Best Running Books

Best Running Books

We asked our readers for their favorite running book recommendations. We’ve compiled all the recommendations into Training, Running Science, Running Culture & History, Memoirs, and Running Strength. We’ve also selected our top two picks in each category. While reading these won’t necessarily make you a fast runner, they’ll provide you with enough knowledge to train smarter.

Train Better

These books are a must-read for every runner who wants to train scientifically and want to understand the training principles, and put together a structured training plan.

1. Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger

If you are a serious enough runner, you would have come across this cryptic word ‘Pfitz 18/55’ on the Internet. If you are wondering what it is, PFitz or Pete Pftizinger’s Advanced Marathoning is one of the best marathon training books. His training plans are deceptively simple but super challenging. From elites to novices have been using these plans with success.

If you are training for your next marathon, and want to challenge yourself, this is the book to read. We can’t guarantee you a personal best, but we can guarantee you that you will love the book and the training plans.

2. Daniels Running Formula by Jack Daniels

Anyone getting into running and wants to understand a step-wise structural approach to running, then this is a go-to book. The book has been logically divided into chapters for easy consumption by readers.

The book starts with intrinsic motivation, external factors followed by training principles, and running dynamics like strike rate, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc.

Further, the book talks about VO2 max, various paces - threshold, interval, etc. as the book progresses it explains the marathon training w.r.t. Macro, Meso, and Micro cycles.

Special Mentions

Running Science for the Geeks

Running is much more enjoyable when you know the science behind it. Discover how science has helped us break barriers that once seemed impossible through science. Here are the top picks on running science.

1. Science of Running by Chris Napier

For those who are interested in understanding the science of running, and human anatomy for running, this is the right book for you. Understand every aspect that comes to play during the run through the “First Principle” in Science of Running.

This book is surely going to make you turn pages, albeit hearing a lot of jargon from fellow runners.

It is safe to say this book is an encyclopaedia to understand the human running body.

2. Endure by Alex Hutchinson

Runners who have read Alex Hutchinson’s articles will agree that he is the best at explaining complex and otherwise boring science papers in a way that is useful for them. This book contains fascinating scientific insights into endurance sports that are explained in an engaging way.

If you would like to understand the science of endurance, and what humans are capable of with endurance, this is the book to read. After reading this book, you will be equipped with knowledge of how to break your limits of endurance.

Special Mentions

Running Culture & History

Running is now the second most popular fitness activity across the world. What makes the seemingly simple activity so popular? The sport of running is full of fascinating people, interesting stories, and a rich culture. Here are the picks on running culture & history.

1. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run, explores the running journey of the author, which started with a simple question and uncovers various aspects of running, through observations and experiences.

The book talks about how we humans are more adapted for running marathons than animals. He observes the indigenous tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara. How we can get more efficient in the journey of marathons by making small modifications in our thoughts and habits through our diet, running form, etc.

2. Running with Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

Kenyan distance runners are well known, but we know very little about how they train and why they excel. Adharanand Finn is an excellent storyteller. In the book, the author tells the story of his trip to Kenya and the experiences he had with Kenyan runners, their running culture, and their way of seemingly natural running.

For anyone interested, this book offers fascinating insights into what makes the Kenyans the champions of distance running.

Special Mentions

Memoirs

Want some inspiration for your next marathon cycle? What better way to get inspired than by reading the memoirs of great personalities? Here are our picks.

1. What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami

Murakami has been an intense writer and from the read, one can understand, the need for him to run was mostly to be one with himself. He had reached writer’s block and he needed a breakthrough which lead him to pick up running. Murakami relates “discipline” is something we need in writing as well as in training for a marathon.

The book talks about how running, has made him more grounded, and how he has grown as a person.

2. North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek

The Appalachian Trail in the United States stretches almost 2,200 miles (3,540 km) between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through 14 states on the way. Scott Jurek conquered the trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine, in 46 days, 8 hours, and 8 minutes, setting the fastest known time (FKT) at that time. The book recounts his arduous 50 miles of running every day for almost seven weeks.

Runners and non-runners alike will find this book inspiring. For those who want to excel at endurance sports, especially ultrarunning, this book is a must-read.

Special Mentions

Get Stronger to Run Faster

The questions often we are asked by our readers -

  • How do I know if I have enough strength?
  • What is the best way to strength train as a runner?
  • How much strength training to do? Answers to all these questions are in these books.

Thanks to all our readers who have sent us recommendations

Twitter - Shivam Rai, Dhananjay Shukla, Muthukrishnan, Devkanta, Alok Ranjan, Deepak Ram

Facebook - Manoj Agarwal

Instagram - Vandana Arora, Arun Yelamali, Gautam Pothineni, Rehabdoc, Prasad Patil, Anjali Saraogi, Ruchik Doshi, Prasannapriya Reddy, Sowmiyanarayanan S, Vishwa Sanghavi, ​​ Amit Kshirsagar, Vιʋҽƙ Mιʂɾα, Garima Dhamija, Paresh B, Piyush, Kapil Arora, Ramesh Babu P V, Chinmaya Chitlangia

Compiled by Team GeeksOnFeet the love of running


If you are a running enthusiast, follow us on our social media channels @geeksonfeet on Twitter, and GeeksOnFeet on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

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