Staying Inside? The 10 Best Books About Running for 2020!

Are you suddenly finding yourself with a lot of time on your hands and you are looking for some good, engaging reading material? If you are looking to curl up with some excellent running related books, we have a list for you!

Ourt Team’s 10 Best Running Books for 2020!

1. My Year of Running Dangerously

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Tom Foreman subtitles this book A Dad, a Daughter and a Ridiculous Plan. A CNN news coorespondant who has spent time in war zones and reporting on national disasters, Foreman reports that his most fearful moment was when his daughter asked him to train for a marathon with her, and he surprised himself by agreeing to do so. A self proclaimed “couch potato turned ultra-marathoner,” his life dramatically changed as a result of this promise.

2. First Ladies of Running

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Written by American marathoner Amby Burfoot, this book is a lovely and inspiring journey through the history of women running. As a female, Burfoot’s coverage of women runners puts into perspective the struggles of women at the beginning of the movement to get female athletes allowed to participate as distance runners.

As an athlete, his overview is inspiring for readers of any gender. Covering athletes who are extremely well known, such as Kathrine Switzer and Joan Benoit to less well-known runners such as Roberta Gibbing and Julia Chase, they are all pioneers in the movement of running women.

“This isn’t a book just for women. It will also be enjoyed by the many men, like me, who shared the roads with the remarkable pioneer runners. It’s especially great for those of us with daughters, who we hope will follow the healthy running lifestyle.”

— Bill Rodgers, four-time winner, Boston Marathon; four-time winner, New York City Marathon

3. Meb for Mortals

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Most American distance runners are familiar with the name Meb Keflezighi. Known simply as Meb to the running community, his 2014 Boston Marathon win struck the hearts of people. Warm and approachable when seen in public, runners find themselves rooting for Meb anytime he toes the line.

His book Meb for Mortals gives people a glimpse into the training of an American great as he takes the reader through important aspects of his success including training, nutrition, and mental focus.

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

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“The day Deena Kastor became a truly elite runner was the day she realized that she had to ignore her talent–it had taken her so far, but only conquering the mental piece could unlock higher levels of achievement.” (from her book description on Amazon and GoodReads)

Kastor’s book opens the door to a crucial but often overlooked piece to distance training: the mental focus and positive mindset necessary in order to take your running to a higher level. She discusses the use of positivity as a game-changer for her, and how other runners can also utilize this technique.

Intermingled with this are stories about her running career, including tidbits and quips of humor. While most runners accept that they will never be an elite runner, Kastor’s book challenges you to have an elite mindset.

5. Born to Run

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Christopher McDougall started this journey due to his personal foot pain. Little did he imagine that his quest to figure out why he had pain, and how to fix the problem, would change his life forever. When McDougall learned about a tribe of Mexican Indians called the Tarahumara who were reputed to be able to run for days on difficult terrain wearing only thin sandals, he set out to find these people and see for himself.

Throughout this book he releases tidbits of information at a time with the underlying premise that man was not meant to run on cushioned shoes; rather, that people should consider going back to the basics to solve their foot problems.

Review after review illustrates that this book is thought-provoking, informative and humorous. For any runner, this one is for sure a must-read.

6. 50 Marathons in 50 Days

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Dean Karnazes just might be crazy. Since he has already defied all logic with his physical feats of endurance, he decides to see what happens when he attempts to run fifty marathons in fifty days. This book is not just a recounting of this adventure.

In this book, he covers issues of recovery, handling altitude, surviving extreme temperatures and other parts of this journey. One reviewer on Amazon even asks, “Is this book really nonfiction?!”

7. The Long Run

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Subtitled: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback From Crash Victim to Elite Athlete, this book is simply amazing. In 2005 while cycling to work, New York firefighter Matt Long was hit by a 20-ton bus. An avid runner and triathlete before the accident, post-surgery Long was told he would be lucky to walk unassisted.

This book is an emotional yet satisfying read that takes you through this experience as if you are living it through Matt’s eyes. You won’t soon forget the heart, determination and guts this firefighter went through to heal his broken mind, heart and body.

8. Race Everything

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Another well known figure in the running world, Bart Yasso pens this epic account that incorporates his own experiences with general running knowledge. Experienced in every event from the 5K to an Ironman, Yasso truly is a wealth of knowledge. He provides everything from how to train, to what to eat, to advice on specific race courses he has experienced.

Yasso’s book is amusing, his thoughts accessible to the average runner, and the voice he brings to his writing makes this a fun read.

9. Dandelion Growing Wild

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Kim Jones writes an inspiring autobiography that starts with her childhood. One of my personal favorites in the genre of running books, it traces her epic journey through her world class career as a marathoner. None of the journey was easy for Jones but persevere she did.

“Kim Jones emerged from an impoverished, challenging childhood to become the best marathoner in America. Her story is nothing short of incredible, and it ought to give runners of all abilities a boost in pursuing their own dreams.” – Don Kardong. Author; 1976 Olympic Marathoner

10. How Bad Do You Want It?

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Matt Fitzgerald puts together a fascinating read about how the psychological aspects do produce superior physiological results. Referred to as psychobiological findings, Fitzgerald illustrates results that come from focusing on working on mental toughness. Building your mental capacity can help a runner to excel physically, according to Fitzgerald.

As stated in Amazon’s book summary, “Each chapter explores the how and why of an elite athlete’s transformative moment, revealing powerful new psychobiological principles you can practice to flex your own mental fitness.”

Just Scratching the Surface

When looking for something engaging to read on the topic of running, this list of our 10 best running books certainly is not an all inclusive list.

However, if you’re hunting for something to fuel the mind and soul, as well as supplying some motivation to lace up your sneakers, this list of books about running is a great place to start!

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