Any simple Google search will come up with hundreds of suggestions on what are the books to read about running. We’ve picked out some of the highest reviewed books (and personal favorites) you can read about different aspects of running from training and nutrition to more inspirational stories to keep you going on your toughest runs. (Note: The following post contains links that are part of our participation in the Amazon affiliate program. This means that should you purchase, we may receive a small commission from Amazon. This is at no extra cost to you and just helps support our podcast and website expenses.)
Alex Hutchinson is a former national team distance runner and trained at Cambridge to
become a physicist. His book, Endure combines science and storytelling to show readers
that the mind is just as important as the body in overcoming barriers in training.
Hutchinson addresses many common barriers people face such as; fuel, oxygen,
muscles, and pain and then gives a real-life account of someone who has surpassed
those training barriers.
Robin Arzon is an ultramarathoner and a running coach who shows us that sometimes
you just need to shut up and run! In her book, Arzon gives us tips and motivation to help
us get out there and run and stay motivated when we’d really rather just sit on the
couch all day. She gives advice on training, what gear to use, what kind of music to listen
to and even has a place for you to track your progress and goals!
In this book, Runner’s World’s Meghan Kita, shows runners how to avoid a mid-run
bathroom break! Kita also gives runners easy to use tips on everything from nutrition
and training to tying shoes and post run recovery.
This book is for those that have fallen out of love with their running and are struggling
to get back on their feet. David and Megan Roche detail the emotional and mental
barriers that are keeping you from running happy and reaching goals. This book teaches
runners how to balance effort with happiness so you can continue to make running fun.
Matt Fitzgerald makes his first appearance on this list with his book about running 80%
of runs at low intensity and 20% of runs at a high intensity. This method of training helps
prevent burnout and can be used for all level of runners from 5ks to ultramarathons.
This book examines the science behind the method and gives runners actionable tools
to add to their training.
While not completely about running, running does play a large role in the life of Louis
Zamperini, who this book is based on. Unbroken follows Zamperini from a young man
training for the Olympics in the mile and breaking records to a World War II bomber
who gets stranded at sea for over a month. This book shows us that if you put your mind
to it, you can not only survive, but you can also win.
Set during the Rwandan genocide, this fictional book follows Jean Patrick Nkuba as he
runs through the Rwandan hills and dreams of Olympic gold medals but soon finds
himself running for his life as the Hutu and Tutsi conflict grows.
Most runners have heard of Meb and in this book, he shares with us what learned from
the many marathons he has completed over the years. Meb takes us through each of
the 26 marathons and tells us what challenges he faced, what the rewards were and he
learned from the experience.
Catra Corbett has ran more than one hundred miles more than one hundred times and
holds the fastest known record for the John Muir Trail, completing it in just over four
days. But she wasn’t always a gifted runner. Corbett suffered from meth addiction for
two years before getting arrested and turning her life around through running and
sobriety which led her to become an ultramarathon leader.
No runner’s reading list would be complete without Born to Run, probably to most
recommended book for any runner. Christopher McDougall sets out to find the
Tarahumara Tribe in Mexico, the people of which run long distances mostly without
shoes and without injury. McDougall wanted to see exactly why it was these Native
Americans could run such distances without getting hurt when thousands of people
around the world injure themselves during their runs.
Scott Jurek is an ultramarathon runner and a vegan. In his book, he details his career as
a champion runner and becoming a vegan. He believes runners should eat to fuel their
runs, not just to fill their stomachs and includes his own recipes to get you started.
This cookbook highlights what marathon winner Shalane Flanagan ate during her
training for the New York City Marathon. These recipes are fast, easy, and healthy but
don’t sacrifice taste. The cookbook as everything from snacks, on the go meals and
quick dinners for the busy runner that may not have a lot of time to cook.
Another book by Matt Fitzgerald, Racing Weight shows athletes how to lose weight
without compromising their training. The book offers practical tips and food suggestions
to get the fuel every athlete needs to stay healthy while also losing or maintaining
weight for an event.
This cookbook offers runners even more recipes to fuel their runs while staying healthy.
With 150 recipes to choose from, you’re bound to find some favorites that you can cook
up in less than thirty minutes and keep yourself from binging on junk food.
While this book isn’t athlete specific, In Defense of Food gives readers a look into how
the Western diet has changed from wholesome food and easy to navigate nutrients to
over processed, over complicated ingredients. Pollan shows us how to navigate all these
new nutrients and how we can still eat wholesome and healthy.
This work out plan is a great tool for every level of runner that wants to begin cross
training. This book targets connective tissues, muscles and the cardiovascular system
and even helps with hormones and the brain! It features 150 workouts, interviews from
leading runners, coaches and nutritionists, race strategies and more!
Jay Dicharry is a leading sports physical therapist and coach and came up with 15
workouts using cutting edge research and technology that will help with mobility
problems, weaknesses and imbalances. In this book there are 15 self-tests to see how
you are moving certain parts of your body, 83 exercises to build strength and 15
workouts to add to any training plan to boost your performance.
Another book by Jay Dicharry, this one delves into how the body works, how running
affects your body, and how your body affects your running. This book also contains
mobility and stability tests and exercises to help strengthen weakness while really
getting into what causes these weaknesses and how it can lead to injury.
Jeff Horowitz offers a stronger overall running body using two 20-minute workouts per
week without having to have a gym. This includes 40 exercises with step by step
instructions and pictures to make sure you’re doing them right and a full 8 week
program to really build your strength.
This book dives into what helps people attain their peak running form from psychology
and training, to recovery and nutrition. Mueller lays out the science behind cross
training and offers strategies to build their overall fitness and run injury free.
This great book is about Japanese marathon runner Haruki Murakami who decided to
keep a journal during his training for the New York Marathon. Murakami gives his
insights about running and what he did to over come challenges he faced during
This last book from Matt Fitzgerald examines elite athletes in various sports and what
got them through some of their toughest races or events. Featuring post-race
interviews, Fitzgerald gives us a glimpse of the mindset these elites have to truly
become champions and gives us tips on how we can have strong minds as well as strong
Deena Kastor is an American running champion and Olympic gold medalist who almost
quit running after college. Luckily, Colorado coach Joe Vigil added her to his team and
changed her mindset from running as fast as possible so you don’t lose to a more
positive and encourage outlook. This book shows us how to change our way of thinking
to be more encouraging to ourselves during a run and look at things from a more
We all know that running is good for the body and the mind but in this book we learn
exactly how running can help you form a healthier brain. As many people have noticed,
running makes you feel happier and that is because running is natural antidepressant
and Douglas helps us use running to improve our mental health and lead happier lives.
In this book, accomplished ultramarathoner Travis Macy, tells us about his outlook he
calls the “ultra mindset” that he uses in everyday life and helps him overcome many
obstacles. Macy shows us how to rewrite the stories we tell ourselves and how to have a
positive, hard working attitude about anything you do in life and how that can help you
accomplish great things.
I personally use this journal to keep track of all my runs throughout the year. For those
of you who like keeping a written record of runs this is a great tool! It has a monthly
tracker so you can easily see how many miles you ran in a month as well as weekly
layouts to write in your workouts, how you felt about them, and how many miles you
completed. The journal also features a few quizzes and some motivational pieces to help
keep you on track.