The best books on running from an ultrarunner

Who am I?

An internationally recognized endurance athlete and New York Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He's run across Death Valley in 120-degree temperatures, and run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions, he's run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements include winning the world's toughest footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer. His most recent endeavor was running 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat.


I wrote...

A Runner's High: My Life in Motion

By Dean Karnazes,

Book cover of A Runner's High: My Life in Motion

What is my book about?

“Dean Karnazes’ writing wakes up the appetite to run long distances. In this book, Dean takes us on a lifelong journey of ultramarathons, through the ups and downs, the friendships and lonely moments, and the struggles and rewards of each race. Dean writes in a direct and intimate way that keeps us reading like he runs -- without stopping." - Kilian Jornet, World Champion Ultramarathoner

The books I picked & why

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Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas

By Alexi Pappas,

Book cover of Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas

Why this book?

Olympic runner, actress, filmmaker and writer, Alexi Pappas’ wisdom and wit are beyond her age. This book will have you laughing, crying and cheering, sometimes all at once!


Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

By Rich Roll,

Book cover of Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

Why this book?

A graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law, Rich Roll was a successful attorney, and a trash diving addict at the same time. His discovery of endurance sports helped salvage and remake him.


Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes: A Cookbook

By Shalane Flanagan, Elyse Kopecky,

Book cover of Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes: A Cookbook

Why this book?

Part recipe book, part training plan, and entirely inspirational, Shalane Flanagan is a 4-time Olympian and the winner of the NYC Marathon.


Running Man: A Memoir of Ultra-Endurance

By Charlie Engle,

Book cover of Running Man: A Memoir of Ultra-Endurance

Why this book?

To say Charlie Engle has led a colorful life would be putting things mildly. An addict and alcoholic, after nearly losing his life to a hail of bullets, Charlie turned to running as his savior.


Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory

By Michelle Hamilton, Deena Kastor,

Book cover of Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory

Why this book?

Deena Kastor is a phenom that holds American records in every distance from the 5K to the marathon. Let Your Mind Run is a fascinating peek into the mindset of an elite athlete.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in running, runners, and life satisfaction?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about running, runners, and life satisfaction.

Running Explore 14 books about running
Runners Explore 17 books about runners
Life Satisfaction Explore 120 books about life satisfaction

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Silence of Great Distance, Running and Philosophy, and Born to Run if you like this list.