5 Books Every Runner Should Read

Running and reading are two of my biggest passions, and I find that they sync rather well together. What runner hasn’t waxed poetic about the beauty of trails as they thunder through the trees? (I hope that’s not just me) Running has proven to be extremely effective at getting creative juices flowing and improving memory, and is one of the best stress relievers out there.

On the other side of the equation, reading can provide a source of inspiration for your next big run. There are countless stories of inspirational runners overcoming the odds and triumphing over mind and matter. Here are 5 books that I think every runner should read:

The Perfect Mile

The true story of Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break the 4 minute mile… way back in 1954 running on cinder tracks in wooden shoes. Medical student by day, runner by night, Bannister’s story brings you back to a time when people ran for the love of it, no matter what challenges stood in their way.


What runner hasn’t heard of the iconic Steve Prefontaine? One of the top American middle distance runners in the 70s, Prefontaine hailed from working-class Coos Bay, Oregon, and ran at the University of Oregon. He was known for his fearless, front-running style and cocky attitude that he backed up with record-breaking performances.

Born to Run

It’s almost a cliche at this point but the amount of information in this book is truly astounding and it launched the barefoot running movement. Even yours truly was briefly converted. Masterfully written book, part adventure story, research paper, and history book, every athlete will find something in here that touches them.

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons I Run Long Distance

Based on the hilarious web comic, The Oatmeal, author Matt Inman’s perspective on ultra running will appeal to even the couch potatoes among us. I actually bought this for my sister’s birthday gift (she’s an inspiring ultra runner herself) and she agreed with it all!

The Complete Book of Running

Believe it or not, I read this book cover to cover in high school and learned alot about training that I incorporate in my runners’ workouts today. The fundamentals haven’t changed and those interested in learning about how running affects the body will find this a fascinating read.


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