Running Reading List
My (current) favorite books about running
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If you love running and you love reading there's a good chance that eventually you'll end up reading books about running. There is so much to say about running - from the poetic to the scientific to the sometimes dry litany of training tips - and it's no surprise that running literature, while not a huge niche, at least has a deep bench. I started reading books about running by way of audiobooks. There's not much that will hype you up more about running on mile 8 of a long run than listening to all the benefits of running or all the love elite runners have for the sport.
Books I Recommend
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen* by Christopher McDougall
I started with Christopher McDougall's best-seller Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen*. Amazing endurance races, scientific evidence that humans evolved as a species because of running, and brushing up against running greats during the dig for knowledge into the mysteries of running? Yes please! The book was highly engaging and even inspirational (and I'm not one to use that word lightly). And with that, my interest in more books about running was piqued.
Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance* by Christopher McDougall
I followed up with McDougall's other book Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance*. While this book feels a bit heavier with more historical anecdotes (including one on-going anecdote of how a band of Cretan guerrillas kidnapped a Nazi general) it was still overall an interesting book that sparked a few fun ideas in my mind about my own running and fitness.
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness* by Scott Jurek
Most recently during a marathon session of editing photos I listened to Scott Jurek's Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness*. It's funny - I vividly remember having the chance to go to a book signing event at a local book store for this, but I turned it down. In 2012 when this book came out I liked running, but I was completely isolated from the running community and so I had no idea how special it was that Scott Jurek was coming to town to sign his book at an indie bookstore and lead a group run afterwards. Maybe I figured I couldn't keep up with an elite runner during a group run, or maybe I figured I just didn't love running that much so I wouldn't miss anything, but looking back I really wish I'd gone. That was one of the first times I'd heard of Scott Jurek, and I heard about him again in 2015 when he set the FTK (fastest known time) supported on the Appalachian Trail at 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes, and so finally reading his book - exploring his personal and running life as well as some of his life philosophies and his vegan diet - felt like finally meeting someone properly after you keep bumping into them in all your favorite spots.
Run Fast East Slow* by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky
I read most of Run Fast East Slow* - if reading a cookbook counts as reading a book - after the event at Fleet Feet Carrboro with Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. The cookbook has some great tips on eating whole foods and fueling an athlete's body as well as the intermittent anecdote tucked away among the recipes.
Books I Want to Read
Of course there are plenty more books about running that I'd love to read - I'm just getting started! Check out the next books on my list:
- Running Man: A Memoir of Ultra-Endurance* by Charlie Engle
- Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself* by Rich Roll
- Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner* by Dean Karnazes
- My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan* by Tom Foreman
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running* by Haruki Murakami