There are tons of books on running out there but let’s face it: not all have the inspiring effect we hope for. We’ve done the hard work for you (okay, not THAT hard work – it was enjoyable) and have picked out the very best running books of all time.
They are *sort of* divvied up: first by most inspirational, then motivational, and, finally, those best for training. This criteria is pretty subjective though, and, in the end, all of these books are inspiring, motivating, and insightful in one way or another.
Make sure to bookmark this page and comment below if you have a favorite!
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Best running books for inspiration
Confessions of an Unlikely Runner – Dana Ayers
Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run – Alexandra Heminsley
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir – Haruki Murakami
An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age – John “The Penguin” Bingham
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall
Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory – Deena Kastor
Once a Runner: A Novel – John L. Parker Jr.
Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time – Caleb Daniloff
Run the Mile You’re In – Ryan Hall
The Rise of the Ultra Runners – Adharanand Finn
Reborn on the Run: My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons – Catra Corbett
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner – Dean Karnazes
Adventureman: Anyone Can Be a Superhero – Jamie McDonald
Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero – Christopher McDougall
Run to the Finish – Amanda Brooks
Running & Being: The Total Experience – George Sheehan
Running Man: A Memoir of Ultra-Endurance – Charlie Engle
Best running books for motivation
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – David Goggins
Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Revised and Updated Edition) – Rich Roll
A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey – Chrissie Wellington
The Incomplete Book of Running – Peter Sagal
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – Matthew Inman
Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss – Dean Karnazes
Best training & history books
Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance – Christopher McDougall
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower – Matt Fitzgerald
Build Your Running Body A Total-Body Fitness Plan for All Distance Runners, from Milers to Ultramarathoners — Run Farther, Faster, and Injury-Free – Pete Magill; Thomas Schwartz; Melissa Breyer; Dr. Armando Siqueiros
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner – Alan Sillitoe