I broke this list in to 3 categories. Instructional, motivational/stories, and fiction. The first category will be technical information on things like running form, nutrition, training plans, race plans, gear review, etc. The second category will be true stories that are both informational and inspiring. Some of the books in this category outline a particular athlete’s story and includes information about running, while others are more of a true story where running is involved, but may not be the focus. Finally, I threw one classic running fictional book out there that I believe most runners will really enjoy. All of these books are well loved by me, and have helped me along my running journey. So, without further ado, and with a nod to Nicole M. for the idea, here are 10 great running books and an extra…
This is without a doubt, my favorite book on running form. In my opinion, a must read for distance runners.
The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition – Matt Fitzgerald
My favorite book on nutrition because Matt breaks it down in a simple way and discusses food as fuel. He also explains the concept of caloric density of food, which for me was a real eye opener in regard to eating and not being hungry.
This is the bible of training and training plans from one of the world’s best running coaches. Be warned, there are complete sections of this book that get very technical and may not be of use for the casual runner, but if you are trying to improve your times, this is the book. Jack discusses races all the way up to marathon distance.
Running Your First Ultra – Krissy Moehl
A very good book for those thinking about moving up to Ultra distances. Krissy discusses everything from training, nutrition, gear, race day, etc. She even has a chapter specific to women and their specific needs. I loved this book as I prepared my first ultra because it gave me one source for all of my needs.
To Be a Runner – Martin Dugard
Matt shares stories of the various crazy races that he has done throughout his career, and touches upon so many things that every runner can relate to, in regard to what it means to be a runner. How being a runner changes the way that we live life.
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner – Dean Karnazes
This is the autobiography of one of the craziest distance runners alive! If you are thinking of running ultras and want a fun filled motivational story, read this book about Dean Karnazes’ life.
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness – Scott Jurek
Another one of my heroes who wrote an autobiography. Again, this is a great book to get your juices flowing if you are thinking of running an ultra! Even if you’re not, there are some great stories here.
Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
A great inspirational book filled with all sorts of characters and stories, culminating in the “Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” I couldn’t put this down because it was such a fun read. Caballo Blanco… that’s all I’m saying.
Natural Born Heroes – Christopher McDougall
Chris is a master story teller, and this is a follow up to Born to Run, where he tells the story of Greek resistance fighters on the island of Crete during WWII, and how they used endurance athleticism to outwit the German army.
This is an amazing story of a New York City firefighter who was hit by a bus and critically wounded, and how he coped with going from an extremely fit person to someone who had to overcome severe injuries and ultimately run the New York City Marathon. Truly an inspirational story!
This is a completely fictional story about competitive collegiate running that was written in 1978. Although it is fiction, give it a read if you’re a runner, because you will relate to so much of what the book is about. Plus, it’s a love story, war story, and human story. It truly is a classic.
There it is, my list of 10 plus one extra! I would love to know what you think of the books, or any that you feel I missed. Leave it in the comments below!
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