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Ahhh, the Gift of a Book About Running

I’m a running book junkie. 

Dozens of volumes on my shelves have enriched my running.   So when Amy started talking Holiday Wish Lists for runners, I thought I’d throw out some titles that would be great literary partners for anyone to more fully enjoy and improve their running.
The Competitive Runner’s Handbook.
  Like a colossal how-to reference a plumber would keep in his truck, this is a true users manual.  It covers everything for the beginner to the advanced, every distance, including great training programs, racing techniques, injuries, nutrition—it’s got it all.  If you want to better talk about running, this one is a must.

How Running Changed My Life.  Hand me a tissue.  We'd expect and love to hear these stories on Oprah. Powerful short stories by ordinary runners that speak from their hearts about how running has and continues to transform them.  It's regularly on my night stand.

Running_within_2 Running Within: A Guide to Mastering the Body-Mind-Spirit Connection For Ultimate Training and Racing.   The Joy of Sex of running.  A great guide to the stuff not found in most running books—relaxing, being courageous, dealing with fatigue, dealing with your mental game.

Run Right Now: What a Half-Century on the Run has Taught.   If you don't have a running mentor, at least own this book. Compiled with wisdom that will save you from making unnecessary mistakes.  You’ll want to try several dozen new approaches to increase your enjoyment and success with your running.

The Cutting-Edge Runner.   Iran could probably build a nuclear bomb—or a better one—with this book.   Written with some of the latest science in mind for improving running performance by one of the best running writers.  I don’t want my competitors reading this book.

Complete Book of Beginning Running.  Remember the Betty Crocker Cookbook your mom had in her kitchen?  This is it for running.  Not just for beginners. Either you already know everything in this book or you better own it.  Thorough, inspirational, and will help you get the most out of running.  You would want your beginning running friends to own this.

Daniel’s Running Formula
Like a money guru who will help you take $1,000 and predictably invest it to earn $100,000.   Contains arguably the best explanations of the principles of training, types of workouts, a systematic guide to training at the right intensity, and how to put together your own training plans.  I wouldn't attempt a serious running goal or start a new competitive season without it.

Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running.
  Yup. I do own this book, although it's always out on loan.

What other titles do you suggest Amy and I add to our Wish Lists?


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That's a great list!

"Duel in the Sun" is another good one.


Of course, Ultramarathon Man by Karnazes is a fun read. However, my favorite read on the history of running is Neal Bascomb's The Perfect Mile about the 3 men attempting to become the first to break the 4 minute mile. You know the ending but the path each was taking to get to the goal is fascinating. Really inspiring.


Tom thanks for all the great suggestions. Before I go search do you know if any of these are available on audio. I am not much of a reader but I would enjoy listening as I work out.



I'm going to second both suggestions by Nitmos.

In addition, "Running Through the Wall" was amazing. Its a collection of stories of athletes, beginner to elite, running ultra marathons. Even if you have no interest in ultras, its a great read seeing what people will push themselves to do.

"Pre" was a great read too. Story of Prefontaine's life. I think we all need to know it!

"Running with the Buffaloes" is about a season with the 1998 Colorado Buffaloes. The team goes through a lot of losses that year, but still pulls off an amazing season. I'm not doing it justice, but a lot of people claim it is THE running book.

"Advanced Marathoning" is great to learn about training to run a better marathon (i.e. not 'only' finishing). Loads of good training tips with explanations of them too. Several training schedules included as well.

Yes, Tom, I do my fair share of reading too!


Ohhhhh I'll have to look for those! I've heard good things about "How Runnning Changed My Life" but have yet to read it . . .


I Run, Therefore I am Nuts is a hilarious book for runners. It doesn't give advice, just tells funny stories uniques to runners. It will crack you up!


I'm reading Again to Carthage right now ... the sequel to Once A Runner by John L. Parker. There's the Runner's Literary Companion - a collection of short stories and poems about running by Garth Battista. And Running Within by Jerry Lynch if you want to read about the whole mind/body/spirit running thing.


Awesome post. Can you do a list of fun gadgets and gizmos for runners' wish lists? ;)


Oh Tom, any of those will be fine for me. Oh what? I'm not on your list? Oh, nevermind then. How about a blue soft sweater? :D

Bingham's Courage to Start is a great read and not just for beginners or to get started. It really grounded me. I love to read the few pages on races before every race.

Bob Gentile

thanks Tom, I will check these books out!

Bill Carter


Thanks for putting such my time into an article like this and making it so useful. I haven't heard of a couple of these books and it looks like Amazon is going to get some more of my money..
One that I would add to the list for the rabid marathoner like myself is Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. There is some amazing information and a cookbook of how to improve your time in the marathon.
Thanks again.


Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I have added all of them to the Book resources on RunnersLounge.com so we don't lose this list.

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