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Best Running Books: Books Runners Will Absolutely Love

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If you love to run, you probably enjoy all things running. Are you looking for running-related content to enjoy when you are not running?

Check out our list of the best books for runners, as chosen by our community of runners.

Top 20 Best Running Books of All Times

Looking for the best running books of all times? Here is our comprehensive list. 

1. Running with the Buffaloes: a Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher and the University of Colorado’s Men’s Cross Country team by Chris Lear

Running with the Buffaloes: a Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher and the University of Colorado's Men's Cross Country team by Chris Lear

2. The Long Run: A Firefighters Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long

The Long Run: A Firefighters Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long

3. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

4. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes and the Greatest Race Ever Run by Christopher McDougal

Born to Run- A Hidden Tribe

5. My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso

My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso

6. 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald

80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald

7. How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald 

How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald 

8. 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezghi

26 Marathons by Meb Keflezghi

9. Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down by Ida Keeling

Can't Nothing Bring Me Down by Ida Keeling

10. The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot

The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot

11. Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir to Thinking my Way to Victory by Deena Kastor

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir to Thinking my Way to Victory by Deena Kastor 12. Run the Mile You're In: Finding God in every step by Ryan Hall

12. Run the Mile You’re In: Finding God in every step by Ryan Hall

Run the Mile You're In: Finding God in every step by Ryan Hall

13. Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi

Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi

14. Out of Thin Air by Michael Crawley

Out of Thin Air by Michael Crawley

15. The Running Dream by Wendell Van Draanen

The Running Dream by Wendell Van Draanen

16. Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr

Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr

17. Train Like a Mother: How to get across any finish line – and not lose your family, job or sanity by Sarah Bowen shea and Dimity McDowell

Train Like a Mother: How to get across any finish line - and not lose your family, job or sanity by Sarah Bowen shea and Dimity McDowell

18. Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

19. Running Your First Marathon: The complete 20 week marathon training plan by Andrew Kastor

Running Your First Marathon: The complete 20 week marathon training plan by Andrew Kastor

20. Running Outside the Comfort Zone by Susan Lacke

Running Outside the Comfort Zone by Susan Lacke

Although we put together a list of the top 20 books about running, let’s dig a bit deeper into some of the favorites from the Runnerclick Pro community!

Best Running Books for Beginners

Whether you are a beginning marathoner or a veteran, Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi takes you through the American distance runner’s training with tidbits of advice. Known throughout the world as Meb, he walks the reader through nutrition, mental focus, and other aspects of marathon training. 

Meb for Mortals

Anoop Kumar recommended the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running to our Runnerclick Pro community. Received as a gift, it impacted Kumar as an athlete. I have not read this book so I just added it to my Christmas list!

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

According to a description on Amazon, Murakami decided to journal his progress while training for a marathon. The result is a “funny and sobering, playful and philosophical” book about running and life. 

Best Endurance Books

When listing the best running books about endurance running, we would be remiss if we forgot to mention My Year of Running Dangerously.

My Year of Running Dangerously.

Tom Foreman is an CNN corespondent who turned himself from a couch potato to an ultra runner. When his daughter approached him about training for a distance event, he jumped into the adventure with both feet.

According to  Goodreads, the book is “told with honesty and humor, Foreman’s account captures the universal fears of aging and failure alongside the hard-won moments of triumph, tenacity, and going further than you ever thought possible.”

Recommended by RunnerClick Pro member Michael Coffee is also one of my all-time favorite running books: Born to Run. Inspiring to say the least, the book does not just take you into the hidden tribe of super-athletes, you learn about the minimalist movement in a unique way. 

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

Best Motivational Books

My personal favorite running related book is First Ladies of Running. Written by Amby Burfoot, this book is a fast paced journey through the history of women in running.

You don’t have to be female to recognize how hard women had to work to be taken seriously as endurance athletes.

The book tells the stories in short snippets, as each woman’s story is told in a single chapter. Spanning the decades, the reader is treated to stories about Katherine Switzer, Mary Decker, Grete Waitz and more. 

First Ladies of Running

Let Your Mind Run is another to add to the list of best running books. Although running great Deena Kastor started running at a young age, it takes her many years to find the mental focus required of an elite athlete.

The book gives you a glimpse into the struggles of an elite, as well as illustrating just how much a positive mindset can add to building a stronger runner. 

Let Your Mind Run

Amber Nelson, a competitive Spartan runner and fitness writer recommends How Bad Do You Want It to runners. “My coach got it for me for my birthday last year. I am a fan of psychology inspired books that apply to competition and running in general.” Amber gives this one two thumbs up!

How Bad Do You Want It

Another personal favorite of mine is The Long Run. This book covers the journey of a man who was very dedicated to his fitness regiments when hit by a 20 ton bus while cycling to work.

The Long Run

A firefighter by trade, author Matt Long’s life was forever changed by this accident. His trials and struggles to return to some semblance of a normal life is covered in this heart wrenching yet triumph piece of literature. This is a must read for athletes and non-athletes alike.

The Only Question Remaining…

If you have made it this far into the article, chances are you are hooked into wanting to read at least a few of these books. The big question for me is not which ones to read; rather, which one I want to read first.

If you are like me and have an entire running community of friends you meet up with for runs, consider starting up a book share!

Although, if you are like me… you may not want to pass some of these along!

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