The Best Running Books: 9 Picks To Buy ASAP

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Looking for a great read...and trying to improve on the road? We're multitaskers, so naturally, we've rounded up our faves that hit both marks with our top running reads. Get inspired with picks from AMR staff and coaches:

"I found Born to Run by Christopher McDougall to be a fascinating read! I didn't read it during its peak popularity because I thought it didn't sound like my cup of tea, but the McDougall is a talented writer and an intriguing storyteller." —SBS

"My favorite is Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. Don't let the title scare you—it's a great handbook for folks who have one or two marathons under their belts and are looking to up their game. Training schedules are divided up by how many weeks you want to train and how many miles you're willing to put in. Plus the authors tackle subjects like recovery, supplementary training, and race-day strategy. A classic."—AMR podcast co-host Ellison Weist

"I love A Short Story About a Long Run by Lizzy Hawker, because I can relate to the adventure-seeking side of Lizzy Hawker. She is bold and seeks out things that would intimidate most people..... and she does them solo. She doesn't settle for a life without purpose. I love her adventurous spirit, ability to take risks, and beauty encountered by pursuing her dreams." —TLAM coach Stephanie Howe

"The Oatmeal’s The Great and Terrible Reasons Why I Run Long Distances made me feel like a real runner. Two reasons: 1) it was a gift from a friend when I was still in my “I’m not a runner I just kinda run a little” days and it made me realize she saw something in me I didn’t and 2) I was finally enough of a runner to get the jokes." —AMR podcast co-host and columnist Adrienne Martini

"To me, Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry is the be all/end all book for runners when it comes to building a strong, injury-proof body. Jay is PT extraordinaire and plots out a prescription for health in this book. Incorporate his recommendations into your routine and you will be a much-improved runner for it." —TLAM coach Amanda Loudin

"Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports by Kathrine Switzer is a thoughtfully written memoir by Switzer, who broke up the Old Boy's Club at the Boston Marathon—and went on to create countless opportunities for female runners around the world. She's still running strong; she's headed back to Boston this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her 1967 pioneering run, making this a perfect time to brush up on running history." —Dimity

"TRI-MOM Swimming, Biking and Running Through Motherhood by Debra Hodgett is written by Triathlon Mothers who try hard everyday to balance it all while maintaining their sanity.  Elizabeth & I are contributors. We write about our lives as racing at a top level (triathlon) and raising kids and working (running businesses) full time!" —Jennifer Harrison, USAT Triathlon Level 2 Coach

"Science of Running by Steve Magness. It is my go to resource for the 'why' behind what we do in run training.
—Coach Elizabeth Waterstraat

"Right now I"m reading Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald - more of an educational book. I love it though because I'm a firm believer in constantly learning about new methods and techniques to training and I really respect both Brad and Matt!" —Coach and podcaster Lindsey Hein

Do you have a favorite right now? Add it below!

14 responses to “The Best Running Books: 9 Picks To Buy ASAP

  1. This level is truly incredible! The chips and menu possibilities is yummy ).Sadly, I advise shifting their songs preference

  2. I am reading and loving Dean Karnazes’ 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days — and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!

  3. A long time ago I found “Running and Being” by George Sheehan and it honestly changed my life (well, as far as running was concerned, anyway…my RUNNING life 😀 ) It’s not about the ‘hows’ of running, but the ‘whys’ and the internal journey. Beautiful writing and quotes still make their way into my head sometimes when I’m struggling to stick with it.

  4. I am just finishing The Long Road to Boston by Mark Sutcliffe. Its tremendous. He has been were I have been. Felt what I feel. Fought the fight I am currently fighting. Even if you don’t want to run Boston its a tremendous book about falling in love with running and why we do it. I love the book. I love his writing and already have passages circled to read the night be for my Feb Marathon. Passion baby!

  5. The two best books about running…and really I am surprised that you don’t have it up here…”First Ladies of Running” by Amby Burnout and the BEST is “Once a Runner” by John Parker

  6. For pleasure reading I really enjoyed “Run the World” by Becky Wade. For training purposes I have enjoyed “Run Less Run Faster”.

  7. I listened to the audio version of Tom Foreman’s book My Year of Running Dangerously. It was laugh out loud funny at times and a great motivator for me. I highly recommend it.

  8. Any of John Bingham’s books. He is laugh out loud funny, his enthusiasm for running is contagious, and he makes you feel better about being an older, slower runner.

  9. Run Gently Out There (by John Morelock) is one of my all-time favorites, and I’m currently reading Cory Reese’s book, Nowhere Near First, and it’s great so far!

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