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Christmas Gifts for a Running Coach aka Running Books

Running books are the perfect gifts for your favorite running coach or runner! We should all be lifelong students, right?

If you have been reading the blog for any amount of time, you know a few things: a) that I am a Running Coach b) I’m a running nerd and c) I like penguins. And if you have been reading for the past two months (has it really been only 2 months?), you also know that I am a running coach who can’t run, initially cleared to continue exercise but for the past month on forced rest since discovering I have a sacral stress fracture. Sooooo… It would be kind of a cruel joke to give me running gear, as I received last year and the year before.

Well, you appeal to the one part of my body that I CAN devote to training: my brain, and you help me further develop myself as a coach!

Running Books for Running Coaches

The idea of asking for #allthe running books, and specifically, all the marathon training books, for Christmas came to me randomly as I desperately tried to come up with gift ideas for Alex’s family to give to me. I had picked out several books after my RRCA coaching certification, but I hadn’t previously had the extra cash to devote to purchasing. BINGO Perfect gift. Adding to the library, when Alex and I went through an epic clean out of our front room, we came across several unused gift cards, including one from Barnes and Noble (this was from a Christmas long ago, when people still frequented actual bookstores, lol). I had never used it, it had no expiration date; jackpot.

Check out a part of my library of running books! As a running coach, I am dedicated to staying educated and on top of the best training methods for my athletes. Come check out what I am reading! @suzlyfe


I’m still waiting on one more book, but here is my new and improved Library of Running Books! 

Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels

I actually got this in October during RRCA certification. Considered one of the running coaches’ bibles, this is a fantastic resource for both coaches and runners alike. Daniels delves into method, methodology, psychology, and his own history. I found it fascinating, and reading the Daniels’ Running Formula only whetted my appetite for more reading on training for all running distances, not just marathon training.

80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald

This is the first of the Christmas running books that I have read, and I think it will prove immeasurably helpful. Fitzgerald has a very approachable writing style but also delves into the science of running and the science behind the psychology and method that he is supporting. I will definitely be incorporating many of these teachings into my coaching plans, as I think that 80/20 Running will prove to be very helpful and applicable to my current athletes. Fitzgerald delves into heart rate training, a training method that is becoming increasingly popular and accessible thanks to heart rate monitors now on the general market. Learning more about Fitzgerald’s zones will help me provide more options to my clients when it comes to flexibility during full and half marathon training.

Quick Strength for Runners by Jeff Horowitz

I may be a certified personal trainer practiced in creating supplemental workouts for runners, but a) you can never know too much and b) books like Quick Strength for Runners will help me with cuing my clients when I am not with them. 

Build Your Running Body by Pete Magill

I wanted Build Your Running Body for the same reasons as Quick Strength for Runners; trying to stay on top of my game, by continuing my education and having a reference on strength training specifically for runners.

Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas

Another comprehensive guide for optimizing performance and training, Advanced Marathoning is a beautifully efficient and highly regarded reference for marathoners.  I am excited to see how Pfitzinger and Douglas explicate and articulate the marathon training process. I started it last night, and this book, dedicated to the art of marathon training, is beautifully articulate but straightforward at explaining key concepts, such as lactate threshold, VO2 Max, and more. It is a great review and refresher for me!

Better Training for Distance Runners by David Martin and Peter Coe

Described as the “complete manual for athletes, coaches, and educators,” Better Training for Distance Runners delves into the science behind each distance from 800m to the marathon. I anticipate this book to be similar in structure to but deeper in depth than Daniels’ Running Formula. S

Obviously, there are still so many more running books on everything from strength training for runners to marathon training plans to 5k training that I hope to add to my collection, but I think that this is a great start for me to start taking in and studying. I am also still waiting on The Runner’s Brain by Jeff Brown.

Non Running Gifts


More awesome Penguin Gifts!

In all, I received 4 penguin gifts this year:

A Penguin Pez Dispenser, Penguin Mug, Penguin Paper Clips, and Penguin Socks. These will support my other penguin socks, Puffington, and Mr. Pongwan, who is the most erudite of the penguins. Oh, and yes, I totally got the penguin card that I fell in love with at Whole Foods. 

Also, I love that Sam’s mom got here almost everything from the penguin gift guide. AWESOME.


Between both sets of parents, Alex and I will be feasting on chocolate for a long time. I am ok with that. 

And the other most epic gift…..

KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment

KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment

I am so excited for this baby. You all know I love my baby spiralizer, and that I make zoodles and such all the time. But I have the ability to spiralize #allthethings with the KitchenAid Spiralizer Attachment. The only problem? I store my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on top of our refrigerator, and I can’t pick it up right now with my injury. So… Alex and I are going to have to figure that out. But I’m so excited for Henri to get a workout! I think that it is high time for me to remake my Vegetarian Carbonara with Beets, Sweet Potato, and Zucchini Noodles. I’m not detoxing or doing Whole 30, but this would have been a great gift for a loved one trying to get on track with their eating!

Links are Amazon Affiliate Links. Thank you for helping me make more zoodles!

Fun socks and some hilarious Star Wars knicknacks rounded out our Christmas haul. Now, if you will excuse me, I have quite a bit of reading to do!

A #runner's education is never over. Check out these #running books for your library! #runchat Click To Tweet

What should be my next running books?

What should I spiralize first?

Should I switch to Polar Bears next year? They’ve always been a favorite of mine.

I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, and MCM Mama Runs, No Guilt Life, and Marcia’s Healthy Slice for Tuesdays on the Run.

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Have you read these gems?


  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    My Mom got me the apiralizer attachment as well for my kitchen aid. I’m looking forward to testing it out! I already have a apiralizer but she claims this works better. The true test to come!

    January 5, 2016 at 6:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe


      January 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm
  • Reply Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    I got my mom a chocolate Penguin 🙂
    And spiralize a beet….best thing to spiralize!

    January 5, 2016 at 6:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I did that last spring, but I’m excited to up my beet game!

      January 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm
  • Reply Michele @ paleorunningmomma

    Great roundup of books – I have most but might have to check out the ones I don’t. I don’t like spiralizing zucchini but love sweet potatoes! Noodles or curly fries, yum 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 6:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      How could I have forgotten about the simple joys of curly fries!

      January 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I did not know there was a spiralizer attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer. My mixer is 27 years old. Seems like you can teach an old dog new tricks…

    January 5, 2016 at 6:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This is why you get a Kitchen Aid. Those things last forever.

      January 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply Alicia

    Great gifts. I am working on expanding my yoga library especially working on yoga anatomy.
    I spiralized sweet potato the other night. So yummy. Love just cooking it in the pan with a bit of oil and salt. I swear it’s like candy sweet and salty.

    January 5, 2016 at 6:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ohhh yes. So good. Yoga books are so fascinating–one day I will make my way to those!

      January 5, 2016 at 2:05 pm
  • Reply Kimberly G

    I received so many running books over the holidays. I am still trying to decide which one to read first!

    Of course I love all the penguin items! 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 6:39 am
  • Reply Julie

    My favorite running book is Born to Run but I have really not read a lot. I pretty much go out and run!! I am overwhelmed at the selection and do not know the good ones so this is a good list. Running this morning was COLD. My hair froze :). Make it a great day!!

    January 5, 2016 at 6:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha ah, I am not sad to be missing out on freezing runs, i will tell you that. I started with ones suggested to me by RRCA during my certification, then kind of built out from there.

      January 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm
  • Reply Bri

    I’ve got the 80/20 book and have been dying to crack it open, but haven’t because I have so many other interesting books on the go at the moment, haha. Thanks for the review!

    January 5, 2016 at 6:44 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is so good. SO GOOD

      January 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm
  • Reply lindsay

    my husband has a lot of those! but he swears by phil maffetone too! I’ll send him this list!

    January 5, 2016 at 6:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oo, I would love to know what else he has!

      January 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    I too received an excess of penguins for Christmas!

    January 5, 2016 at 6:51 am
  • Reply Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola

    I bought a nicer spiralizer with a William Sonoma GC I had earlier this year. I wish I had known Kitchen Aid had a spiralizer before I had bought that… one less kitchen gadget in the house 🙂 My mixer sits on the counter but it is pushed back to stay out of the way. It is so heavy that I have a hard time moving it to the front of the counter to use it. I have to pick it up because sliding it pops loose the little rubber feet on the bottom. It’s cute that you collected more penguins for Christmas 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 6:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Precisely why I never got a big spiralizer. When I saw this one, I just had to jump on it. We don’t have enough counterspace to even have it on the counters pushed back!

      January 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Gretchen | Gretchruns

    These are all great gift ideas! I also got a B&N gift card for Christmas and I got an amazing cookbook that I’m already obsessed with. I can’t wait to get a house and buy a kitchenaid mixer..I use my mom’s all the time and it’s the BEST! Now it spiralizes?! What!

    January 5, 2016 at 7:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Seriously. I got one for our wedding. It hasn’t gotten as much use as I would like it to, but now, I am going to do alllll the things with it. I can’t wait until we have a real sized kitchen.

      January 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm
  • Reply jennifer f

    Oh yeah girl, I got that KA attachment for Christmas too — so far I’ve only done an apple to test, it was so intimidating to open the box with all the parts haha

    January 5, 2016 at 7:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m leaving it until after I get back from Cabo–I don’t want to get myself too excited, haha

      January 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Penguins are awesome! :-)))
    I’ve read some of these books and they are awesome and I totally wanted that spiralizer for Christmas– perhaps I wasn’t loud enough for Santa to hear 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 7:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I just made it the only option 😀

      January 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    These books look great! So much great stuff to read about when it comes to training. I thought you were kidding about the penguins, lol! Nice gifts!

    January 5, 2016 at 7:24 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I like penguins, but apparently, I now mean business!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply Pam

    Penguins are adorable and you may need to add Antarctica marathon to your bucket list so you can see them up close and personal. I devour running books too and while not a coach, I think it is important to be informed. One I received for Christmas is My Year of Running Dangerously and I am saving it for my plane ride to FL later this week. I also have a Matt Fitzgerald book in my pile, How Bad Do You Want It. I think that one will be really helpful for finishing races strong.

    January 5, 2016 at 7:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      One of my former trainees and I were chatting and he wants to marathon on all continents. I told him I would help him but only if he runs it in a penguin suit. Those are some other great tomes to add to my list!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Kat

    So much penguin cuteness!! I have that same obsession with owls. I literally have owls everywhere in my house. Well, that and unicorns and butterflies. My poor husband.
    I love my spiralizer, but its just the normal one – nothing as big as a Kitchen Aid! Thus far Ive only made zoodles but it works like a charm!

    January 5, 2016 at 7:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think I will keep my baby one for quick zoodles. But I’m pretty excited about my new possibilities. Butterflies, unicorns, owls… I sense a take flight theme!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:52 pm
  • Reply Sara

    I have all these but the quick strength for runners. Love them! As coach, I try to always keep learning. I’ve even been reading about ulta marathon training lately.

    January 5, 2016 at 7:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I feel like ultras are the next frontier. I’ll get to them!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply Heather@hungryforbalance

    I am so jealous of that spiralizer attachment!!!!! If it were me, I think I would go for a sweet potato first.

    January 5, 2016 at 8:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh, most definitely. It will be one of the first. BUT DREAM BIGGER

      January 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply Angie @ Pace with Grace

    I loved Elite Minds by Stan Beecham. I heard about his book from his interview on Tina Muir’s podcast (which is a great interview by the way). The book is great and dives into sporty psychology which is a really interesting topic in my mind and definitely relates to running. You should use your new spiralizer for sweet potatoes!… I wonder if that would work?

    January 5, 2016 at 8:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Totally would work. Sweet potatoes were difficult on my old spiralizer, but this one will power through them. I will definitely add elite minds to my list!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Jen

    Zoodles are my favorite spiralized veggie! Then Sweet potatoes! Such a fun gift. I love how other fitness nerds get excited a gifts that normal people might think are silly. I’d totally geek out of new fitness books!

    January 5, 2016 at 8:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      The life of a nerrrrd. You know I am totally ok with that, lol.

      January 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Looks like you got some great gifts. I’ve heard great things about that 80/20 book. I just bought Matt Fitzgerald’s book – How Bad Do you Want it and I’m look forward to diving into it.

    January 5, 2016 at 8:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m sure that I will be making the rounds to that one. SO MANY BOOOOOOKS

      January 5, 2016 at 1:49 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    I love my spiralizer!!!!!!! I usually do zucchini or carrots. I haven’t gotten too creative yet, and I just have the table top one. You’ll have to let me know how the kitchenaid one is!!

    January 5, 2016 at 9:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m sooooo excited to go bananas with this puppy. It literally does everything. Now to figure out what to do first!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    The only running book I have is Advanced Marathoning and I love it. I use the plans in there but I adjust and tweak them a bit to suit my own needs. I think I would do that to every plan in any book though!

    January 5, 2016 at 9:35 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I always recommend that peopel not follow plans from books verbatim. I have an old post that training plans are like jeans–you gotta tailor for perfect fit!

      January 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Can you believe that I didn’t get any running related gifts for Christmas? I am putting lots of these on my wishlist.

    January 5, 2016 at 10:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      What about penguin related things?

      January 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    I had a really hard time reading running books while I was injured. I hope you fare better! Have fun reading!

    January 5, 2016 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m keeping it pretty strictly to reference books, haha. I won’t be reading inspiration books for a while.

      January 5, 2016 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Deborah @Confessions of a Mother Runner

    I was wondering how the kitchen aid attachment was! I’m thinking little fift to myself. All of those books look great now to find time to read them 😄

    January 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Vacation is going to be me time to dive in! And I’ll let you know!

      January 5, 2016 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    So many good reads on this list. I need to add some to my list. Right now I am obsessed with spiralizing carrots. So good.

    January 5, 2016 at 2:16 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think a spiralized carrot and zucchini salad needs to happen.

      January 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Tamieka

    Spiral sweet potato!!! yums!!

    I had looked into that 80/20 book…I am really interested in HR training and finding it so difficult to do. My HR elevates so quickly and so high. Went to the cardiologist and he said the heart in PERFECT though.

    I got racing weight and the cookbook for Christmas. I am excited to read those.

    January 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I got the Runner’s World Cookbook last year for Christmas. That is very interesting about your HR. I don’t know if it is actually an issue that it rises quickly as long as it settles. Good thing that you are ok though!

      January 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm
  • Reply coach henness

    Well looks like I’ve got some things to add to my wish list.

    January 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      nerd on, my friend, nerd on

      January 5, 2016 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles

    Ohhh I could use that attachment for my mixer! So cool

    January 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You would loooove it

      January 5, 2016 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply Beth @ Sublimely Fit

    How is my Yoga for Runners book not in your stack? (1000% kidding, seriously) I wish more of these great books were available in audiobook format. I have so many running and yoga books that I would absolutely love to read, but don’t have the time to sit down to read them. Get on it, running publishers! 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You make a very, very valid point! Some of these are on kindle, I do know that, but I agree with you that more should be audiobook available.

      January 5, 2016 at 4:21 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    You have some great books there! I have read a few of them, and I wish I had time to read them all! I think I would always prefer to read a running-related book to any other kind of book, but I do try to switch it up once in awhile:)

    January 5, 2016 at 7:12 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      When I am on a machine, I’m all about a story, but otherwise, i’m really having fun with the training books!

      January 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm
  • Reply Sandra Laflamme

    You’ve obviously seen my list so you have more to read 🙂 We must have been thinking about the same thing. Thanks for adding more books to my list!

    January 5, 2016 at 9:39 pm
  • Reply Rae

    Sooo jealous of that spiralizer attachement! I need to get my hands on one.

    January 6, 2016 at 8:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m waiting until I come home to really get involved with it, but yeah, I’m pumped.

      January 6, 2016 at 12:52 pm
  • Reply Farrah

    Ahhh! You found more penguin things!!! I want that mug! (+ that’s awesome that they made a spiralizer attachment for the mixer! 😀 )

    Spiralize some sweet potatoes? :D?

    January 6, 2016 at 7:57 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I will spiralize SO many sweet potatoes. I will eat them out of the penguin mug.

      January 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm
  • Reply Jess @hellotofit

    You know I’m not a long distance runner, but i have a few clients who would really benefit from reading this post 😉

    January 8, 2016 at 9:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And you can always use penguins 😀

      January 8, 2016 at 11:11 am
  • Reply Lesley

    I love penguins! My mom has a couple outdoor Christmas figurines that light up, and we have penguins and flamingos.

    December 13, 2016 at 8:04 am
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