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Best Books for Runners to Help you Succeed

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Check out (literally!) these books to improve your running and find your motivation! Best Books for Runners to Help you Succeed www.runnerclick.com

One of the best parts about the running community is that we do not try to keep our “running secrets” to ourselves. By and large, we are a generous group who love to cheer each other on, (even when we are racing against one another!) see each other succeed, and share tidbits about what works for us (and what does not) with other runners. Whether you are looking for help on how to begin your running journey, how to properly fuel your body, how to compete and increase your distance and improve your race pace time, or how to best recover and rest your body to take care of yourself, there is no shortage of fantastic magazine articles, books, and blogs (like Runnerclick, of course! 😉 to help you out. We have come up with a list of some of the best books for helping you train and compete as a runner.

Run Fast. Eat Slow.

Run Fast. Eat Slow was written by the American Marathon Olympian champion Shalane Flanagan, and her chef, nutrition coach, and friend, Elyse Kopecky. The basis of the book is simple: it provides delicious recipes for runners that seem indulgent but are actually highly nourishing and beneficial for fueling a distance runner’s diet. Nutrition can be something of a mystery for athletes, especially newbies. So many of us spend years trying to figure out what foods work well with our bodies, what foods to avoid the night before a long run, how much to eat, and so on. A lot of us struggle with balance and swing back and forth between under fueling our bodies, and overeating, typically resulting in unwanted weight gain (which also can play with our race times: as our bodies fluctuate, we have to figure out how to run with more or less weight on them). Run Fast. Eat Slow. advocates for fueling yourself wisely, healthily and with ENOUGH food to sustain your training, without sacrificing flavor and satisfaction. Yet, most runners find that the recipes are so good and so simple, satiety levels are greatly improved, and they are less likely to binge on excess calories.


Born To Run

Born To Run by Christopher McDougall, is one of the best known, best selling running books on bookshelves today… and for good reason! McDougall’s book engages all the senses and sends readers on an epic adventure to find answers about humanity and the sport of running. McDougall travels to some of the most remote areas of North America, in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, to research and observe the Tarahumara Indians who have been running hundreds of miles without stopping for years. From his time spent there and his findings, he ventures on to high-tech science labs and talks with specialized scientists to find the ‘why’. McDougall, like all of us runners, wants to know: how can we cultivate and transform our bodies to run faster, stronger, and better.

P.S. If you are looking for it online or at your local bookstore, the complete title is Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Once A Runner

This book by John L. Parker, Jr. has been flying off the shelves for over forty years, and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon, as it was reissued in 2009. The book is told in a fictional manner, as it follows the main character, Quenton Cassidy, a collegiate runner, in his journey to becoming an elite runner and running a sub-4-minute mile. The book has been critically acclaimed as somewhat of a runner’s ‘cult classic’ by some of the world’s most highly regarded sports publications, including Sports Illustrated Magazine, Track & Field News, and Runner’s World Magazine. It’s a short and easy read, and perfect for lounging on the beach or poolside, a quick airplane read, or the evening before a race to get you psyched up! And maybe the best part is that, after it was reissued in ‘09, Parker came out with two more books to round out the Once a Runner Trilogy.

26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, and Running

Even if you have never run a day in your life, it is highly likely that you know who Meb Keflezighi is, or at least have seen him gracing the cover of running magazines at your local bookstore, or on television during the Olympics (four different times, to be exact!). Meb is considered one of the best runners in the world, if not THE best American marathon runner when he took first place at the 2014 Boston Marathon and set the record for the first American to ever win the race. 26 Marathons are Meb’s marathon memoir. In it, he gives readers interesting and entertaining tidbits and side stories surrounding his marathon experiences – like the time he ran the New York City Marathon with a Breathe Right strip in his shoe, or the time he won Boston  with a stomach so upset that he vomited (and subsequently swallowed it back so no one would know how much he was struggling). But beyond to quirky tales is a story of someone who continued to dig deep, and press on during some of the toughest physical moments the body can possibly endure. It’s a great less for us all who are trying to be better, more consistent runners and who struggle with the fear of ‘what ifs’ when it comes to attaining our running goals. Hungry for more books by Meb? He also authored the New York Times bestseller, Meb for Mortals so you can check that one out too!


  1. Runner's World Editors, 10 Things We Learned Reading Meb's Marathon Memoir, Runner's World Article
  2. Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky, Run Fast. Eat Slow., Personal Website