5 Running Books that Will Change Your Life

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Happy Global Running Day!  This is kind of like our Christmas isn’t it??  To celebrate I’m headed out for a run so I’ve lined up Louie Luc to share this great guest post about 5 running books that will change your life.  I have to be truthful, of the 5 books I’ve only read Born to Run thus far, but now thanks to these suggestions I have 4 more books loaded onto my kindle for when I’m recovering from running 🙂 

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A collage of the front covers of the 5 running books in this post.

5 Running Books that Will Change Your Life

We all love running. It’s our passion; it set us free.

Each step we take, a new thought emerges. Runs are the stage for the deepest conversations between us and our inner selves. Some of them are worth sharing; a few truly deserve to be perpetuated in the written form.

As much as we would love it, we don’t have time to consume all running books the world has ever produced. That’s why I’ve come up with five of the best running books and I invite you to learn more about them.

Related: 6 Common Running Overuse Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)

I have personally reviewed and discussed these books with fellow runners and bloggers to make sure you would only get the best of the best.

From a more philosophical approach to a more biological one and going through several other kinds of perspectives, this list combines excellent works from the minds of both writers and runners.

Trust me: these books may very well change your life.

Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen


It all started with one simple question: “Why does my foot hurt?” Award-winning journalist Christopher McDougall set out to discover the secrets of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons: a hidden tribe of barefoot superathletes than can run for miles without injuries or rest.

In a Hollywood blockbuster-style, McDougall’s book includes intrigue, death and strong characters while introducing an interesting thesis: we were born to run. Our ancestors could run for miles to eat and avoid being eaten and they could do it without injuring themselves. That brings the author to a pertinent demand: “Why do today’s most advanced running shoes cause more injuries than before?” While solving these mysteries, McDougall argues that the essence of running should be sheer joy instead of grim determination. An absolute must-read that will change the way you run… literally.

Eat & Run


Written by legendary ultrarunner and dedicated vegan Scott Jurek, Eat & Run is a shockingly honest and inspiring memoir about Jurek’s finest achievements in his running career and life.

The seven-time winner of the Western States and winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon reveals how he slowly transitioned from a hunting and meat-and-potatoes lifestyle to ultrarunning and veganism. Eat & Run combines both the author running stories and well as his advices and vegan recipes. You’ll learn that ultrarunning is much more than just pushing your body to its limits, it’s chasing after a state of mind where all your troubles seem to fade away. This book will motivate runners and readers to rethink their lifestyles and food habits.

Running & Being: The Total Experience


When Running & Being: The Total Experience was written by Dr. George Sheehan back in 1978, it rapidly became the philosophical bible for runners everywhere around the world. The book reveals how distance runners are reconciling their divided selves by refinding themselves and reconnecting body and mind.

Sheehan’s book tells how his mid-life return to the world of exercise and competition allowed him to discover “a world beyond sweat”, the definite source of inspiration and personal development. More than solely addressing the topic of running with training and injury prevention advices, Running & Being focuses on how a fit and joyful body helps determine our mental health and spiritual energies.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir


Renowned for his surrealistic fiction books, Haruki Marukami decided to take a break from his own writing style to talk about his training for the New York City Marathon. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a long-distance running book where the Japanese novelist offers a look inside his head, at running and writing and how the two intersect. While sharing the author’s transformation from an obsessive smoker to a marathon runner, the book addresses the question: “How do marathon runners do it?”

Including the moment when Marukami decided to become a writer this funny, philosophical and revelatory book is a great read for both fans of the author and for people that also find pleasure in running.

Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life


In 1981, biologist and award-winning nature writer Bernd Heinrich decided to run the North American 100-Kilometer Championship race in Chicago. For his running preparations, the lifelong runner wondered what we could learn from athletes in the animal kingdom and apply to ourselves.

He looked at the antelope’s running prowess, the ultra endurance of the camel, the sprinting and jumping skills of the frogs and the flight endurance of birds and insects. He then explored how we, humans, could replicate these amazing “superhuman” abilities to our behalf. With all these lessons learned, Heinrich ran and, surprisingly, won the race breaking its record by 13 minutes.

In his book, the author blends scientific inquiry and philosophical musing to explore the human need to run. Racing the Antelope reveals what we can learn about the body and spirit of animal athletes. It shows us how Bernd Heinrich put his new-found primal, spiritual and physical knowledge to use on his grueling 100-Kilometer ultramarathon. A nice mixture of philosophy, psychology, biology and anthropology with the author’s love for running that will shed some light on how and why we run.

Wrapping Up

In this post, I’ve showed you some of the top literature pieces on running; unique perspectives from top runners and writers that shared their passion for the sport.

From my descriptions of the books, I hope I’ve convinced you to pick up a copy and delight yourself with these truly amazing running stories.

Take my advice and read them, your running and life is about to change.

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5 running books that will change your life - adding all of these to my kindle!

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  1. Confessions of a Mother Runner says:

    Thanks for reminding me I wanted to read “eat and run”. Happy running day

    1. Louie Luc says:

      Thank you for comment! It sure is a great book! :))