8 Must-Read Books For Runners

As a runner, there is so much wisdom to soak up from some of the best books written on the subject.

And if you are anything like me (a proud self-proclaimed nerd and runner), then sometimes you just want to dive deep into a subject and learn all there is to learn about it.

That’s why today, dear runner, I decided to share with you a list of my favorite running books of all times.

Inside of these books, you’ll find plenty of inspirational stories, useful information, practical training guidelines—all of which will make you a better runner.

 

1. Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By far, this might be one of the most mainstream running books of all times.

In fact, I believe that this book has had more impact on the non-running world than any other book.

If you are a runner and haven’t heard about this book, then must have been living under a rock for the last few years.

Written by Christopher McDougall, this best-selling book is a mix of an inspiring story, cutting edge science and a user-friendly practical manual of pain- and injury-free running.

This book chronicles the journey that Christopher McDougal, an avid runner, sets off to find the Tarahumara tribe, a group of Native American people, living in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, known for their ability to run for long distances in hostile terrain while reporting fewer injuries.

Quote from the book:

“Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her, you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else. And like everything else we love — everything we sentimentally call our ‘passions’ and ‘desires,’ it’s an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run.“

Get it now for $9.

2. Running On Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America

Written by Marshall Ulrich, the ultimate endurance athlete of all times. The guy has run more than 100 ultramarathons averaging over 100 miles each, completed 12 expedition-length adventure races, and has climbed the tallest summits on each continent (an incredible feat known as the Seven Summit), including Mount Everest—all on his first attempt.

Ain’t that impressive!!! That guy is amazing.

Inside this book, Mr. Marshall offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the mind of an ultramarathoner by sharing the courageous backstory of his run from California to New York—roughly the equivalent of running two full marathons and a 10K every day for roughly two months nonstop—and the agonizing punishment he suffered on the road.

Quote from the book

“Keep going, one foot in front of the other, millions of times. Face forward and take the next step. Don’t flinch when the road or gets rough, you fall down, you miss a turn, or the bridge you planned to cross has collapsed. Do what you say you’ll do, and don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Deal with the obstacles as they come. Move on. Keep going, no matter what, one foot in front of the other, millions of times.”

Get it now for $11.

3. Once A Runner: A Novel

When it comes to the running world, this is a cult classic.

In fact, this book might be one of the most favorite pieces of fiction among elite runners. Reading this book became a sort of rite of passage for many runners.

If you are training hard, and serious about becoming the best competitive runner you can be, then this book is perfect for you.

This cult classic was originally self-published in 1978 by John L. Parker, Jr. this novel is all about the essence of competitive running and the dedication and intensity that it takes to be competitive—and of athletic competition in general.

The story focuses on Quinton Cassidy, a competitive runner at fictional Southeastern University, and his quest to find a balance between his dedication to his long-life dream to run a four-minute mile the real word.

Quote from the book

“What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”

Get it Now for $10.

4.  Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running 

This is the first book I read about running.

If you are serious about improving your running form and technique, then “Chi Running” is a good place to start, especially if you are a newbie.

In fact, I believe that this book has set me on the right path that helped me transform my running routine in an injury free, enjoyable fitness experience.

The main premise of the book it to show you how to run faster and farther with a fewer injury.

Written by the ultra-marathoner and famous coach Danny Dreyer, inside of this book, you gonna find all sorts of useful advice that can help you deal with heal strike, reduce the risk of injury and create a well-rounded running program.

With the Chi Running approach, you’ll learn how to engage your core, keep a tall posture with a slight forward lean, staying relaxed, and landing on the midfoot with every step you take.

Quote from the book

“If you’re short of breath, it’s not because you aren’t breathing in enough—it’s because you’re not breathing out enough.”

Get it now for $10.

5. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir

In this slender book, Murakami, Japanese novelist, and long distance runner, documents his reflections and ideas on running.

In other words, this book is a collection of the many philosophical thoughts and insights that emerge from a consistent and intense running practice.

This is not a training book, and I don’t think that it can help you improve your running performance, but if you ever need a bit of inspiration to get you out to run more miles, then this book can come in handy.

Quote from the book:

“I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running, the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”

Get it now for $10.

6. Why We Run

Originally released with the title “Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running And Life.”, this book is the perfect blend of psychology, biology, philosophy, anthropology and evolutionary sciences.

In this book, the famous biologist, award-winning nature writer, and ultramarathoner Bernd Heinrich explore a new perspective on human evolution by delving deep into the phenomenon of ultra endurance.

Quote from the book:

“The human experience is populated with dreams and aspirations. For me, the animal totem for these dreams is the antelope, swift, strong and elusive. Most of us chase after ‘antelopes,’ and sometimes we catch them. Often we don’t. But why do we bother to try? I think it is because without dream-antelopes’ to chase we become what a lap dog is a wolf. And we are inherently more like wolves than lap dogs.”

Get it now for $8.

7. Run Faster

If you want to improve your running performance and become the fastest and stronger runner you can be, then you gotta read what Brad and Matt have to say about the subject.

Truth be told, this is my favorite training book of all time. in fact, it is, hands down, a cutting edge guide for optimal athletic performance.

Not only that, but the book can also give you a rare glimpse into the mind of an elite coach. This book outlines, in detail, the complete training system that Brad Hudson’s used to turn Dathan Rizenhein into a successful Olympian.

Don’t get me wrong here.

I’m not saying that the same should happen to you, but emulating that approach will help you reach your running best.

Get it now for $12.

8. Daniels’ Running Formula 

Looking to take your running to the next level? Then Daniels Running Formula is the perfect place to start.

The book is one page after the other of some of the cutting-edge exercise science to help you get stronger and get the most out of every workout you do.

Inside this book, you’ll learn all there is to learn about all the savvy running technique. You’ll learn about cadence, heart rate training, VO2 Max, and so much more.

Not only that, but this book will also teach how to design a training program based on real exercise science.

This book is quite advanced, so please do not go for it if you are still a beginner and struggling with the basics.

If you are a just starting out, then you might considreading Run Faster by Brad Hudson before you decide to take things to the next level

Quote from the book:

“The result is that you get about 3 minutes at O2max in runs one and two, but you get no time at max in runs three, four, and five. What was the purpose of the workout? If it was to hurt, you accomplished the purpose, but if you had planned to spend 15 minutes or so stressing your aerobic maximum, you missed that completely.”

Get it now for $16.

Conclusion

So do you agree with my list?

Do you have any additional books and titles to add to the list?

If so, then feel free to add them in the comments’ section.

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David Dack

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