10 Books Every Runner Should Read

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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10 Books Every Runner Should Read

For those times when you’re not out on the road, trail or track, reading about running can be the next best thing. Whether it’s new training techniques, tips for losing weight or learning about what it’s like to run with the Kenyans, these 10 books will keep you in-the-know about the sport and help you stay motivated to continue pushing forward.

1. “THE COMPLETE BOOK OF RUNNING”
By Jim Fixx, 1977

Full of how-to advice and inspiration for beginning runners, Jim Fixx’s book, first published in 1977 (which  has sold more than a million copies), is a classic. While you won’t get information on training zones and heart rate variability, you will find the basic knowledge you need to become a runner for a lifetime and learn to fall in love with the sport.

2. “DUEL IN THE SUN”
By John Brant

The 1982 Boston Marathon was one of the greatest battles between two men the sport of running has ever witnessed. This book recounts what happened that day in April between Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar as the two men ran stride for stride away from the rest of the field. Even if you already know the outcome, what makes the book great is how it manages to capture the excitement and tension of the race in a way that makes you feel like you are part of this historic event.

3. “RUNNING WITH THE BUFFALOES”
By Chris Lear

While most of us will never get the chance to run with a big-time collegiate cross-country team, this book offers insight into exactly what it takes to compete for a national championship with some of the best runner’s in the world. This cult classic takes you through the highs and lows of the sport while providing an inside look into controversial coaching techniques, team practices and plenty of heartache and triumph along the way.

4. “RUNNING & BEING THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE”
By Dr. George Sheehan

More than just another book about running, this philosophical book by the legendary Dr. George Sheehan details his midlife journey back to the world of exercise and what he learned about himself along the way. While you’ll still get some of the author’s knowledge of training and injury prevention, it’s the mental and spiritual journey that can sometimes occur out on the road that will keep you turning the pages.

5. “RUNNING LIKE A GIRL: NOTES ON LEARNING TO RUN”
By Alexandra Heminsley

This humorous book about learning to run is something almost all runners can relate to. From miserable defeats to personal triumphs to creating the perfect running playlist, this book exposes truths about the sport that most other authors don’t dare to touch — running is a hard sport to stick with, and at times, it can be absolutely brutal.

6. “RUN TO LOSE: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO WEIGHT LOSS FOR RUNNERS”
By Jennifer Van Allen and Pamela Nisevich Bede

Having trouble shedding pounds? “Run to Lose” was written to help you through the process — from diet tips to a beginner training plan that will help you reach your goals. Running coach Jennifer Van Allen and sports nutritionist Pamela Nisevich Bede navigate you along the journey to maximizing your results and improving your running performance.

7. “THE RUNNER’S WORLD COOKBOOK”
By Joanna Sayago Golub

It’s no secret nutrition is a huge part of reaching your goals as a runner. The challenge is knowing what to eat and how to cook it. This cookbook, from Runner’s World, features 150 recipes that are easy to make, taste good and have the nutrients you need to recover and fuel tomorrow’s performance.


READ MORE > THE 5 BEST RUNNING MOVIES YOU CAN WATCH ON NETFLIX


8. “GALLOWAY’S BOOK ON RUNNING”
By Jeff Galloway

From the legendary walk-run marathon method to training plans for the 5K distance and up, this book from Olympian Jeff Galloway provides the same principles and guidelines used by world-class runners. You’ll also find his insights into staying motivated, developing a nutrition plan and how to burn fat extremely useful no matter your level.

9. “LORE OF RUNNING”
By Tim Noakes

Physician, research scientist and dedicated runner Tim Noakes offers the ultimate guide to understanding your body’s response to running so you can stay injury-free and enjoy a lifetime of the sport. In addition to tips on avoiding overtraining, increasing strength and flexibility, and treating most common running injuries, Noakes also includes interviews with 10 world-class runners and their secrets on longevity.

10. “RUNNING WITH THE KENYANS: DISCOVERING THE SECRETS OF THE FASTEST PEOPLE ON EARTH”
By Adharanand Finn

Ever wonder what makes the Kenyans faster than the rest of us? This book provides an inside look into the elite training camps in Kenya and what it’s like to run with the fastest humans on the planet. And while Finn’s insights on barefoot running and training techniques are worth reading on their own, it’s his own story of uprooting his own family of five and traveling to a distant country to fulfill his dream while raising a family abroad that sets this book apart.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.  

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