55 Best Running Books of all Time

the 55 best running books of all time

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!

Heads up: some posts contain affiliate links! If you buy something through us, you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on.

Best running books for inspiration

Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas – Alexi Pappas

Confessions of an Unlikely Runner – Dana Ayers

How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters – Joel Cohen

Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run – Alexandra Heminsley

Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The Pack – Cory Reese

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

My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan – Tom Foreman

Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America – Marshall Ulrich

Broken Open: Mountains, Demons, Treadmills And a Search for Nirvana – David Clark

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

Running the Edge: Discovering the Secrets to Better Running and a Better Life – Adam Goucher

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

The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World’s Greatest Footrace – Dean Karnazes

A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey – Chrissie Wellington

Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink – Nita Sweeney

My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon – Bart Yasso

The Incomplete Book of Running – Peter Sagal

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen – Kate Fagan

26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from My Marathon Career – Meb Keflezighi

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – Matthew Inman

Into The Furnace: How a 135 mile run across Death Valley set my soul on fire – Cory Reese

Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss – Dean Karnazes

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail – Scott Jurek

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness – Scott Jurek

Best training & history books

50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days — and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! – Dean Karnazes

Hansons Marathon Method: Run Your Fastest Marathon the Hansons Way – Luke Humphrey

Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe – Becky Wade

The Way of the Runner: A Journey into the Fabled World of Japanese Running – Adharanand Finn

Running with the Kenyans: Discovering the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth – Adharanand Finn

Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-mile Race – Krissy Moehl

Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance – Christopher McDougall

Running Rewired: Reinvent Your Run for Stability, Strength, and Speed – Jay Dicharry

Training For Ultra: Ultra Running Stories From the Middle of the Pack – Rob Steger

Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person’s Guide to the Joy of Running or Walking a Half-Marathon or Marathon – John Bingham

80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower – Matt Fitzgerald

ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running – Danny Dreyer

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

Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong – T.J. Murphy

Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside With Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, And The University Of Colorado Men’s Cross Country Team – Chris Lear

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance – Alex Hutchinson

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner – Alan Sillitoe

For more, subscribe below and check out podcast recommendations, advice from pros, and our running transformation series.

You May Also Like