14 Best Running Books from 2020 to 2023

I love to read books about running. Even though I don’t have much spare time these days, I typically keep a book by my bedside or have one downloaded onto my Kindle. Even if it takes me six months to finish a book, I still enjoy reading it! It is very beneficial to me to read about different running methods, injury prevention tips, running nutrition recommendations, and other topics. I’ll be outlining the 14 best running books to assist you in running your best today!

14. The Runner’s Kitchen: 100 Stamina-Building, Energy-Boosting Recipes, with Meal Plans to Maximize Your Training

best running books 2023

Emma Coburn, the steeplechase world champion, is most likely in the kitchen preparing extravagant dinners for her Team Boss teammates and stunning desserts for friends and family if she isn’t in the gym or on the track. She hopes to “open people’s eyes to the joy and health of having a diet with a variety of carbs, protein, fats, fruits and vegetables, and sugar” with The Runner’s Kitchen as one of the best running books, which includes 100 of her favorite recipes. Coburn also wants to dispel the fallacy that a rigorous diet is the way to go, which is particularly pervasive among young female runners.

13. 26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from My Marathon Career

best running books 2023

Meb Keflezighi has completed 681.72 miles of competitive marathon racing during the course of 26 marathons. Running from New York City to Raleigh, North Carolina, is analogous to doing that.

Keflezighi, like many sportsmen, is aware of the difficult balance between physicality and attitude after retiring in 2017 and becoming the first person to win the Boston, New York City, and Olympic marathon medals.

Keflezigh describes how the “ups, downs, hopes, and faith” — both in racing and in life — have helped him persevere and prevail in his self-reflective book, 26 Marathons, one of the best running books of 2023.

In the end, Keflezigh considers how one’s personal experiences and the lessons he’s gained from the marathon community might help one grow and cope with difficulty.

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12. Born to Run

best running books 2023
Runners First

The nonfiction book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall examines the world of ultrarunning and the Tarahumara people, a nomadic indigenous group in Mexico renowned for their extraordinary stamina and capacity to run hundreds of kilometers without stopping. The narrative of the book follows McDougall’s quest to uncover the Tarahumara people’s secrets and comprehend how they have preserved their running prowess for so many years.

The book is a fascinating and interesting read that tackles the science of running and the development of humans as runners in addition to delving deeply into the history and culture of the Tarahumara, culminating in one of the best running books I’ve read. To further the complexity and diversity of the book, McDougall also includes the stories of other ultrarunners and their challenges as well as their triumphs.

Overall, “Born to Run” is an intriguing book that motivates readers to challenge themselves and sheds light on the significance of running and man’s relationship with nature.

This book’s widespread influence over the world is not without cause. This is one of the best books about running, regardless of whether you agree with the philosophies behind barefoot running.

11. How She Did It: Stories, Advice, and Secrets to Success from Fifty Legendary Distance Runners

best running books 2023
Women’s Running

How She Did It was written by Sara Slattery, a former professional and current coach at Grand Canyon University, and Molly Huddle, a two-time Olympian and one of the most decorated distance runners in American history. The goal of the book, according to Huddle, is “to connect with young athletes and their coaches and parents to provide a guide for a healthy and productive approach to distance running” and is one of the best running books to read this year. It draws inspiration from their own story as well as those of 50 other accomplished female runners.

Also Read: How to Prepare for a Marathon: Best Practices for 26 Miles

10. Running with the Kenyans

best running books 2023

Adharanand Finn, a writer and enthusiastic runner, wrote the intriguing book “Running with the Kenyans” after deciding to relocate his family to Kenya in order to fully immerse himself in the running lifestyle and discover the techniques used by the world’s top athletes.

The book offers an intriguing look into the lives and training regimens of Kenyan athletes, who have dominated long-distance running for decades, setting world records and taking home multiple Olympic medals, culminating in one of the best running books of the year. Finn’s storytelling is interesting and entertaining, bringing to life the people and places he meets along the way.

The success of Kenyan runners is attributed to a variety of variables, including genetics, diet, lifestyle, and reverence for running which Finn delves into throughout the book. He works out with local athletes, speaks with coaches and researchers, and watches races to obtain important knowledge about how to become a top-notch runner.

He faces his own running misconceptions along the road and learns the transforming impact of immersing himself in a different culture. Both runners and non-runners will find “Running with the Kenyans” to be an inspirational and thought-provoking book that provides a window into a culture where running is more than simply a sport but a way of life.

9. Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery

best running books 2023
The Open Notebook

Science journalist Christie Aschwanden sets out to determine whether some of the most recent training techniques genuinely aid athletes in adapting to injuries and recovering from them in this New York Times bestseller on sports and fitness, Good to Go.

Good to Go investigates the efficacy of numerous treatments and is hailed as “the definitive tour through a bewildering jungle of claims composing a multibillion-dollar recovery industry.” These include cryotherapy, foam rolling, sports drinks, chocolate milk, and even the specific sleepwear and footwear worn by some well-known athletes, all detailed in one of the best running books ever. 

Maybe you have doubts regarding a treatment strategy. Perhaps I’m just curious to read one of the best running books of the past few years.

By reading through Aschwanden’s case studies, you can get the answers you’re seeking for if you’re curious about the veracity of the most recent trends in recovery and treatment.

8. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

best running books 2023

The well-known Japanese author Haruki Murakami has written a book titled “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running“, one of the best running books of the year. Murakami discusses running throughout the book and how it has influenced his writing process and way of life. Through his own experiences, he investigates the parallels between writing and running and how each activity necessitates focus, tenacity, and a feeling of purpose. This makes for really interesting reading for me as a creative person.

Murakami’s life is chronicled in the book, from his early days as a novelist to his present position as a renowned author and long-distance runner, creating one of the best running books this year. He considers the difficulties, the pleasures, and the lessons he has gained from his writing and running endeavors.

One may say that the book is a reflection on the relationships between the body, mind, and spirit as well as how pursuing your passions can result in a life that is more fulfilling and meaningful.

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7. Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race Against Time

best running books 2023
Rachel Dawson

Nobody better demonstrated the adage that age is just a number than Ida Keeling. Keeling frequently won as the only competitor in her age group until she was over 100 years old, albeit she is no longer with us. Her memoir details everything from her exciting running career, including the time she broke the 100-meter world record and celebrated with pushups, to her hardships as a single mother raising four children while working in factories during the Great Depression and losing two adult sons to unsolved drug-related murder cases. This is a fascinating story and one of the best running books of the year.

6. Eat and Run

best running books 2023

The autobiography “Eat and Run” was written by Scott Jurek, one of the greatest ultramarathon runners in history, writing one of the best running books of all time. A record-breaking athlete who has won multiple ultramarathons, including the famous Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, seven times in a row, Jurek’s path from his upbringing in rural Minnesota to becoming a successful author is chronicled in the book. However, “Eat and Run” also discusses Jurek’s love of food and his plant-based diet. It is not only a book about running.

As a strong proponent of the advantages of a vegan diet for athletic performance, Jurek discusses his transition to a plant-based diet as well as the difficulties he had keeping it up while working out and competing. In the book, Jurek offers some of his own vegan recipes and stresses the value of consuming complete, wholesome foods to fuel the body for optimum performance.

The book offers insight into the world of ultramarathon running, with its grueling trials and intense mental and physical demands, in addition to Jurek’s personal journey and philosophy. Anyone interested in running, veganism, or achieving excellence will find “Eat and Run” to be an enlightening and inspirational book.

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5. The Comeback Quotient: A Get-Real Guide to Building Mental Fitness in Sport and Life

best running books 2023
Yorkshire Magazine

In this “guide to building mental fitness in sport and life,” columnist Matt Fitzgerald blends real-world examples of chosen athletes with scientific studies to create a three-step strategy that any athlete, anywhere may adopt to overcome hardship.

Fitzgerald makes the argument that the idea of a comeback is open to all athletes throughout the broad spectrum of sports by contrasting “ultrarealists” — those who can accept and address the reality of their position no matter how overwhelming — with everyone who cannot attain the same success. 

Since you cannot accept a reality that you do not even see, it is essential to be as objective and open-minded as you can be as you watch, culminating in one of the best running books this year.

Fitzgerald equips athletes with the tools necessary to reclaim their optimism and be ready for any challenges that could prevent them from making a genuine comeback with The Comeback Quotient, one of the best running books ever. 

He emphasizes that you should respond to any difficult circumstance by acknowledging reality, regardless of the nature of the difficulty. Really, the formula is that simple.

4. Ultramarathon Man

best running books 2023

Dean Karnazes, an American ultramarathon runner, wrote a memoir titled Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. The remarkable story of Karnazes’ transformation from a sedentary person to a well-known endurance athlete who can run long distances is told in the book. The book offers a thorough understanding of the attitude and training necessary to succeed as an ultramarathon runner and is full of amusing anecdotes from Karnaze’s personal and professional life in one of the best running books this year.

In the course of the book, Karnazes discusses his experiences competing in some of the toughest races imaginable, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains’ 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and California’s 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon.

Karnazes also discusses the reasons he enjoys testing the limits of human endurance, his desire to discover the frontiers of his physical and mental strength, and his love of the outdoors as reasons for participating in these races. In conclusion, “Ultramarathon Man” is an inspirational book that will inspire readers to challenge themselves and go after their dreams, regardless of how unattainable they may seem. One of the best running books in 2023 is this classic.

3. What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen

best running books 2023

Everyone who knew Maddy Holleran thought she had everything. The accomplished runner, who was just starting her freshman year at The University of Pennsylvania, the Ivy League dream school, then took a fatal leap from the top of a parking garage. That horrific act revealed a false front of tenacity and a well-cultivated online persona. Maddy’s tale is used by journalist Kate Fagan to highlight the problem of young people fighting mental illness in isolation while feeling under pressure to create a “perfect” life, one of the best running books of our time.

2. The Long Run

best running books 2023
Runners Connect

The memoir “The Long Run” is written by New York firefighter Matt Long, who suffered significant injuries when his bicycle was struck by a bus as he rode to work. The book details his difficult and drawn-out healing process as well as his life before the catastrophe, becoming one of the best running books ever. Long was an outstanding athlete who finished numerous triathlons and marathons; his commitment to fitness helped him recover.

Long’s story is a monument to the strength of tenacity and grit. He persevered in his recuperation despite setbacks and challenges and eventually went back to jogging and participating in endurance competitions. “The Long Run” is a motivational novel that offers readers insight into a character who overcame unfathomable adversity and emerged stronger, one of the best running books this year.

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1. Run or Die: Best Running Books 2023

best running books 2023
Kinetic Revolution

Kilian Jornet, a renowned mountain athlete and ultrarunner, wrote a memoir titled “Run or Die.” Jornet recounts his life story and experiences as an athlete in the book, from his early years growing up in the Pyrenees to his numerous victories in some of the most difficult trail races. The reader may experience the physical and emotional highs and lows of Jornet’s sporting endeavors because of his real and honest writing style, one of the best running books of all time.

The book is filled with Jornet’s enthusiasm for the mountains and endurance activities. He talks about the happiness and freedom he experiences while running in the mountains as well as the tremendous physical and mental hurdles he encounters while competing. Runners and athletes alike can learn important lessons from Jornet’s approach to training and diet.

Reading “Run or Die” will inspire readers to test their limitations and pursue their ambitions with one of the best running books ever.