The best running books 📚

Browse the best books on running as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

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

Running Man: A Memoir of Ultra-Endurance

By Charlie Engle

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.

From the list:

The best books on running from an ultrarunner

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

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

By Michelle Hamilton, Deena Kastor

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.

From the list:

The best books on running from an ultrarunner

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Book cover of A Beautiful Work In Progress

A Beautiful Work In Progress

By Mirna Valerio

Why this book?

The author of this book is an amazing combination of personable and empowering. She takes readers on her journey from a city kid growing up in NYC to a trail runner who explores the most scenic trails in the US. When you are finish you will feel like you have a new friend and some new inspiration.

From the list:

The best books for women who love the outdoors

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Book cover of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By Christopher McDougall

Why this book?

An aspiring ultra runner must read this book. It gives homage to a tribe of people who have used long-distance running as part of their society. Micah True planned the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon to bring together the ultrarunning community with this local tribe. Jenn and Billy, two young ultra runners, tie the story to a current-day nomadic and free lifestyle that is sure to inspire any new ultra runner. 

From the list:

The best books on ultrarunning for amateur adventurers

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Book cover of Today We Die a Little!: The Inimitable Emil Zátopek, the Greatest Olympic Runner of All Time

Today We Die a Little!: The Inimitable Emil Zátopek, the Greatest Olympic Runner of All Time

By Richard Askwith

Why this book?

There has never been (nor will there likely be) a runner like Emil Zatopek. His crowning achievement, a gold medal in the 5000m, 10000m, and the marathon in a single Olympics, has never been equaled, before or since. Yet the “greatest runner of all time” was more than just medals. Besides his Rocky Balboa-esque training regimen, Zapotek stood up to Soviet tanks during the Prague Spring. For this action, the runner was punished for years with a string of humiliating and strenuous jobs, before finally having his image rehabilitated in 1989. Known for his pithy quotes, the title of the…

From the list:

The best books on running history

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Book cover of Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon

Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon

By John Brant

Why this book?

Few races match the majesty of the Boston Marathon, often called the “People’s Olympics” for giving everyone who can qualify the chance to compete alongside the sport’s best. Few runnings of the Boston Marathon can compare to the 1982 race, which concluded with a down-to-the-wire finish that separated the first and second finishers by only two seconds. The book profiles both of those runners, Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, their build-up to the race, the back-and-forth of race day, and how the careers of each of those runners fell apart after the race. Dual in the Sun is one of…

From the list:

The best books on running history

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