The Woman Triathlete by Christina Gandolfo. Practical info for everyone from the first timer to the Ironman bound triathlete.
Triathlons for Women by Sally Edwards. Inspiration for those women thinking about getting into triathlon.
I read The Woman Triathlete first. It went straight into practical information. Each chapter is written by a different woman in her area of expertise. Olympic swimmers describe drills for the pool, nutritionists write about how to calculate lean body mass. Every chapter has a different voice which made reading it fly by. It also includes multiple detailed training plans for each of the common triathlon distances; Sprint, Olympic or International, Half Ironman, and Full Ironman. None of these chapters is particularly gendered. The plans and exercises are not presented as the best way for women to do them they are just laid out there. The chapter on how to maintain your fitness through pregnancy was the most obviously “for women” but that was because of the subject matter rather than the verbiage or tone.
I was having shoulder pain in the pool around the time I read this. I read the chapter on injury prevention and it accurately described the pain I was experiencing and how to remedy it. Now I have re-habbed my shoulder and am having some stiffness but nothing like the shooting pains I had three months ago. That’s as practical as it gets.
Triathlons for Women is a motivational book. Sally Edwards is a triathlon legend and she brings to bear more than thirty years of experience as a woman at the top of the sport. She goes into the history of triathlon. It is very interesting that women have been fully involved in triathlon from the birth of the sport. This had led to very high participation numbers when compared to each of the individual disciplines. Every chapter is filled with encouragement. The book lacks comprehensive practical information on training. It does have drills and definitions of how an athlete should be training but it is incomplete. She emphasizes heart rate training but does not provide enough information in this book to effectively implement it. You need to buy another of her books to get the full details on how to use heart rate monitors.
If you are new to triathlon or you are thinking about it, get the Edwards book. It is motivating and inspiring and will get you moving in the right direction. If you are already a triathlete or an established athlete of any kind read Gandolfo. The information in The Woman Triathlete is much more practically applicable.