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Once in a while, we all need extra motivation to fire up our dreams and passions. Running books are essential in inspiring us and providing practical advice and work out programs that help us to become greater athletes. These books push us to break barriers and overcome our personal limits.
We highlight the best 21 running books that we can all make time to read so that we can understand its different aspects and realize the sport’s numerous benefits. These books offer us life lessons that can take us through our own personal lives and athletic career.
1. Eat And Run Or My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness
Authors: Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman
This memoir tells the story of an elite runner Scott Jurek, and his incredible will power as he breaks the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to optimize their performance.
We learn practical advice from this book and recipes which will help us explore different foods. This book encourages us to push our endurance limits and become great runners.
2. Run Or Die
Author: Kilian Jornet
In Run or Die, we get to read the story of this legendary ultra-runner who dared to climb Mount Everest with no aid. Kilian details a step-by-step approach to how he ran his races and how he grew to become the man he now is.
This book is a great read for any runner regardless of the distance you seek to compete in. He managed all these incredible feats when only 24 years old. It is educational and inspiring in equal measure.
3. Finding Ultra
Author: Rich Roll
This book offers a guide to veganism and a practical approach to doing it right. On the Eve of Rich Rolls 40th birthday, overweight and unable to comfortably go up a staircase, he realized he had to transform his life and embrace daily exercise.
This mindset and lifestyle shift saw him become one of the most elite ultra-marathoners of his time and in Finding Ultra we get a glimpse of the techniques he used and that we can apply for optimal performance and overall wellness.
Author: Jan Novak
Zatopek is a story of one of the best Olympic champions of all time, Emil Zatopek. His achievements as a runner saw him become a national hero in his home country Czech Republic. This book tells the story of his victories through life and his legacy as a great Olympian.
5. Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race The World Has Never Seen
Author: Christopher McDougall
We recommend this book, first published in 2009 as a great read for every runner. This best-seller takes us through an epic adventure that sees the Tarahumara Indians adapt to running over hundreds of miles with no rest over deadly copper canyons.
Written by a runner, Christopher the author seeks to help find out and educate us on the secrets of this tribe, inspire us to push ourselves harder and so that we are inspired to run and overcome obstacles.
6. Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
Author: Alex Hutchinson
This book sets the mind as the key to altering and improving your endurance limits. Hutchinson tells the story of individuals who have broken the barriers both physical and mental to become elite, world class runners. It inspires us to always push harder in the face of adversity. A remarkable read.
7. Running Anatomy
Authors: Joe Puleo, Patrick Milroy
This volume offers insight to runners on how to optimize performance by minimizing chances of injury and building muscle strength. It highlights 48 strength exercises essential to runners. By reading this book, we are able to learn how each exercise impacts our performance and how to get better.
8. Endurance: The Extraordinary Life And Times Of Emil Zátopek
Author: Rick Broadbent
Emil Zatopek was famous for setting world records and his modified training techniques. Once a factory worker Emil broke barriers to become a global hero. He championed for human rights at a time when Czech suffered Political instability which led to his exile.
Together with his wife Dana who is also an athlete they were an emblem of inspiration for all running enthusiasts. Endurance is a story of strength, hope and perseverance in times of injustice.
9. 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower
Authors: Matt Fitzgerald, Robert Johnson
This book helps us to identify how to pace ourselves while running. Matt shares his program where we are taught how to put less stress on 80% of our run and race at high intensities in 20% of the program.
80|20 Running educates us on how to improve our performance, transform our work outs and avoid burn out.
10. Once A Runner
Author: John L. Parker Jr.
A classic, Once a runner draws an inspiring story of Quenton Cassidy’s struggle and ambition to becoming a great athlete during the Vietnam war. A fun and inspiring read for every runner.
11. Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir Of Thinking My Way To Victory
Authors: Deena Kastor, Michelle Hamilton
Deena directs us to focus on our mindset if we truly seek to become great runners. She encourages us to use positivity so as to become our best and gain a competitive edge when racing.
12. Running With Sherman
Author: Christopher McDougall
Journalist Christopher McDougall shares this witty and inspiring story of how he nursed Sherman, a neglected donkey back to health and races with it in an annual burro race.
This book helps us realize that we all need purpose, a connection with nature and the importance of exercise for overall wellness.
13. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Author: Haruki Murakami
This is a detailed memoir of Haruki Murakami’s journey while training for the New York City Marathon and the moment he discovered his passion for writing. A definite winner from start to finish, we recommend this book for both every fitness enthusiast.
14. The Perfect Mile
Author: Neal Bascomb
This book details the story of 3 men who set out to break the premise that we are not able to run a mile in 4 minutes. These men defied odd and left a mark in sports history. An exhilarating read that we should all make time to read.
15. 26 Marathons
Author: Meb Keflezighi
Olympic marathon medalist Meb Keflezighi offers us insight on his running career in this remarkable read. In 26 marathons, paying homage to the 26 marathons that he raced. Each race held a learning experience for him that we are able to learn from and be inspired.
16. How Bad Do You Want It?
Author: Matt Fitzgerald
This book educates us on psychobiological principles that we can practice in order to build our mental fortitude and push harder when running. It features several world class athletes and how they pushed beyond their biological limits and built an extra-ordinary career.
17. Running Is My Therapy
Author: Scott Douglas
We are all aware of the numerous benefits that running holds for our physical and cardiovascular health. In this book Scott, a long-time runner explains why running is the best form of exercise and how we can use it to promote mental wellness.
18. North: Finding My Way While Running The Appalachian Trail
Author: Scott Jurek
In this inspiring memoir, Scott takes us through his challenging experience while trying to beat the speed and become the fastest runner on the Appalachian trail. This is a refreshing read for every runner.
19. Run Fast. Eat Slow
This book details over one hundred recipes created between two good friends. Shalane, a world class marathoner and Elyse a trained chef and fitness enthusiast. The recipes are tailored to maximize nutrition while at the same time improve performance.
20. Shut Up And Run
Author: Robin Arzon
In this book, Robin, an ultramarathoner, helps us to understand and find the joy of running.
Shut Up and Run offers motivation to every runner by offering a fitness program and advice and gear recommendations on workout gear. These are essential principles for every runner.
21. Run To The Finish
Author: Amanda Brooks
We should all get our hands on this insightful read. Amanda gives us strategic training advice and how to appreciate the joy of running without comparison.
We have carried out detailed research in order to come up with this list of the best 21 running books through reading these books and conducting in depth analysis on individual book reviews and recommendations. Regardless of whether you are a running enthusiast or not, we guarantee at least one of these books is sure to tug at your heart and leave you inspired.