The 5 Best Books On Running For 2020: Must-haves On Every Runner’s Shelf

You may have a million reasons right now to try jogging or running on a regular basis. And if you’re already on a routine, there’s always the need to raise your limits, to get better and fitter. What you probably should know is, the process of improvement doesn’t only require running. Finding the best books on running might actually make a difference.

It’s not easy to identify your goals, adjust your habits or find immediate motivation in life without the help of others. Here, we offer the help of five talented and experienced authors to support your running journey to the fullest. Keep reading for reviews of the best books about running!

Quick Comparison On 5 Best Books On Running

My Rating

My Rating

My Rating

My Rating

My Rating

Author

Scott Jurek

Author

Christopher McDougall

Author

Chris Lear

Author

Alexandra Heminsley

Author

Haruki Murakami

Best For Ultrarunning

Best inspirational book

Best for sports fans

Best fun and chill read

Best new approach to running books

Deeper Considerations on Best Books On Running


The author Scott Jurek is probably one of the world’s most renowned and beloved ultrarunners to date. After decades of racing, he decided to seek more challenge and embarked on an impossible journey that is over two thousand miles long with a view to breaking the record for the Appalachian Trail.

His breathtaking and touching memoir, coupled with his whimsical and lyrical writing style, offers his ideas and insights into the beauty of running, the incredible hardships of the fightagainst nature, equipped with nothing but his own strength, body limits, and of course, sheer determination.

Runners, and non-runners alike, will find themselves astonished, and subsequently completely inspired by this realistic portrait of a man stripped of everything but his strong will. This example of pure perseverance, courage and immense endurance would motivate readers to strive for personal transformation and development.

​Things we liked:

  • Lyrical and poetic prose
  • Intimate and motivational
  • Personal experience shared wholeheartedly


You will probably find this book on every best running book of all time list out there!

The absolute beauty that simply starts with the question “Why does my foot hurt?” has later sent a surge of people out on the streets running with minimal running shoes, or none at all, into a completely new running world.

Aspiring to figure out the source of his continuous foot injuries, McDougall, prior to 2009, seeks the wisdom from the most bizarre of places, and from the most unpredictable of people. Readers get the outlooks of tribal leaders, former runners, and many more in the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyons on the significance of the sport in our lives.

Digging deep into the core values and essentials of the activity itself, this universally acclaimed book will heighten your existing love, or spark a newfound liking, for running in the most unexpected ways different from a weight goal. You’ll definitely find yourself unable to put it down, and desiring to know more about our bodies, and our physical abilities once you’ve finished.

Things we liked:

  • Peculiar and fascinating recounts
  • Beautiful portrayal of the love for running
  • Incredibly motivational


This time, you won’t simply get the incredible experience of only one man, but six, more specifically, six empowering and determined young college students. Based on the 1998 University of Colorado’s cross-country running team, this book guides you through their tough journey to National Championship.

Chris Lear set out to craft a page-turner of a novel about the 1998 season full of triumph and tragedy in their best forms. Featuring some of the most memorable display of determination coupled with severe injuries and tremendous loss, the series of journal entries in the book record the runners’ intensive training, with the company of coach Mark Wetmore and star runner Adam Goucher.

Don’t make the mistake thinking that it’s primarily aimed at serious and professional runners competing for major tournaments. This book is the gorgeous celebration of the sport and the endless spirit of those daring to go against all odds and chase your goals, no matter what they are. Plus, I’m quite certain that you will fall instantly in love with cross-country running after this magnificent recount of resilience.

Things we liked:

  • Superb collegiate sport material
  • Captivating and rich in plot
  • Engaging writing style


If you don’t want some hardcore or too academic and stiff material and simply look for a fun and relaxing read to boost your energy and spirit, check this one out. Alexandra Heminsley offers a hilarious and totally relatable retelling of her running journey in order to, like all of us, weight loss and health improvement.

When the author first got into running, she, just like the rest of us, had to battle with a bunch of elements needed to reach her goals. The book revolves around Heminsley’s series of complete failures and victories in small departments such as diet distribution, inspirational music and the perfect shoes size before finally finishing 5 marathons.

Her lovely, funny and warm language and style would leave you laughing for the entirety of the read and finding bits of yourself in her bizarre but beautiful story. Through this approach, your inspiration will come way more naturally and spontaneously, which is, after all, what hobbies are all about.

  • Funny and quirky storytelling
  • Light and relatable read
  • Offers small tips all over the book


Who knew that this legendary modern contemporary author wrote about his own breathtaking experience in the subject in this delightful memoir? This talented author, runner, and philosopher managed to translate his eccentric and captivating prose for fiction into this quirky yet thought-provoking story that got on a lot of runners’ favourite list.

The solitary yet profound passion of one of this generation’s finest writers has fueled his marathon journey, during whose training he kept a detailed journal of his progress and improvement. Of course, not only track and physical checks are recorded, but his twin obsessions, running and writing, were put fully on display in the memoir.

By breaking free from the walled barriers of what’s running’s supposed to be about, Murakami offers a rich and revelatory work that transpires the human’s need for motion, and through its means, life meanings. You’ll embark on a path further into yourself, and see that through running, you can elevate your creativity and human connection.

Things we liked:

  • Whimsical and beautiful writing styles
  • Includes interesting and thought-provoking philosophies
  • Can be quite funny at times

Best Books On Running - Detail Comparison table

Name

Image

My Rating

Author

Scott Jurek

Christopher McDougall

Chris Lear

Alexandra Heminsley

Haruki Murakami

Type

Best For Ultrarunning

Best inspirational book

Best for sports fans

Best fun and chill read

Best new approach to running books

Motivational

4.6

4.8

4.5

4.4

4.3

Practicality

Fairly practical

Quite practical

Practical for athletes

Extremely practical

Less than others

Major topics

Survival

Self-discovery

Athlete’s championship

Relatable life hacks

Running philosophies

Available

Factors To Consider When Finding The Best Running Book

A lot of us wouldn’t necessarily spend a lot of money on reading about running and the like. Most of us aren’t even sure they would be of a lot of help before picking anything up. A lot of recommendations out there are filled with guarantees of the best reading experience, but that only wind up confusing us even more.
In order to make sure your money is well spent, there are a few aspects for you to thoroughly consider. 

best books on running

Main theme

Not all books are suitable for all types of runners. Normally, specific books will target different buyers, namely sprinters, joggers, marathoners or even non-runners. Read reviews ahead to make sure that your book satisfies your search for scientific study behind the sport, or the right dieting and nutrition tips.

Your purpose should be clear from the start. It’s whether you just want a quick fun read, or an informative one, or something emotional and motivating, and then pick a book based on that wish.

Writing Style

This is mainly associated with the genre of the book. The author typically writes the book in a sense suitable and approachable to the main discussions included in the text. You would find some memoirs particularly cheerful and relatable to your common struggles, or others more personal and intricate.

The same goes with informative guides with pure data and studies presented in short, summarized and stiff writing, as well as flexible and commentating works made by former athletes. Figuring this out helps a lot with choosing the right.

best running books for beginners

Length

This may sound redundant, but trust me, it isn’t. Many have quit a book solely because of its sheer volume and prolonged storytelling. Make sure that the book you choose is what you’re comfortable with and not too out there to simply try taking up reading.

If you’re also looking for something inspirational, check this out:

The Bottom Line About The Best Ultra Running Books

All five of the above, each with a very unique and distinct sense, are all worth a shot if you want to get into reading while simultaneously reaching your running goals. However, if you just want to first test the waters, I’d recommend you go with Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s definitely on the list of the best running books of all time.

What about you? What do you think is the best book on running?

  • so, have you chosen the best books on running for you yet? Do you suggest any others? Share with us!
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