Best Running Books


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The popularity of running has exploded in the past few years. Many people have shown interest in this sport because of its accessibility, low cost, and the immense positive impact on their health.

Running has also become a very competitive sport and a well-paying career. Many running legends are being created right now, and top runners now become celebrities. Think Usain Bolt a few years ago, and Kipchoge with his sub-2hr marathon run (controversy aside, it still generated a lot of publicity).

This has encouraged many runners to try their own at grabbing golds, silvers, bronzes in local races. The amount of races all over the world has increased and the times continue to decrease. This sport requires resilience, discipline, mental toughness, and determination; perhaps that is the very reason why it attracts so many aspirants. Nevertheless, not everyone runs to become an all-time athlete. Most of us run to keep fit and healthy. Wherever you are on your running journey, but especially as a beginner, it is important to learn as much as you can from the great of this sport. Knowledge is power. The more you read, the more likely you will improve at this sport, prevent injury, and enjoy running more every day!

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Running Book

While authors, topics, and targeted audiences are great things to keep in mind while selecting a running book, you should not judge a book just by its cover. So, in your search for a brilliant book on running, consider the following factors:

  • Topic – A book has to interest you first and foremost! Even within the topic of running, there are many sub-topics to learn about.
  • Illustrations – A book should fully express the ideas of the writer, and illustrations are a great way of  expressing what the text can’t.
  • Technicality – Not everyone is an expert in the sport of running, so a book that uses too much technical jargon may confuse a newbie.
  • Background – As a reader, you must be sure that all the information presented to you is truthful and reliable. Make sure the author has credibility and is well-regarded in the running community.
  • Story – Story is king… no matter how technically correct the book is, what will keep you hooked is the story. The more compelling the story, the more you will enjoy the book and the more information you will learn and retain.

10 Best Running Books

It is very useful to learn from the legends of the running world and understand what they have to say from their experiences and expertise. One of the best ways to educate yourself is by reading the books either written by these legends or the ones that speak of them. You need to go in-depth to understand why most of the Kenyan athletes are good at long-distance races or why Jamaican and American runners are great when it comes to short races. The list of running books listed below provide a deeper understanding of the sport for beginners and the more experienced alike. Happy reading!

1. Running Tough

Michael Sandrock authored this book and published it in 2001. This book outlines the various methods and procedures used by various professional runners. To sum it up, this is a handbook that you can use to organize training goals and to plan your runs and milage.

Running Tough contains several inspiring chapters covering some of these topics:  long runs to lift aerobic stamina, off-road training to build leg strength, hill workouts to build aerobic endurance, tempo runs to boost anaerobic thresholds, and recovery fun runs to rebuild muscles while enjoying the sport.

With this book in your hand, be sure to say goodbye to boring runs since its a book that will change your perception on running. It is definitely worth reading if you wish to improve your running skills.

2. Hanson’s Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon

Luke Humphrey authored this outstanding book and published it in the year 2016. Whether you are a newbie in the field of running or a pro, this book will surely make you a better runner. This book outlines both beginner and advanced level training programs with a special piece on Hanson’s 16-mile long run.

The Hanson’s program is essential in prepping-up an athlete’s body to run a marathon. The Writer writes on how the runner can customize Hanson’s method to set their goal for the next race. The author’s suggestions include useful tips such as adding further speed, control training interruptions, etc. It also includes a detailed chapter on hydration and nutritional requirements for a runner aspiring to run in a marathon.

The book has the most effective marathon training programs from some of the most famous running organizations in the world. Humphrey is well-respected, and many runners have seen significant improvements using his method. This is a brilliant book for any runner who wants to take their running to the next level.

3. Run Faster

This book published in the year 2008, was co-authored by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald. Brad Hudson was previously an Olympia Trails Marathoner and is currently an instructor for Olympians like Dathan Ritzenhein.

The book gives guidelines on effective and competitive training programs that will enable you to become a world-class runner. By reading this book you will learn how to access and assess your hidden abilities while running in a marathon. With the writer’s guidance, you will be able to run faster while covering any distance and avoid injuries.

4. Explosive Running

This is an awesome book that was authored by Michael Yessis in the year 2006. This book is great for a starter to intensify self-motivated warm-ups, bodyweight workouts, and shoeless running. It is a great book for runners who have been looking for a way to improve their running speed, with or without a pair of good running shoes.

The writer’s guidelines will help you run faster without any injuries, so you will no longer be concerned about buying good shoes to better your performance. According to the writer, the secret of improving your performance is understanding the simple fact that your stride is only as good as your physical abilities, and not your shoes.

This book puts a lot of emphasis on the biomechanics of running, common problems in running, nutrition, and special strength workouts. Explosive Running will enhance your understanding of running and boost your exercises within the shortest time possible.

5.  Brain Training For Runners

Matt Fitzgerald authored this book in the year 2006. The author of this book discusses the mental perspective involved in running and does not limit running to be just a physical thing in this book. He goes ahead to give you approaches that you can use to incorporate your mind into the strides while running.

Matt Fitzgerald has a great strategy that’s based on the modern research in exercise physiology namely Brain Training. This helps the runners repel running fatigue, learn the art of striding, overcome injuries etc. Brain Training for runners offers practical and most effective brain skills to boost your running skills. So don’t wait anymore, grab your copy and see some tangible improvements.

6. Daniels’ Running Formula

When someone writes about their experience in training runners, it makes more sense than hearing it from a third person. Jack Daniels, who is experienced in this field authored this book in the year 2014. Jack Daniels has come up with a scientifically proven formula to coach runners for their running careers.

This formula is ideal for those training to become stronger and faster runners. As a runner, you can select red, white, blue or gold programs which have a mix of five intensive pieces of training to help you build your strength, speed, and endurance. This customized procedure even fits short training sessions which favors any runner irrespective of their availability for the training.

7.  Running & Being: The Total Experience

For over fourteen weeks, this book was a bestseller in New York and was authored by George Sheehan in 2014. It focuses more on life and provides an outline of a fitness program that helps runners determine their spiritual energy through running. In many places, the book refers to the outstanding actions and history of great athletes and thinkers.

Sheehan outlines the importance of training, injury control, and completion as a way of good living and building up a strong running culture. Running & Being is a widely read book useful for logical runners who want to boost their spiritual stamina through running.

8.  Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster

This awesome book co-authored by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss in the year 2012, equips the runner on how to get stronger and run faster and better by exercising less. For the benefit of the reader, the strategies used by international athletes in the Boston marathon are mentioned in this book.

The quality vs quantity approach used in this book ensures that the runners enjoy running irrespective of the distance. This is the book to grab and chew. This book aims at making running more enjoyable and limits overtraining while optimizing the performance.

9. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing

This book authored by Philip Maffetone and published in 2010 should be your best friend. You will learn how to obtain optimal results, reduce injury, and remain productive for many years in athletics.

The approach used in this book offers an individualized and self-motivated outlook for building aerobic stamina, weight loss, resistance in the immune system, and continuous energy. The author also takes a keen interest in good nutrition, which he considers to be a part of enhancing the overall performance.

10. Born to Run

Christopher McDougall authored this book in 2011. This is not just a running book, but also an entertaining read that has changed people’s perceptions about running.

First of all, the adventure begins with a simple but provocative question ‘why does my foot hurt?’.  However, by the time you are done with this book, the author’s epic story will get you engaged and engrossed in running while also compelling you to agree with the author. That’s because the Author would force you to agree with his dramatic conclusion that all of us were born to run.

Final Thoughts

While looking for a book on running, be sure of what you need and select a book that suits your taste and preference. Also, whether you are an expert or a beginner, the books, as shown above, can take your running skills to a whole new level. Remember knowledge is power and the day you stop reading, you start decaying.

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