The Best Running Books: 6 Top Reads

Here, we round up the best running books you can read or learn from.

If you want to read a great sportsbook or learn more about running, adopt a mind and body approach. As well as hitting the pavement and the gym, consider your training and fitness habits. That way, you can prepare for practices, races and earn a personal best.

The selection of running books below will help you become a better runner. We’ve also included them as they’re a good read, particularly if want to write a great sportsbook or become a sports writer.

1. Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchingson

The best running books

Canadian sports journalist Alex Hutchinson is the author of New York Times best-selling Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

In his early twenties, Hutchinson competed with the Canadian Athletics Team while training as a physicist. As his running career came to an end around 2006, he transitioned into sports journalism.

The book blends Hutchinson’s passion for running with his scientific training to probe the link between the human body and mind in top athletes.

“You judge what’s sustainable based not only on how you feel but on how that feeling compares to how you expected to feel at that point in the race.”

Alex Hutchingson

Listen to our interview with Alex Hutchinson

Learn more about Exercise and Creativity

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Alexander Hutchinson (Author) - Robert G. Slade (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 02/06/2018 (Publication Date) - HarperAudio (Publisher)

2. Running Formula By Jack Daniels

Today, we’ve access to more fitness data than ever before. But do you know how to use this data effectively to improve at this sport? 

Jack Daniels’ book covers these issues. It’s arguably the most data-driven running book available and Daniels adopts a scientific approach to training. 

He examines the current fitness levels of individuals. The author also defines the exact speed and intensity for individual running workouts. No matter your experience, speed, or distance, this book offers good insights into the sport.

“Don’t compare yourself to other runners; focus on your own fitness and performance.”

Jack Daniels
Daniels' Running Formula
  • Daniels, Jack (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 12/31/2013 (Publication Date) - Human Kinetics (Publisher)

3. The Art of Running Faster By Julian Goater

As a runner, you should train regularly and occasionally push yourself to run farther and faster, and in new environments. At the same time, train intelligently. Some questions to ask about your practice include: 

  • How often do I need to take a day off? 
  • When do I know it is okay to scale up or scale back? 
  • How often should I run hills? 
  • What is interval training? 
  • Does the time of day matter when I am trying to go out for a run? 

This book, written by a formal professional runner, answers the above questions and covers running tactics.

“If presidents and prime ministers can find time to stay fit, others of us can find ways to do it, too.”

Julian Goater
The Art of Running Faster
  • Size: 7x10
  • Author: Goater, Julian
  • Pages: 216
  • SHK01749
  • Goater, Julian (Author)

4. Advanced Marathoning By Pete Pfitzinger

The best running books 6 top reads
The selection of running books below will help you become a better runner

There are all types of running competitions to compete in. Some runners sprint. Others prefer triathlons. Some runners opt for Tough Mudders or Spartan races. But the marathon endures as a gold standard. If you’re running your first marathon, it’s a tough but fun challenge. Most running books can help with that. 

But what if you want to treat a marathon as a race, you need a different mindset. What can you do to shave those crucial minutes off of your marathon personal best? That is where Advanced Marathoning is helpful.

This book is for seasoned runners who’ve completed several marathons. As well as offering advanced training programs, the book provides guidance on recovery, hydration, nutrition, peaking, and tapering. 

“Mind is everything; muscle, pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” So said Paavo Nurmi, the Finn who won nine Olympic gold medals at distances from 1,500 meters to 10,000 meters.”

Pete Pfitzinger
Advanced Marathoning
  • Pfitzinger, Pete (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 296 Pages - 07/19/2019 (Publication Date) - Human Kinetics (Publisher)

5. Running Form: How to Run Faster and Prevent Injury By Owen Anderson

Maintaining good form while running is important

Consider your running gait if you want to get as much distance as possible out of every step. This book contains insights about how far you should travel with every step and where to position your knees, feet, and ankles.

It isn’t enough to push yourself harder and farther. Proper running form reduces injury and increases efficiency. The book covers how to get it right via various prompts and techniques.

It also coves strength training, finding ideal running shoes, and improving posture and foot strike. 

“After toe-off, masters runners tend to have less hip extension compared with younger runners, and the movement of the swinging leg when it is behind the body tends to be more lethargic in older runners.”

Owen Anderson
Running Form: How to Run Faster and Prevent Injury
  • Anderson, Owen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 232 Pages - 01/23/2018 (Publication Date) - Human Kinetics (Publisher)

6. The Lost Art of Running by Shane Benzie

This excellent running book covers Benzie’s journey as a long-distance runner and later a teacher of the sport. It also describes how you can improve your running form and technique. 

“After leaving America and deciding very early in my coaching career that in order to unearth the secrets of how our species is designed to run I would need to analyze and film athletes from all covers of the world.”

Shane Benzie
The Lost Art of Running: A Journey to Rediscover the Forgotten Essence of Human Movement
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Shane Benzie (Author) - Clifford Samuel (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/20/2020 (Publication Date) - Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (Publisher)

Best Running Books: The Final Word

The running books here all take a different approach when it comes to running. They cover form, training, diet, and recovery. They’re also worth reading if you want to understand the genre of sports writing. So pick one, read it, and lace -up.

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  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.