Best Trail Running Books

Book rating updated 9.05.2024

Ranking the best trail running books of all time – the most popular for must read. Become a trail legend!

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Running Rewired

    776 ratings

    This book is a performance-based guide to maximize running performance and injury prevention. This guide is a synopsis of all current literature in biomechanics, physiology, and motor learning, with the practical means of using that information to enhance running form, efficiency, and speed. Included are exercises and drills to build strength, stability, and mobility, plus recommendations on recovery and nutrition.

  5. The Ultra Mindset

    297 ratings

    It delves deep into the mental strategies and techniques that top elite endurance athletes use to go well beyond their limits and produce the extraordinary. The author also shares his own experiences of working as an ultra-runner and with other athletes in top performance across a vast field. It incorporates practical tools and exercises that are useful for the development and strengthening of resilience, focus, and adaptability in hard times.

  6. The Trail Runner's Companion

    231 ratings

    Comprehensive guide to women trail running: gear, nutrition, and absolutely everything in between; training, and racing strategies are all-inclusive. Follow the practical advice doled out about what you need and how to get started in this level of competition that will inspire any runner—novice to elite racer. There are also profiles of top women trail runners and how to fit training into a busy work and family schedule. It's all here—mental training, adversity, and learning to love running.

  7. The Ultimate Trail Running Handbook

    234 ratings

    This is the one book that truly encompasses everything from beginning to advanced levels of trail running. Tips for safety while running on any terrain are shared, in any weather conditions and other advice or inspiration from experienced trail runners. It guides the runner in all levels: from preparation for races, mental strategies, and injury prevention.

  8. Trailhead

    58 ratings

    It is a collection of essays and stories that reflect upon the joys, adversities, and life lessons of trail running. It follows the experiences of the author as a runner, writer, and adventurer, among others, and adds to the wisdom of many other trail runners out there. It touches on the connection to nature, self-discovery, and community. It is an encouragement and reflection for everyone who finds meaning and purpose in running simply in the trails.

  9. Running Up the Mountain

    22 ratings

    The personal memoir of an adventurer and endurance athlete, Matt Baxter, in his new record attempt across the Appalachian Trail. This is a story that actually reverberates 2,000 miles in rugged wilderness, an echo of both the victories and defeats that come as a result of physical and mental challenges. Themes of the book include: perseverance, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of nature.

  10. Ultimate Guide to Trail Running

    2 ratings

    From new runners to mountain ultramarathon veterans, here is a comprehensive guide appropriate for everyone. From the essential kit and principles of training to nutrition strategies and safety in a variety of terrains, running in a diversity of conditions is covered here. Step-by-step instructions on how to build endurance, speed, and strength, how to prepare, and how to recover are detailed with the contributions of the best trail runners, coaches, and most iconic trail photographers worldwide.


  • What are the best trail running books ever written?

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

    1. "Relentless Forward Progress" by Bryon Powell
    2. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall
    3. "Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning" by Hal Koerner
    4. "The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running" by Adam Chase and Nancy Hobbs
    5. "Eat and Run" by Scott Jurek
    6. "The Trail Runner's Companion" by Sarah Lavender Smith
    7. "Where the Road Ends" by Meghan M. Hicks and Bryon Powell
    8. "Training Essentials for Ultrarunning" by Jason Koop
    9. "Running Your First Ultra" by Krissy Moehl
    10. "Trail Running: From Start to Finish" by Graeme Hilditch.
  • What books about trail running should beginners read?

    List of must read trail running books for beginners:

    1. "The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running" by Adam Chase and Nancy Hobbs
    2. "Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running" by Lisa Jhung
    3. "Where the Road Ends" by Meghan Hicks and Bryon Powell.