Need a little boost to run your best in 2024? Check out these 9 running books to help you train smarter, stay motivated, get strong, and keep going.
In early 2023, I wrote 33 Awesome Running Books on Training, Eating & Motivation. It was a compilation of the running books I had read over about a 10-year period.
Call this part two, if you will.
It is a list of the nine running books I read in 2023 (not necessarily released in 2023).
📕I balanced all that nonfiction with a lot of fiction and read:
📕Additionally, a friend started an outdoor-themed book club, so I also read:
📕Another friend recommended:
📕One day while perusing the library with my sons, I saw Dr. Kelly Starret’s latest book on display and checked it out:
📕Right now I’m reading more fiction:
📕Next I plan to read:
📕Because reading multiple books at once, usually one fiction, one non-fiction, keeps life interesting, fun and fulfilling.
Put these running books on your must-read list this year...
by Tina Muir and Zoe Rom
The book is divided into three parts:
Each section is divided into chapters, and it’s all about, you guessed it: sustainability.
Ah, finally! We now have a running book that discusses:
No, you won’t read how, for instance, strength training and proper fueling can make you a faster, better, stronger runner.
Rather, you will read how those two components of training will make you a lifelong, healthy, happy runner, and that’s what we all desire, right?
Throughout the book, there are excerpts titled:
If I had read this book and those excerpts when I first started running at age 11...
At the time of this writing, I’ve been running for 30 years, with a bent toward:
Yet, the way Muri and Rom blend running with the mindset of:
They are real and candid and discourage perfectionism, reiterating time after time that we are all wonderful the way we are.
Becoming a Sustainable Runner will motivate you to:
All in all, this is the book that has been missing from the running world.
It is one of the most crucial, must-read, call-to-action books I read in 2023. The other book of equal importance is number four on this list.
by Sally McCrae
Professional trail/ ultra runner Sally McCrae is an inspirational powerhouse...
She is a leader you’ll want to follow: @yellowrunner on Instagram.
Her accolades are many. Just some include:
Choose Strong, however, is not exactly a running book.
Grab your box of tissues for this one.
As a mother, I was sobbing for the majority of it.
Sally openly shares her private experiences, an important reminder to not feel shame around our own traumas.
And to give love and kindness to everyone we encounter, because you never know what someone’s internal and external battles might be.
by Lauren Fleshman
Winner of the 2023 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award,
Good for a Girl is retired professional runner Lauren Fleshman’s reflection on her life as a runner living in a world unaccommodating to the holistic development of female athletes, from her school days to adulthood as an elite.
Described as part memoir and part call for change in women’s athletics, Good for a Girl reveals:
Fleshman, champion of the 2006 and 2010 U.S. 5,000 meter, is:
Good for a Girl is not only an excellent read for adult runners...
It can serve as a guide for young girls and women in the sport, and boys, for that matter.
By Alison Mariella Desir
Above, I stated that Becoming a Sustainable Runner was one of the most important books I read in 2023.
While caring for our planet and society tops life’s priority list, caring for our fellow citizens should be number one, above all else.
To put it simply, every white person would be doing themselves a huge service by reading Running While Black.
Learning more about the many races and ethnicities that make up our diverse world is our responsibility as human beings.
The book opens with side-by-side timelines:
The timelines convey Desir’s sentiment...
Desir provides both a history lesson and an unapologetically honest viewpoint of her experience as a Black female runner living in a white world.
She spells it out for white people - most of us lack awareness around inclusivity, and we need to change.
With two master’s degrees, Desir is a remarkably intelligent author. She thoughtfully weaves in:
It is an eye-opening memoir. Before spending money on another get-faster, stronger, better running book, do the world a favor and choose this one instead.
by Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton
You may have read my review of this one in Favorite Running Items (Part 3): Shoes, Shorts, Bands & More! If not, here it is again.
In McDougall’s Born to Run, Eric Orton...
Born to Run 2 shares the training techniques Orton used with McDougall.
I have bookmarks and dog ears throughout the book and use it to mix up my pre-run routine and for yummy recipes.
One of my favorite pages is...
It’s a quick read and great reference book for coaches and runners alike.
By Dr. Belisa Vranich and Brian Sabin
You may have read my review for this one in Favorite Running Items Part 4: Stuff to Make You Strong & Cool. If not, here it is again.
Recently Runners World featured an article, Diaphragmatic Exercises: How to Strengthen Breathing Muscles, interviewing Dr. Belisa Vranich.
While the article does an excellent job touching on the importance of breath in running, I recommend diving deeper and reading the entire book. It’s a quick read - I finished it in a few days.
As the yogis say...
In fact, the breath is EVERYTHING when it comes to cultivating mindfulness and creating next-level focus and then applying those to your sport.
Intentional breathing is also useful for:
One of my favorite sections of the book is a description of how to breathe for different activities or exercises, including:
The book covers running, too, plus a multitude of disciplines.
It’s one I could read over and over.
And, as a yoga instructor, I use the information gained from its pages to inform my yoga classes and to guide students through breath-led movement.
By Jeff Horowitz
Strength training is an indispensable aspect of a runner’s life.
In Quick Strength for Runners: 8 Weeks to a Better Runner’s Body, Horowitz outlines an easy-to-follow program toward increasing strength with body-weight and weighted exercises.
The book offers:
In fact, the majority of the book is:
I recommend it as a reference, which could live in your gym bag or home gym, for both dedicated strength trainers seeking inspiration and newbies looking for a simple approach.
By Dr. Kelly Starrett with T.J. Murphy
I’m a fan of Dr. Starrett’s work...
Beginning with Becoming a Supple Leopard (reviewed here) and his latest, Built to Move.
He is the Mobility / WOD king, and Ready to Run is the ultimate resource for runners of all levels.
The book is a wealth of knowledge, a necessity for longevity in the sport. In it, runners will learn:
One of the best ways to use this book is in conjunction with personal physical therapy (PT) sessions.
By T.J. Murphy, Brian MacKenzie & Dean Karnazes
Unbreakable Runner is a 191-page quick read from the perspective of CrossFit Endurance founder Brian Mackenzie.
Out of curiosity, I read it.
His philosophy is that runners can replace easy miles—lots of easy miles...
While I agree to a certain point, say, for the 10k and maybe even the half marathon...
I cannot grasp how it would apply to ultra running:
Yet, if overuse injury plagues you:
The book is small and short...
All in all, I appreciate the many experiences and perspectives of all runners, including the authors, and enjoyed this read.
Furthermore, I wholeheartedly agree with the book’s advocacy for strength training.
I think I’ll always love binge reading strength books for inspiration for my own workouts and application to my yoga teaching practice.
Tell us in the comments.