallist, she is indeed a living legend of the runn ing world. Lorraine began running barefoot with her father near her home in Putaruru and went on to win a bronze medal in the marathon at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games. Here, in her own words, Lorraine looks back on a golden era of athletics in New Zealand and the personalities she ran with — Arthur Lydiard, Dick Quax, rod Dixon, Anne Audain, Allison roe and others. She traces her development as a world-class competitor and reveals the strategies and coping techniques that took her to the world stage. A longtime battler for equality and professionalism in distance running, Lorraine is upfront about her struggles with officialdom. With the roman god Mercury as her guide, Lorraine competed with immense courage and determination at the highest level. Here is a candid, personal story of an extraordinary life: intense, insightful and highly entertaining.

First published October 2007.

The best autobiography and possibly the best book I have read, full stop. Sports books are a dime a dozen but this book offers much much more. It’s the story of Lorraine’s journey, the journey of a great athlete, but above all else, a great person. Chris Pilone, Olympic Coach to Hamish Carter

 This is the most compelling autobiography I have ever read. Peter Snell



Run To The Top and Running To The Top

Arthur Lydiard

As malmo says, “A runner not knowing like a physicist not knowing Newton.” (malmo is a master wordsmith and a former American record holder in both the steeple and the half-marathon.)

Lydiard’s original ideas are the basis for everything I believe with regard to training. He stresses the need for a runner to create a foundation with a mileage build-up before honing his speed with a mix of hills, intervals and preliminary races to prepare for his goal race. The mileage foundation is the key; the mix is an individual matter.

The original Run to the Top was published in 1962 and may be difficult to find. I bought my copy while on a trip to New Zealand in 1986 at a used bookstore for $5.00. A later edition, titled Running To The Top, was published in 1997.


A Clean Pair Of Heels: The Murray Halberg Story

Murray Halberg with Garth Gilmour

Halberg is a Lydiard disciple, a former 5,000-meter world record holder, and an Olympic gold medalist.


No Bugles, No Drums

Peter Snell with Garth Gilmour

Snell is a former mile world record holder and an 800m/1500m Olympic gold medalist.


The Unforgiving Minute

Ron Clarke

Autobiography of the Australian great and former world record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m

 The Long Hard Road, Parts One (Nearly To The Top) and Two (To The Peak And Beyond)

Ron Hill

Champion of the European, Commonwealth, and Boston marathons who ran 2:09:27 in 1970. One of my favorites and written by the man himself. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find.



Clarence DeMar

Awesome autobiographical account of the early days of marathon running. A marathon runner’s must-read.

A Cold Clear Day: The Buddy Edelen Story

Frank Murphy

Another must for marathoners.


Olympic Gold: A Runner’s Life And Times

Frank Shorter

A must-read for every American distance runner.




Bill Rodgers with Joe Concannon

Another must read. Bill and I and our fellow GBTC teammates found our way together as a loose group and on our own with our desire and dreams, and Coach Bill Squires provided the blueprint and the inspiration. No necessity for training camps, altitude training or physiologists – just hard training, some laughs and disappointments, and camaraderie. Click here for link to Bill Rodgers Running Center.


Boston Marathon: The First Century of the World’s Premier Running Event

Tom Derderian

Great history of the world’s premier marathon.


In The Long Run

Bob Schul

A new and important book from the only American ever to win the Olympic 5,000m. Summarizes the ideas of coach Mihaly Igloi.


The Miler

Steve Scott with Marc Bloom

A nice account of the American Record Holders career and a valuable book for those who pursue middle distance running at the highest levels.


Pre: The Story Of America’s Greatest Running Legend

Tom Jordan

Read it. Enough said.


Train Hard, Win Easy: The Kenyan Way

Toby Tanser

How do the Kenyans do it? This book provides some insight.


Inside Track: My Professional Life In Amateur Track And Field

Carl Lewis

America’s best ever T&F athlete on his career. I like Carl despite his foibles.


Thrown Free

Wolfgang Schmidt

A good look into the East German sports machine as experienced by Schmidt an Olympic Hero and former world record holder in the Discus throw.


Inside Running: Basics Of Sports Physiology

David Costill

Basic physiology for the runner.


Running With The Buffaloes

Chris Lear

A high-testosterone inside look at the University of Colorado’s 1998 cross-country campaign.


Triumph and Tragedy: A History of Abebe Bikila and His Marathon Career

Tsige Abebe

Bikila’s daughter honored: Tsige Abebe, the daughter of two-time Olympic Marathon champion Abebe Bikila, will be a guest of honor at the Rome Marathon in Italy on March 22. (Rome was the site of Bikila’s barefoot

Olympic Marathon triumph in 1960.) Also, some Italian publishers have expressed an interest in translating Abebe’s biography on her father, Triumph and Tragedy: A History of Abebe Bikila and His Marathon Career, into Italian. An autographed English copy can be purchased from the author. Send $12 plus $2 postage to Tsige Abebe, 4711 West Braddock Road, Apt. 203, Alexandria, VA 22311.


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