Best Running Books

Book rating updated 9.05.2024

Run faster, longer, stronger! List of the best running books of all time sorted by rating. The most popular and recommended books for runners.

  1. Born to Run

    24 496 ratings

    The wonder of being able to run through such conditions by the Tarahumara Indians – known as the tribe with the ability to run long distances across the globe – reveals their amazing tenacity. The book is about adventure, personal discovery and scientific investigation. It questions whether those highly sophisticated modern running shoes really have helped or hampered such achievements, and whether simplicity and nature could revolutionize the training of runners. The result is a captivating race that promises to redefine the barriers of human capacity, keeping both eyes on new insights into health, happiness, and the soulful human relationship with running.

  2. Finding Ultra

    6 347 ratings

    Chronicles personal accounts as they turned from an overweight individual to an ultra-endurance athlete. So, get the experience and find out how a real turnaround in one's life can be made through willpower and determination with respect to a change in diet and exercise.

  3. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

    8 099 ratings

    A memoir book from one of the greatest to have ever written, Haruki Murakami, about his passion for running and how it has permeated and affected his life and work. Contemplation on the physical and mental ordeals of long-distance running and its meditative power of transformation. Offers a look into the creative process and how the mind and body are inextricably connected. A philosophical and introspective book that discusses the human body and mind.

  4. Eat and Run

    7 130 ratings

    A memoir by ultrarunning champion Scott Jurek, who documents his life from a Midwestern childhood to one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, the book gets to the role nutrition played in his success and how he made the change from being an athlete who ate meat to an athlete who went totally plant-based. There are also recipes and practical advice to fuel for endurance sports with a vegan diet.

  5. Natural Born Heroes

    4 175 ratings

    It weaves history, deep scientific investigation, and personal narrative together in order to argue that the secrets behind superhuman performance are not really superhuman at all. It makes a foray into the resistance fighters in World War II in Crete and their incredible endurance. It studies the means of natural movement, the ancestral skills, and mental toughness to reach near-impossible physical abilities.

  6. North

    3 625 ratings

    Chronicles the author's record attempt to run the Appalachian Trail. Delves in deep and gives readers some truly honest details of the trials and tribulations—physical, mental, and emotional—that go into completing this epic challenge. Outlines themes of not quitting, self-discovery, and what one can accomplish when they put their mind to it. Preparatory insights, along with gear and how to be adaptable when unforeseen setbacks arise, are also discussed.

  7. Running with Sherman

    3 562 ratings

    A heartwarming and hilarious memoir of an author who rescued a mistreated donkey, Sherman, and then trained him to run one of the most competitive burro races in the Rockies of Colorado. What follows is the trying and triumphant experience of working with the most stubborn and unpredictable of animals but also the animal with some of the deepest lessons in trust, perseverance, and the unimagined power of the human-animal connection.

  8. 80/20 Running

    3 514 ratings

    Guide to conditioning for peak performance and health, based on the premise that 80% of running should be at low intensity while 20% should be at high intensity. It covers the science supporting the theory and—most important—practical guidance on how to put this theory into practice in your running. It covers detailed training plans for everyone, workouts for all levels of runners, advice on recovery, nutrition, and avoiding injuries.

  9. Ultramarathon Man

    2 845 ratings

    This bestseller chronicles the author's inspiring story of transformation from a sedentary life to becoming one of the most accomplished ultramarathoners in the ever-growing world of ultrarunning. It shares the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that one has to meet in trying to push back the limits of human endurance. The book provides insights into training, nutrition, and mindset to run across extreme distances. It explores the transformative power of running ultra-marathons and its impact on personal growth and self-discovery.

  10. The Rise of the Ultra Runners

    2 771 ratings

    How did ultrarunning become the fastest-growing sport on Earth, getting so popular among running and adventure books? This book is a combo platter of cultural critique and personal narrative that traces the history of the sport from its fringe roots to the mainstream, embarking on a journey through the crazy personalities and insane motivations that make ultrarunning a movement. It explores the science behind the ultrarunner's feats of endurance, allowing even a seasoned marathoner to run further with less effort. The author's rich narrative of forays into ultrarunning and how testing limits has resulted in personal transformation makes this a compelling read.

  11. Running with the Kenyans

    2 603 ratings

    A journalistic revelation of what lies behind Kenya's dominance of distance running, Chasing Kenyans follows the author's trip into the training and lifestyle of Kenyan runners from the highlands of Iten to the bustling metropolis of Nairobi, with stops in between. The essay explores the cultural, environmental, and physiological facts that may be of even further help in the success of Kenyan runners. This is a fantastic book of insights and lessons to be learned for runners at any level and a great peek at an amazing running culture.

  12. Let Your Mind Run

    2 082 ratings

    America's greatest long-distance runner, Deena Kastor, takes her readers through her running path from an underperforming college athlete to an Olympic medalist and American record holder. This is the serious mind and power behind thinking positively and believing in oneself for peak performance. In addition to anyone trying to have a more resilient and optimistic mindset in sport and life, it gives insights and inspiration to runners of all levels.

  13. Run Fast. Eat Slow.

    2 003 ratings

    It is a cookbook and a source of nutrition information developed in collaboration with the Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan and the chef Elyse Kopecky. Inside, the recipes are full of nutrient-dense whole foods that help running and feed overall health. It includes recipes for meals, snacks, and beverages to make everything taste delicious and maybe performance-enhancing. Practical tips for busy athletes on meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking.

  14. Once a Runner

    1 497 ratings

    This is a cult classic novel based on the trials and tribulations of a collegiate miler in pursuit of his dreams of the Olympics. More than any other book, it really does capture—with vivid clarity—the competitive running experience, from the agonies and ecstasies of training to those around race day. Dedication, sacrifice, and the search for meaning are all enhanced through the sport. For any serious runner or sports literature fan, this is a must-read.

  15. The Longest Race

    1 363 ratings

    A memoir by Olympian Kara Goucher about what it was like running in the 2008 Olympic Marathon and her life as an elite runner. Reflection on the physical and emotional tribulations of performing at an elite level and the triumphs and disappointments that occur along the journey. A candid and relatable take on the highs and lows one can go through in the quest to chase after their passions.

  16. A Runner’s High

    1 392 ratings

    A memoir by the ultrarunning legend Dean Karnazes, detailing his adventures and experiences from a lifetime of running. It tells the story of how he went from a rather non-athletic child to the most accomplished endurance athlete on the face of the planet. Read of the highs and lows in his most legendary races and adventures, and of the lessons he has learned.

  17. Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning

    1 110 ratings

    Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond. The hard-earned wisdom and practical insights of this legendary ultrarunner are shared on training, race strategies, and key skills like pacing, hydration, and mental toughness. It helps people decide which races to run, how to build up a support crew, and how to make sure they recuperate right. Indeed, much is in there by way of anecdote and lessons to be gleaned from his vast experiences in some truly iconic ultras.

  18. Running with the Buffaloes

    932 ratings

    Classic book that chronicles one season with the University of Colorado cross-country team, arguably the most successful program to ever exist in the sport. Offers the reader a rare inside look into the training, competition, and team dynamics of elite collegiate runners. Dedication, sacrifice, and the pursuit of excellence are themes brought out in the story. The recompense and joys of the sport come along its long distances, giving both physical and mental challenges.

  19. 26 Marathons

    874 ratings

    An Olympic medalist and Boston Marathon champion takes readers through his lifetime running story—a reflection of lessons learned. It reflects the lessons learned from challenges, triumphs, and wisdom gathered from each of his 26 marathon races. It will draw on the physical, mental, and emotional aspects running long distances generally elicits, considered quite pivotal in the development of the attributes of resilience, adaptability, and purpose. It would be a great inspirational and educative book for runners of all levels.

  20. Hansons Marathon Method

    819 ratings

    It is comprehensive within what is considered an unorthodox but very comprehensive guide to marathon training based on principles set forth by the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project—an innovative approach that has led to unconventionally great success. The book underscores the principles of cumulative fatigue and training intensity, coupled with specificity and balanced competition in running a marathon. The book includes detailed training schedules for runners of all levels and information on nutrition, recovery, and race strategy. Run by science, driven by results, the book assures you of guaranteed success in marathon running.

  21. Daniels' Running Formula

    775 ratings

    A comprehensive reference to training for distances from 800 meters to the marathon, it says it all within a scientific approach to training based on the principles of periodization, intensity, and specificity. It comes with detailed training plans and workouts for all levels of athletes and guides in such areas as nutrition, injury prevention, and race strategy. Here is the definitive, most important book of training by the most knowledgeable guy in running.

  22. Beyond Impossible

    644 ratings

    Chronicling his great feats in ultrarunning, adventurer and record-setting success on some of the world's most grueling tests of human endurance, the author shares the physical, mental, and emotional ordeals of an effort that pushes up against the limits of what many believe is possible, pushing the limits with every kilometer. It is a story about how resilience, determination, and human spirit in adversity can be the vehicles to transcendence, even when others drop behind on race day. This provides a very good example of training, mindset, and goal-setting for the achievement of the seemingly impossible.

  23. Good to Go

    583 ratings

    A deep dive into the science of sports recovery and the latest research and trends across everything from resting to nutrition, from hydration to more, pulls away the chaff to leave evidence-based takeaways on what really works to optimize performance and prevent injury. Full of down-to-earth advice and inspiring real-life examples from elite athletes and their coaches, this will be a priceless resource for any athlete aiming to train smarter, recover quicker, and unlock their full potential.

  24. Training Essentials for Ultrarunning

    351 ratings

    A complete guide to training for an ultramarathon, with major key areas being: creating sustainable endurance, speed development, and optimizing recovery. Science supporting good approaches to nutrition, hydration, and injury avoidance. Sample plans with case studies from various distances and purposes in ultrarunning. The key features in developing successful, sustainable training programs are individualization and adaptability.

  25. The Ultra Marathon Bible

    184 ratings

    This book provides a great, holistic approach to ultrarunning that many consider to be the best resource for any aspiring or experienced ultramarathoner. It covers all the essential topics, including training, nutrition, mental readiness, and racing tactics. The all-important aspects of endurance development, injury prevention, and fatigue management are addressed in detail. The book offers full personal advice for any distance and terrain, along with training plans, examples, and race-day checklists. All the information is evidence-based and includes the latest research and input from experts in the field.

  26. Sky Runner

    145 ratings

    The book is a narration of how the author went from a small mountain village boy to one of the top skyrunners in the world. It gives an insight into the hard mountain ultra-running world and the way to tackle the problems that come with running at high altitude. Moreover, it touches on the bond running has with nature and self-discovery. Very informative, with very good points about training, mental preparation, and adaptability in moving over technical terrain.

  27. Unleash Your Inner Ultrarunner

    70 ratings

    This must-read among ultrarunning books encourages anyone who feels like trying ultrarunning, regardless of their background. It provides tips on how to psyche up and the right training to help you run your best and surmount the particular challenges and demands of ultrarunning. The book emphasizes the importance of self-belief, adaptability, and perseverance. It offers actionable first steps for beginners to get their mind and body ready to embrace ultramarathons.

  28. Untethered

    58 ratings

    It shares an extraordinary journey of ultrarunning from the first 100-mile race to a record-breaking run across Canada, combining both the gritty and honest account of the challenges, victories, and growth in pushing limits. Chronicles the mental and emotional dimensions of endurance, resilience, and purpose. Discusses perspectives on training, mindset, and how to get balance between the demands of ultrarunning and family life.

  29. Ultrarunning for Normal People

    17 ratings

    It introduces ultrarunning to a general audience, much of it accessible and sensible, covering training essentials, nutrition, top performing gear you need to buy the most comfortable options for ultrarunning that you'll get to keep using even in a half marathon, and race tactics, but also how to fit this all in with work and family, and includes good advice on building up from shorter distances to an ultramarathon. This is the resource that every potential ultrarunner needs, a practical coach in low-key form.


  • What are the best running books ever written?

    These are the top 10 best books for runners of all time and for this year (2024) sorted by rating:

    1. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall
    2. "Once a Runner" by John Parker Jr.
    3. "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami
    4. "The Perfect Mile" by Neal Bascomb
    5. "Running with the Buffaloes" by Chris Lear
    6. "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" by Alan Sillitoe
    7. "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes
    8. "Pre" by Tom Jordan
    9. "Eat and Run" by Scott Jurek
    10. "Running with the Kenyans" by Adharanand Finn.
  • Who are the most popular authors of books for runners?

    Here are authors of good books about running training:

    • Jeff Galloway ("Galloway's Book on Running," "Running Until You're 100")
    • Hal Higdon ("Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide," "Half Marathon Training")
    • John "The Penguin" Bingham ("No Need for Speed," "An Accidental Athlete")
    • Matt Fitzgerald ("80/20 Running," "How Bad Do You Want It?")
    • Scott Jurek ("Eat and Run," "North")
    • Kathrine Switzer ("Marathon Woman," "26.2: Marathon Stories")
    • Danny Dreyer ("ChiRunning," "ChiWalking")
    • Dean Karnazes ("Ultramarathon Man," "Run!")
    • Christopher McDougall ("Born to Run," "Natural Born Heroes")
    • Jack Daniels ("Daniels' Running Formula")
    • Pete Magill ("Build Your Running Body," "SpeedRunner").
  • What books about running should beginners read?

    List of must read running books for beginners:

    1. "Running Start to Finish" by John Stanton
    2. "Daniels' Running Formula" by Jack Daniels
    3. "The Runner's Handbook" by Bob Glover and Shelly-Lynn Florence Glover.
  • What are the best books on marathon training for beginners?
    1. "The Essential Guide to Running Your First Marathon" by Andrew Kastor
    2. "The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer" by David Whitsett, Forrest Dolgener, and Tanjala Jo Kole
    3. "The First-Time Marathon Training Program" by Running Planet
    4. "Marathon" by Hal Higdon
    5. "The Marathon Method" by Tom Holland
    6. "4 Months to a 4-Hour Marathon" by Dave Kuehls
    7. "Your First Marathon" by Richard Bond.
  • What are some good books on motivation for runners?

    Inspirational books on running motivation:

    1. "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami
    2. "Let Your Mind Run" by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton
    3. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall
    4. "Running with the Buffaloes" by Chris Lear
    5. "The Rise of the Ultra Runners" by Adharanand Finn
    6. "The Passion Paradox" by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
    7. "Run the Mile You're In" by Ryan Hall
    8. "Running with Purpose" by Jim Weber and James Pawelczyk
    9. "Nowhere Near First" by Cory Reese
    10. "Running for My Life" by Lopez Lomong.
  • What are the best running books for women?
    1. "Run Like a Girl" by Mina Samuels
    2. "Running for Women" by Kara Goucher
    3. "The Happy Runner" by David Roche and Megan Roche
    4. "Tales from Another Mother Runner" by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea
    5. "Girls Running" by Melody Fairchild and Elizabeth Carey
    6. "The Daughters of Distance" by Vanessa Runs
    7. "Sole Sisters" by Jennifer Lin and Susan Warner.