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My All-Time Favorite Running Books

And What’s on My “To Read” List

“All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence. And this is a pretty wonderful thing. No matter what anybody else says.” 

― Haruki Murakami

When I’m not running, writing, or trying to make sure my kids don’t burn down the house, you can usually find me reading. A lot of the time, I’m reading about running.

So I figured I would do a fun post and list my favorite running books and what is on my list to read still.

These are in no particular order, but I have found each one of these running books to be inspirational while telling a good story. So without further ado, here are my all-time favorite running books:

Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger by Robin Arzón — Designed to help readers find the information quickly and easily, loaded with practical advice, style, and attitude, this practical guide — written by a runner for runners — makes it clear that to succeed, all you need to do is shut up and run!

Out There: A Story of Ultra Recovery by David Clark — David Clark went from the rock bottom of bankruptcy, addiction and obesity to becoming an accomplished athlete. In this compelling story of his life, he not only shares his journey with complete honesty, but he also lays out a blueprint for change that anyone can use to redefine what is possible.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall — Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami — An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami. While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami’s decided to write about it as well.

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor — Let Your Mind Run is a fascinating intimate look inside the mind of an elite athlete, a remarkable story of achievement, and an insightful primer on how the small steps of cultivating positivity can give anyone a competitive edge.

Runner’s World Your Best Stride: How to Optimize Your Natural Running Form to Run Easier, Farther, and Faster With Fewer Injuries by Jonathan Beverly — In lively, accessible prose, author Jonathan Beverly details his search for common ground among physical therapists, podiatrists, biomechanics researchers, and coaches, and reveals how individual runners can apply those principles and improve their performance, avoid injury, and enhance their enjoyment on the run.

Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard — Finding Gobi is the miraculous tale of Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner who crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China.

Running Man: A Memoir by Charlie Engle — In Running Man, Charlie Engle tells the surprising, funny, and emotional story of his life, detailing his setbacks and struggles — from coping with addiction to serving time in prison — and how he blazed a path to freedom by putting one foot in front of the other.

Running Is My Therapy: Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier by Scott Douglas — Backed by research and science, Running Is My Therapy is a groundbreaking guide to fighting depression and anxiety one run at a time and shows us how running can make us happier.  

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek — Written by ultrarunning great Scott Jurek, this memoir details his life as an athlete and vegan, and also includes recipes and tips for training. This inspirational tale is for anyone who is looking to hit the trails or tweak their diet.  

Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-mile Race by Krissy Moehl — A top ultramarathoner, Krissy has over 15 years of competing at the highest levels. Filled with personal stories and running tips, this ultramarathon guide will help you complete your first 50k all the way up to your first 100-miler. Includes detailed plans, tips on races, and a lot of other information for the new and experienced ultrarunner. 

running books
Photo by Jeremy Lapak on Unsplash

And here are the running books I’m either currently reading or are on my list to read:

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek — A stunning narrative of perseverance and personal transformation, North is a portrait of a man stripped bare on the most demanding and transcendent effort of his life. It will inspire runners and non-runners alike to keep striving for their personal best.

Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade — From elite marathoner and Olympic hopeful Becky Wade comes the story of her year-long exploration of diverse global running communities from England to Ethiopia — 9 countries, 72 host families, and over 3,500 miles of running — investigating unique cultural approaches to the sport and revealing the secrets to the success of runners all over the world.

Running & Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan — Written by the late, beloved Dr. George Sheehan, Running & Being tells of the author’s midlife return to the world of exercise, play and competition, in which he found “a world beyond sweat” that proved to be a source of great revelation and personal growth.

Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The Pack by Cory Reese — In “Nowhere Near First,” Cory shares his deeply personal story about experiencing his father’s suicide at a young age, and how this led to a career in endurance running and a desire to live life to the fullest.

Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You by Kara Goucher —The two-time Olympian shares her secrets to conquering self-doubt and improving running performance using proven tools from the field of sport psychology. Strong includes tips, techniques, and real-life experiences from Olympians Emma Coburn and Molly Huddle, and New York Times best- selling author Robin Arzón.

Runner’s World The Runner’s Brain: How to Think Smarter to Run Better by Jeff Brown & Liz Neporent — With a mixture of science and sports psychology, the book shows you how to unlock and capture the miraculous potential of the brain and rewire your mind for a lifetime of athletic success. 

Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression by William Pullen — This interactive workbook focuses on channeling the energy obtained from running into a mindfulness practice which can help relieve many kinds of mental and physical health issues.  

I would love to hear if you have running books not on this list you’ve enjoyed. I’m always looking to add books to my ever-growing list!

Disclosure: The links to the running books above are an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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