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Never ending story – The best running books

I’ve  never been a big reader of books, but when I do read, it’s usually a biography,  more often than not about a sportsman or woman. Ever since I have been running, I have seen many people recommend various running books. So I thought I would go out and buy the book most people were talking to me about which was, at the time, “Born To Run”.

Ever since reading “Born to Run”, I have probably read more books, running books in particular, in the last year than I have in the last 10.


Now that I am runner, I have been drawn to reading running books for 3 simple reasons:

// I can relate to a lot of what’s written
// I use them as a source of inspiration
// I can learn from them

The following are 3 running books  I’ve read that have had a real impact on me.

Born to Run – Christopher McDougall

Born to Run was the very first running book I read, possibly even before I started running. Putting it simply, it is a very well written and readable book. It showed me that you don’t really need anything to run, just a bit of determination.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on running shoes and clothing and the latest GPS watch.

The author travelled to Mexico’s Copper Canyons to seek out the legendary and elusive Tarahumara tribe (ahem, a possible inspiration to Nike’s off road running shoe  the classic Terra Humara from the mid 90’s?).  He heard that this running tribe would happily run all day, virtually barefoot, across some of the worlds most barren landscape. It seemed that no distance was an issue for the Tarahumara regardless with what’s on their feet. So he set out on a mission to find out whether what he had heard was indeed true.

Born to Run is Available here


Tread Lightly -Peter Larson & Bill Katovsky

This is the book that will bring out the inner geek in you. I think that most runners are geeks, they just don’t admit it! This is my favourite book to date as it focuses mainly on footwear and running form. Probably the most technical running book which I have read, and does take some concentration to fully understand what is being discussed, but it’s very worth reading if you have struggled with injuries through running. Just ask fellow Pavement Bound contributor Mirka, who recommended the book to me after a conversation about footwear on Facebook. Mirka was plagued by injuries but since reading Tread Lightly she is now clocking up the miles, injury free.

Having sold running shoes for years, this book got me thinking about whether some running brands over engineer their shoes. I look at tech sheets and often wonder whether I’ve mistakenly picked up one for the next Ferrari super car. Simplicity could well be the key!

Tread Lightly is available here


Pre – Tom Jordan

Putting it very bluntly, Steve Prefontain was an arrogant, bullish runner on the track. He was also rarely beaten. This book focuses on Pre’s sheer desire to win at all costs. He lived his life by the following mantra:

“To give anything less than your best is a sacrifice to the gift”

Unfortunately, Steve Prefontaine isn’t a name that is as well known as it possibly should have been outside the US. Pre’s life was cut tragically short by a car crash which ended his life just  before his dream to complete for the USATF in the Olymipcs was about to become a reality. He was 24.

If you need to be inspired, if you need to understand  that nothing comes easy when it comes to sports (especially running) then read this book. It will give you the kick up the backside you need!

Pre is available here


Further, erm,  reading

Additionally, the below  list features some other running books that I have bought but not yet got round to reading. All of these have been recommended by fellow runners.

Click the book title to buy.

// What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
// Running with the Pack by Mark Rowlands
// Eat & Run by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman
// Why we Run by Robin Harvie
// Running by Thor Gotaas
// Running With the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

Lots of aspects to everyday life can be compared to running,obstacles will appear but with some determination these can be hurdled. Whether you’re reading the above books or out on the road, running can certainly open your eyes to how to overcome problems.

Agree with these choices? Got any other recommendations? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you guys think.