- 1. Born to Run
- 2. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir
- 3. Advanced Marathoning
- 4. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
- 5. Finding Ultra, Revised and Updated Edition
- 6. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
- 7. Run the Mile You're In: Finding God in Every Step
- 8. Running on Empty
- 9. The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance
- 10. 26 Marathons
- 11. Running Home: A Memoir
- 12. Good to Go
- 13. Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run
- 14. Chi Running: A Training Program for Effortless, Injury-Free Running
- 15. Running with the Mind of Meditation
Why would you need to buy a book on running? It’s easy, isn’t it? You just put one foot in front of the other. That might be the opinion of the uninitiated, but after checking out the fifteen books in this list, it’s clear to see why people get so passionate about running. Running has so many benefits – physical and mental, short-term and long-term. But it’s the fact that people get so addicted to it that makes it so interesting. The books on this list are all about passion, motivation, obsession, and addiction. These are the best books for runners.
The Best Book For Runners
The first book on our list is an essential read if you’re a passionate runner. Award-winning journalist, Christopher Mcdougall tells the story of the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico and they’re inhuman ability to run. They are now known around the world as the tribe that covers hundreds of miles over several days in the flimsiest running shoes imaginable. When this book was released, no one had heard of this tribe and certainly hadn’t heard about the race that takes place in the Copper Canyons. Born To Run is a personal story of Christopher Mcdougall’s struggle with foot pain, his own running journey, and the science behind this tribe’s ultrarunning achievements. It’s a bestseller and one of the all-time great running books.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir written by Haruki Murakami, talks about the unique relationship between running and writing. Whilst preparing to run the New York City Marathon, Murakami kept a daily journal, which provides the basis for this memoir. The best selling Japanese artist manages to be both humorous and philosophical, without taking himself too seriously. Whilst this is one of the great marathon running books, it’s much more than just that. It’s a meditational journey inside the mind of a fantastic author and artist. We think everyone should read this book at some point, but if you’re a struggling artist, you should start reading it straight away. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest running books on this list. If you are looking for perfect running footwear, be sure to check out our guide to the best cross country spikes.
Most of the books on this list have been pretty anecdotal. We’ve focused on the character-based books about running because, honestly, most of the scientific literature is pretty boring. But we knew we had to include Advanced Marathoning. It’s one of the most useful books ever written for runners. It’s full of training plans, exercise routines, nutrition and hydration strategies, and everything else you’ll need to prepare like one of the experts. Seriously, if you’re planning to run a marathon, you’d be a fool not to study this book first. It’s a bit more expensive than a lot of the other books we’ve featured, but that money will be the best you’ve ever spent when you’re setting off on a 26-mile run. In order to be fully prepared, you also need the right footwear, so be sure to check out our guide to the best trail running shoes and pick your favorite.
If you know anything about ultra marathon running, you’ve probably heard of Scott Jurek. He held the American 24-hour record and completed the Appalachian trail faster than anyone else. But his achievements don’t stop there. He’s one of the most decorated runners of all time. And, on top of all that, he’s a vegan and changed the way people thought about what foods athletes need for optimal performance. In short, he’s an American legend. One of the cool things about Eat and Run is that it’s full of Scott’s own recipes and he talks about the science behind his achievements. So, not only will you find it completely inspiring, you might find some practical advice as well.
This next book is one of the most inspirational running books ever written. Rich Roll, the author, and subject of the book, tells the story of his transformation from an overweight, middle-aged man to a running-machine. Finding Ultra starts on the night before his fortieth birthday and the epiphany he had when he struggled to climb the stairs to bed. He made the decision to turn his life around and started on a regime of daily exercise and a plant-based diet. He quickly transformed into an elite endurance lifetime runner and has since completed the EPIC5 – a series of five Ironman-distance triathlons completed in less than a week. If you need some inspiration to get yourself up out of your seat, this is definitely the right book for you.
The books we’ve featured so far have been pretty serious. But sometimes running can be funny. Matthew Inman is well-known for his comic blog – the Oatmeal – and fans flocked to buy this book when he released it. In The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, he aims to answer the questions that all runners ask themselves: “why do I keep doing this?” It might not be the most inspirational book on this list but we can guarantee that anyone who runs regularly will find it laugh-out-loud hilarious. Ingman injects his personal brand of insane and quirky comedy into our favorite subject and it’s a must-read. If you are looking for the perfect footwear for your running sessions, check out our reviews of the best motion control running shoes.
Okay, back to the inspirational running books. Run The Mile You’re In: Finding God in Every Step is the story of Ryan Hall, an Olympic athlete, and American half-marathon record holder. In the book, he talks of his early disdain for running which all changed when he decided to run around the neighborhood lake. Once he started running, he was completely addicted and it’s shaped his life ever since. He also talks about his faith and how it has helped him through defeat, pain, and a fascinating 20-year athletic career. Ryan now works as a coach and speaker, which allows him to share his story around the world. If you’re into running, and especially if you’re a Christian, you’ll love this book. Our guide to the best running sandals features pieces of must-have running gear, so be sure to check them out.
We’ve all heard the stories of ultramarathon runners completing unbelievable feats of endurance. But none of them quite compare to Marshall Ulrich’s story. He ran from California to New York in less than two months. That’s the equivalent of running a 10K every day. Running on Empty doesn’t just cover the run, it tells the backstory of Marshall’s running obsession and how the death of his first wife drove him to start. His achievements are the stuff of legend – he’s ascended the seven summits, completed twelve expedition-length adventure races, and ran over one hundred foot races. He’s a legend of running and this is a must-read for any avid runner. If you are new to running and still trying to find the right shoes, be sure to check out our guide to the best running shoes for beginners.
There was a time when running a marathon was a huge physical achievement. Now it’s like a walk in the park compared to ultramarathon running. This book is titled The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance, which should give you some indication of the extreme punishment ultra runners put their bodies through. Adharanand Finn takes the reader on a journey to the heart of the sport and attempts to find out why ultramarathon runners do what they do. It’s more a book about the characters associated with the sport, than the sport itself. What kind of person would put their body through such an extreme test of endurance? Read this book if you want to find out. Our guide to the best running shoes for metatarsalgia features great running gear, so check them out.
Meb Keflezighi is a name that will come up in any conversation about the best ever marathon runners. He was the first person to win both the Boston and New York City marathons, as well as an Olympic marathon medal. This book 26 Marathons, ghostwritten by fitness journalist Scott Douglas, tells the story of Meb’s amazing career. Whilst the book mainly focuses on the life lessons he’s learned along the way, it’s also full of amazing running, training, and nutrition tips. It’s an easy read, which makes it one of the best books for runners looking for some quick inspiration. If you’re training for a marathon, this book will give you a unique insight into how a legend prepares to run. If you are also looking for some affordable footwear for your running sessions, check out our reviews of the best running shoes for under $100.
Running Home: A Memoir is one of the most powerful and personal books written on the subject of running. Katie Arnold, a writer for Outside magazine, tells her own story of how she came to terms with her father’s death by running. When her father died, Arnold was at the peak of an adventurous – and sometimes reckless – career, covering extreme athletes. His death made her suddenly become aware of her own mortality. In a way that only long distance runners understand, she dealt with the grief by pushing her body to its limits running ultramarathons. This book will really hit home with anyone that has struggled to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
Have you ever wondered if drinking Gatorade after a run is actually helping your recovery? Or, if you could just drink beer instead? These are the types of question that Christie Aschwanden answers in Good to Go. An acclaimed science writer, Aschwanden is an authoritative voice on everything to do with your bodies recovery after exercise, what to do and what not to do after running. Not only is this book hugely informative for anyone who exercises regularly, but it’s also an interesting read for anyone interested in our own biology. She debunks long-held beliefs and tests some of the more controversial recovery methods herself.
Mile Markers is a fascinating collection of articles written by Kristin Armstrong, a contributing editor for Runner’s World. She delves deep into the subject of running and how women use it to form powerful communities. Armstrong mainly writes about her own experiences, but she ties it together by talking about her journey to becoming a wiser, more peaceful, and stronger woman. It takes its place as one of the most inspirational books ever written on running and is a must-read. Whilst it’s definitely aimed at female readers, we believe everyone can learn a few lessons from Kristin Armstrong. You’re almost guaranteed to want to get out and live your life after reading this book. You may also like some of the best zero drop running shoes from our list that will keep you comfortable.
Have you ever wondered what T’ai Chi and running have in common? No, we hadn’t either, until we picked up Chi Running: A Training Program for Effortless, Injury-Free Running. When you start reading this book, you’ll start to understand how intertwined the two disciplines are. Ultramarathon runner Danny Dreyer has created this audiobook with the express intention of bringing back the joy of running into people’s lives. When you’re a kid, you run with excitement, joy, and seemingly endless energy. If you listen to this book, you might just be able to recapture that feeling. It’s not the most informative or scientific running book available, but it’s a passionate and inspiring listen. Our handy guide to the best running shoes for shin splints features amazing footwear that will also help you run without any discomfort.
It’s pretty well documented that running is a great mental health exercise. This audiobook, written by Sakyong Mipham (a Tibetan lama and leader of Shambhala), focuses on how you can incorporate spiritual practices into your running. It might sound a bit dangerous and complicated to meditate while you’re running, but Sakyong Mipham insists that it’s essential to our spiritual well being. Running with the Mind of Meditation is a guide more than anything else and makes the process much simpler than you’d imagine. If you want to benefit both your body and mind, this book is for you. As a respected spiritual leader, Sakyong Mipham is the perfect guide to turn you into a zen-running master.