Best running books
Reading and learning from those who’ve run before you is one of the best ways to become a better runner. There are hundreds of running books out there to help provide inspiration, teach you how to be faster, run longer or just give you the tools to enjoy yourself more out on the trails and tarmac.
I wanted to share some of the books I’ve enjoyed the most and found useful as I’ve made my way from 5km fun runner to marathons, ultras and beyond.
Of the top twenty fastest marathons run anywhere in the world, seventeen were run by Kenyans. So what’s the secret to this one nation’s dominance of long distance running? This is a brilliant story of one running author’s quest to find out, by moving to Kenya for six months, if he can learn from their wisdom and produce the race of his life at the Lewa Marathon in Kenya. Inspiring stuff.
This book has a simple message: to perform at our best we need to know how to listen to the messages our bodies are sending us. Blindly following a training method because it’s worked for someone else is probably not the best way to reach our own running goals. While the message is simple, this is a pretty technical tome that delves into performance science on a pretty deep level. There’s a lot in here for the amateur runner though, you don’t have to be an Olympian in-the-making to enjoy it.
This is a great read for anyone who’s ever tried to run and failed to ‘get into it’. It offers up a no nonsense, nowhere-to-hide approach to becoming a runner and losing weight as a result. It comes with a complete six week plan for absolute beginners and a whole load of straight forward wisdom to help break down the barriers to success. There’s a definite female focus but the eat clean, run more philosophy for leading a healthy life is well put.
A book that offers up some great insights into how the teachings of the Buddha can help your running. Includes ideas on how to get out of bed for those cold winter early morning runs, train without injury and get more enjoyment from your miles. A lot of lessons here that will port easily into your everyday too.
A story of sheer bloody mindedness, this book follows Moire’s journey from runner to mountain runner as she takes on some of the toughest running in the Irish mountain wilderness. There are lessons in this book for anyone who has doubts about what they can achieve and why they want to achieve it in the first place.
The ultimate ultra marathon man, Dean Karnazes talks you through twenty six amazing tales of running prowess, misadventure and mind over matter. This book is fun and informative in equal measure. It makes you want to lace up and run head-long at the moon.
The story of a feat of endurance that’s an inspiration for life, not just for running. This book shows the sacrifice that has to be made to achieve feats of greatness. It’s a real eye opener into the emotional cost of putting yourself - and your family - on the line. This isn’t just about how to keep running when it really hurts, it’s about how to handle life’s battles one step at a time.
Another legend of ultra shares his wisdom, woes and amazing achievements. Brimming with big ideas on how to be a better runner, Eat&Run looks at the whole person rather than than narrowing in on the runner. For those looking for ideas on how to eat better and run faster there are also loads of recipes and tips inside.
Japanese novelist Murakami has been a lifelong runner. In fact he sees it as part of his creative process, intrinsicly linked to his ability to write. This book follows this idea as Murakami discusses what it means to be a runner and push yourself beyond your limits.
Julian Goater and Don Melvin
This is a nitty-gritty book that aims to make you a faster runner. It delivers detailed training advice, hints on how to avoid injury and tonnes of inspirational advice to help you hit that PB.