10 Books for Runners' Reading Lists
"Running Away" by Robert Andrew Powell"Running won't change your life, just the way you live it." 1 of 11
Journalist Robert Andrew Powell's memoir is an honest account of his attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Rocked by his divorce, Powell picked up the sport in early 2007 and moved to Boulder, Colorado to train and qualify for the prestigious event, which also happened to be his first marathon. Throughout the book, Powell hopes that he, like his father, can qualify for Boston in his first year of running. He invests in high-tech running gear, trains obsessively, and through the miles, learns a great deal about himself.
"Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall"The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other... but to be with each other." 2 of 11
No running book list is complete without the mention of Christopher McDougall's Born to Run. McDougall, a journalist featured in Outside Magazine, Esquire, Men's Journal and The New York Times Magazine, among others, takes readers through a firsthand account of tracking the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. Throughout the book, he puts the Tarahumara's superhuman running talent to the challenge in a 50-mile race through their homeland. McDougall weaves in running history and modern theories about fitness that will inspire runners everywhere.
"Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run" by Alexandra Heminsley"Finally, I could see with startling clarity that the time I had spent experiencing pain on a run was outweighed by the amount of time that I felt good about it. I was aglow. I was invincible." 3 of 11
Alexandra Heminsley's humble account tells a tale of a 20-something Heminsley taking up running and feeling as though she failed miserably as she learns those first lessons in running—most notably, that it's hard. Heminsley writes hilariously and honestly for other women who have struggled with the practical side of running (i.e. how to buy the best bra) and their own first marathon.
"The Terrible And Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances" by The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman"Running a race assigns a point to a sport that often feels very pointless ... It's a way of crafting an end boss for a particularly cumbersome video game. It's a fun, monstrous reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other. So, do yourself a favor: go build a monster." 4 of 11
From the creator of wildly popular The Oatmeal comic comes The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. Matthew Inman illustrated and wrote the graphic novel, detailing his experience with The Blerch, the illustrated obese version of himself that motivates him to keep running. Inman writes honestly about running problems, from wanting to eat constantly to "hitting the wall."
"What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir" by Haruki Murakami"People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest." 5 of 11
Haruki Murakami's intimate memoir describes his training journey as he prepares for the 2005 New York City Marathon. The book is part training diary and part funny and philosophical accounts of his running progress. He writes about how addicting running can be, and at the same time, how much discipline the sport requires.
"Eat & Run" by Scott Jurek"Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn't sure he can accomplish. It can be running a mile, or a 10K race, or 100 miles. It can be changing a career, losing 5 pounds, or telling someone you love her (or him)." 6 of 11
Ultrarunner Scott Jurek has a long resume of ultrarunning wins. He's been named one of the top runners of the decade and Ultrarunner of the Year three times. His book, Eat & Run, chronicles his journey from his Midwestern childhood roots to his place at the top of the running world. The book features detailed glimpses at some of his toughest races, but readers will also get a few of Jurek's favorite vegan recipes.
"My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon" by Bart Yasso"Running isn't about how far you go but how far you've come." 7 of 11
Bart Yasso, of Runner's World fame, writes about his lifelong love of running with a seasoned voice. He details the heartache, pain and the crippling sickness he has faced in his running career. The running legend gives practical advice and guidance, offering encouragement to all runners, both those who are new to the sport and seasoned veterans.
"Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America" by Marshall Ulrich"Keep going, one foot in front of the other, millions of times. Face forward and take the next step. Don't flinch when the road or gets rough, you fall down, you miss a turn, or the bridge you planned to cross has collapsed. Do what you say you'll do, and don't let anything or anyone stop you." 8 of 11
Ultrarunner Marshall Ulrich writes about his 3,000-mile run from California to New York, describing the physical and emotional challenges he faced on the roads. Ulrich's memoir touches on his upbringing and what led him to the pavement. He also gives a history of ultrarunning and, because Ulrich didn't start ultrrunning until his 30s, provides a reminder that running is a timeless sport.
"Tales from Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Trials, Tips, and Tricks from the Road" by Dimity McDowell by Dimity McDowell"Nearly everything I know about myself—the person I am today at forty—I've discovered through running." 9 of 11
Released after the success of the online community for mother runners, Tales from Another Mother Runner features a collection of essays written by runners who also happen to be moms as they deal with mommy duties and still try to keep up with their race training. The book is the third installment from McDowell about mother runners. The others are Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother.
"Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World" by Bill Rodgers"Training need not be an all-or-nothing battle, involving punishing track practice, grueling calisthenics, and wrenching interval sessions every afternoon ... It could be an act of freedom by which I could step outside myself and my racing mind." 10 of 11
Another memoir from a legendary runner comes Bill Rodgers' Marathon Man. The book tells of his historic victory in the 1975 Boston Marathon that launched a marathon running craze. Rodgers' memoir is an inspiration for runners and an intimate look at the life of legend.