Are you feeling burnt out or lacking motivation in your running routine? Look no further than these inspirational reads to reignite your love for running. These books are packed with tips, advice, and stories that will inspire you to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.
I know from experience that finding a good book can be hard sometimes. Not all books are page-turners and great reads and so I’ve done the hard work for you. I’ve done the reading and I’ve found 9 books that are totally worth scoping out and adding to your list of books to read.
Whether you get them at the library, a book store, or Amazon, these books will inspire your running for months to come. I’ve personally read all of these books I’m recommending, so you can trust me that if I’ve read them, I vouch that they are worth reading.
Below, you’ll find my favorite motivational running books to boost your run-spiration. I’ve also given you a brief snippet of what the book is about so you can decide for yourself if it’s something you want to check out.
Here is a list of my favorite motivational running books for you. They aren’t in any particular order, but there are affiliate links present. **
Running with the Buffaloes
New Jersey native, Chris Lear, chronicles the 1998 cross country season of the Colorado Buffaloes. He gets inside access to workouts, long runs on “Mags”, and the inner workings of one of the most storied programs in college history. In this great book, Lear doesn’t just cover the training aspects of their program – it doesn’t read like a training log – but more of an account of the non-training, day-to-day part of “training” that you don’t normally get to see or hear.
If you’re in need of some major motivation, this is definitely the book for you.
“Pre” by Tom Jordan: This book is a biography of Steve Prefontaine, an American middle-distance runner who became a national icon in the 1970s. It covers his early life, his rise to fame as a runner, his relationships with coaches and fellow runners, and his tragic death at the age of 24.
Duel in the Sun
“Duel in the Sun” by John Brant: This book tells the story of the epic duel between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley at the 1982 Boston Marathon. It covers the race itself, as well as the backgrounds and training of the two runners, and the impact that the race had on their lives and careers.
Again to Carthage
“Again to Carthage” by John L. Parker Jr.: This is a sequel to the classic running novel “Once a Runner”. It follows the protagonist, Quenton Cassidy, as he attempts to qualify for the Olympic marathon and comes to terms with the aging process and his own mortality.
Born to Run
“Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall: This book explores the world of ultra-running and the Tarahumara, a reclusive indigenous tribe in Mexico who are known for their extraordinary endurance. It covers the author’s own journey as he trains for a 50-mile race with the help of some of the sport’s top athletes and coaches.
“Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight: This is a memoir by the co-founder of Nike, one of the world’s most successful athletic shoe companies. It covers the early years of the company, its struggles and successes, and the personal challenges that Knight faced along the way.
“Sub 4:00” by Chris Lear: This book tells the story of the quest to break the four-minute mile barrier, which was achieved by Roger Bannister in 1954. It covers the history of the mile, the training and racing strategies of the top milers of the time, and the psychological barriers that had to be overcome in order to achieve this feat.
Scott Fauble’s NYC Marathon Training
“Scott Fauble’s NYC Marathon” by Scott Fauble: This book is a memoir of Scott Fauble’s experience running the New York City Marathon in 2018. Fauble is a professional distance runner and Olympic hopeful, and his account of the race provides a behind-the-scenes look at the training, preparation, and mental and physical challenges of running at an elite level.
This book is loaded with commentary on Scott’s NYC marathon training while also giving insight into his day as a professional runner. The workouts he does aren’t flashy, but they are effective and necessary for the goals he had. His commentary on his day-to-day training is corny, but if you can get past that, it’s a really good read and puts the training load in perspective.
While half the book is written by Scott, the other half is written by his coach, Ben Rosario. It’s a really great account of the training logic that goes into each week.
At the end of the book, you can find Ben’s first outline of his training plan for Scott, the revised one during training, and finally, the finished product. The actual training Scott did to place in the top 10 at the NYC marathon.
Eat, Run, Enjoy
by Billy White
With great backdrops and wonderful commentary, this book has great recipes. The pictures alone were worth reading as he had many adventures with professional runners. His style of writing was unique and held my attention well.
This book got me excited to cook some of these amazing meals – and one day when our kids are more adventurous with their meals, I’m sure I will whip something right up!
What made this book different than other running cookbooks was his adventures with the runners, while then serving them the meals he wrote about. It was clever and held my attention well.
Overall, it’s clear that there are countless books out there to provide much-needed running motivation and inspiration. Whether you’re struggling to stay focused, working to overcome a past setback, or just hoping to spice up your routine, turning to a solid book can help you reach your goals.
From motivation to training advice to true stories of perseverance, there’s a perfect book for every type of runner. So whatever your motivation for lacing up your shoes, take a look at one of the above titles and get inspired today.
After all, as legendary runner Roger Bannister famously said, “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
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