10 Books for Runners

Like to read? Like to run? Like to read about running? If you just answered with a hat trick of yeses, have I got a list for you! Here are ten of my favorite books about running — perfect for when you need a little extra motivation or guidance.

Ready, set, read!

1. First Ladies of Running by Amby Burfoot

The tag line says it all – “22 Inspiring profiles of the rebels, rule breakers, and visionaries who changed the sport forever.”  In other words, this is a breakdown of all the women who made it possible for the rest of us to go out and run a marathon whenever we darn well feel like it.

2. The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb

Once upon a time, Englishman Roger Bannister, American Wes Santee, and Australian John Landy were all duking it out to run a sub four minute mile.  I won’t spoil who broke that barrier first, but if you don’t know, it’s a real nail biter!

3. The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal

I only read this book because  former Pro Runner, Picky Bars Founder and Runner’s World Columnist, wrote a good review on the back. I’m glad I did, because it’s a nice combination of running advice and memoir.

4. What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan

Maddy was an All-American teen whose struggle with depression ultimately caused her to commit suicide. This book is a gut wrenching look at how mental illness affects college athletes across the country.

5. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

This one was recommended to me by a non-runner and what a book. What a frickin book. This is truly an epic adventure in ultra running that makes you say “Wow, I guess we really were born to run.”

6. Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek

You know how sometimes you watch a TV show and then you kind of feel like you actually know one of the characters? That’s how I felt after “Eat & Run”. It’s a great memoir that follows his ultra running career and even includes a few of his favorite vegan recipes. Bonus: The author, Scott Jurek is one of the runners profiled in “Born to Run.”

7. Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade

My two favorite things are dogs and cookies. My third and fourth favorite things are running and travel. This book is an elite runner’s memoir about running around the world – obviously a winner.

8. Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Bryon Powell

If you’ve been thinking about running an Ultra, this guide has all the tools you need, including some training plans in the back.

9. The Running Man by Stephen King as Richard Bachman

My high school psychology teacher once encouraged members of the track team to imagine we were being chased by someone with a knife during meets — you know, to pump up the adrenaline. This book is kind of like that!

10. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Runners love to talk about running. It’s just a fact. So it only makes sense that they would also love to read about what best-selling novelist, Haruki Murakami, talks about when he talks about running.

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