Lists

100 Must-Read Books About Running

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Andi Miller

Staff Writer

Andi Miller is a proponent of fauxhawks, gaudy jewelry, country music, and writing. When she’s not publicly relating at her day job or teaching university English courses online, she’s a hardcore reader, social media addict, 10-year book blogging veteran at Estella’s Revenge, and host of Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. Her favorite literary snacks are comics, literary fiction, and foodie memoirs. Her favorite real snacks are Froot Loops, fried catfish tails, and serial Twitter unfollowers. Blog: Estella's Revenge Twitter: @EstellasRevenge

Andi Miller

Staff Writer

Andi Miller is a proponent of fauxhawks, gaudy jewelry, country music, and writing. When she’s not publicly relating at her day job or teaching university English courses online, she’s a hardcore reader, social media addict, 10-year book blogging veteran at Estella’s Revenge, and host of Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. Her favorite literary snacks are comics, literary fiction, and foodie memoirs. Her favorite real snacks are Froot Loops, fried catfish tails, and serial Twitter unfollowers. Blog: Estella's Revenge Twitter: @EstellasRevenge

If you’re into running, have been into it, or think you might like to try it in the future, you’ve probably had a hankering to read about it. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, training methods, or even a novel about running, there is plenty to choose from. Sadly, the cross section of books I was able to find in research and through my own reading, is not representative of the diversity of athletes within the sport.

  1. born-to-runBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
  • Running & Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan
  • Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America by Marshall Ulrich
  • Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong
  • Once A Runner: A Novel  by John L. Parker, Jr.
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami
  • Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World by Bill Rodgers
  • Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run by Alexandra Heminsley
  • Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life by Bernd Heinrich
  • Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There by Julie Strasser and Laurie Becklund
  • run-like-a-motherRun Like a Mother: How to Get Moving–and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
  • Running with the Kenyans: Discovering the Secrets of the Fastest People On Earth by Adharanand Finn
  • A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins
  • Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich
  • Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
  • The Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle A by John “The Penguin” Bingham
  • The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal
  • Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham
  • The Silence of the Great Distance: Women Running Long by Frank Murphy
  • Feet in the Clouds: A Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession by Richard Askwith
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Stillitoe
  • pre-the-story-of-americas-greatest-running-legendPRE: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend by Tom Jordan
  • The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb
  • Lore of Running by Tim Noakes
  • Running the Rift: A Novel by Naomi Benaron
  • Running With the Legends: Training and Racing Insights From 21 Great Runners by Michael Sandrock
  • Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Cofounder by Kenny Moore
  • Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and America’s Greatest Marathon by John Brant
  • Running With the Buffaloes by Chris Lear
  • Full Tilt Boogie: A Journey Into Autism, Fatherhood, and an Epic Test of Man and Beast by Hal Walter
  • the-ultra-mindsetThe Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life by Travis Macy
  • Build Your Running Body: A Total-Body Fitness Plan for All Distance Runners, from Milers to Ultramarathoners―Run Farther, Faster, and Injury-Free by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer
  • Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond by Hal Keoner
  • 1:59: The Sub-Two-Hour Marathon is Within Reach by Dr. Phil Maffetone
  • Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong by T.J. Murphy and Brian Mackenzie
  • Believe Training Journal by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas
  • Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science is Creating a New Generation of Superathletes and What We Can Learn From Them by Mark McClusky
  • Life Outside the Oval Office: The Track Less Traveled by Nick Symmonds
  • Running Away: A Memoir by Robert Andrew Powell
  • see-mom-runSee Mom Run: Every Mother’s Guide to Getting Fit and Running Her First 5K by Megan Searfoss
  • Run Fast. Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes by Shalane Flanagan
  • ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer
  • Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Bryon Powell and Erin Grossman
  • Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-Mile Race by Krissy Moehl
  • Running for Women: Ditch the Excuses and Start Loving Your Run by Danica Newton
  • Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated by Dana L. Ayers
  • Boston Bound: A 7-Year Journey to Overcome Mental Barriers and Qualify for the Boston Marathon by Elizabeth Clor
  • Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade
  • First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever by Amby Burfoot
  • Running: A Love Story: 10 Years, 5 Marathons, and 1 Life Changing Sport by Jen A. Miller
  • Older, Faster, Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer by Margaret Webb
  • what-makes-olga-runWhat Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives by Bruce Grierson
  • The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun by Sister Madonna Buder with Karin Evans
  • A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey by Chrissie Wellington
  • How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald
  • 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower by Matt Fitzgerald
  • Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons by Kara Goucher and Adam Bean
  • Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports by Kathrine Switzer
  • Paula: My Story So Far by Paula Radcliffe
  • Women Who Run by Shanti Sosienski
  • sole-sistersSole Sisters: Stories of Women and Running
    by Jennifer Lin and Susan Warner

  • Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives by Mina Samuels
  • The Extra Mile: One Woman’s Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness by Pam Reed and Mitch Sisskind
  • Women Who Win: Female Athletes on Being the Best by Lisa Taggart
  • Tales From Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Trials, Tips, and Tricks from the Road by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
  • Barefoot Runner: The Life of Marathon Champion Abebe Bikila by Paul Rambali
  • The Science of Running: How to Find Your Limit and Train to Maximize Your Performance by Steve Magness
  • My Life On the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon by Burt Yasso, Kathleen Parrish, and Amby Burfoot
  • The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life: What 35 Years of Running Has Taught Me About Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and the Human Hear by Amby Burfoot
  • The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long and Charles Butler
  • spitting-in-the-soupSpitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports by Mark Johnson
  • Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
  • Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Liberty
  • Running with Joy: My Daily Journey to the Marathon by Ryan Hall
  • Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks and Adventures Editors of Runner’s World
  • 14 Minutes: A Running Legend’s Life and Death and Life by Alberto Salazar and John Brant
  • Run or Die by Kilian Jornet
  • Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss by Dean Karnazes
  • Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream by Meb Keflezighi, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Dick Patrick
  • Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time by Caleb Daniloff
  • Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running by Rachel Toor
  • On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor
  • Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics by Jeremy Schaap
  • Running by Jean Echenoz
  • the-runners-literary-companionThe Runner’s Literary Companion: Great Stories and Poems About Running by Garth Battista
  • Brewster by Mark Slouka
  • Running in Literature: A Guide for Scholars, Readers, Runners, Joggers and Dreamers by Roger Robinson
  • The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong and Mark Tabb
  • Running For Dummies by Florence Griffith Joyner and John Hanc
  • The Champion Maker by Kevin Joseph
  • Hansons Marathon Method: Run Your Fastest Marathon the Hansons Way by Luke Humphrey and Kevin Hanson
  • Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running : The Best Advice to Get Started, Stay Motivated, Lose Weight, Run Injury-Free, Be Safe, and Train for Any Distance by Dagny Scott Barrios
  • My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman
  • The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik
  • The NonRunner’s Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training by Dawn Dais
  • Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by Kelly Starret and T.J. Murphy
  • faster-than-lightning-usain-boltFaster than Lightning: My Autobiography by Usain Bolt
  • Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life by Jordan Metzl and Claire Kowalchik
  • A Kind of Grace: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Female Athlete by Jackie Joyner-Kersee