Every runner’s motivation wanes sometimes. Luckily, taking a few days off and losing yourself in an excellent running book can reinvigorate your motivation to hit the road or trails like no other. If you’re mustering up the gumption to step up the distance and looking for a little additional motivation, check out any of the following books and be prepared for a new feeling — the desire to run all day long.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and The Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
by Christopher McDougall
This book probably needs no introduction, as it is the most recent running-related publication to hit megastar status, even inspiring non-runners to give the sport a try. Many people credit the book for starting a few recent nationwide trends in running, namely barefoot running, eating chia seeds as a long run energy source, and the growing popularity of ultrarunning. Christopher McDougall demonstrates exactly why he’s an award-winning journalist by entangling his personal experiences with historical and factual information on running, ultrarunning, human anatomy, and the Tarahuma tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyons into a book that reads like fiction. The individuals McDougall describes in his book are such unique and entertaining characters that their real life popularity soared after Born to Run was published. At worst, you will be highly entertained and learn a few things about the history of running. At best, you’ll find a new level of love and satisfaction with running, never thinking about running the same again.
Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend Steve Profontaine
by Tom Jordan
In all honesty, the spirit, confidence, and accomplishments of Steve Prefontaine are so impressionable, impressive, and inspirational all on their own, that it would take a remarkably poor writer to ruin his story. This man had none of the traditional physical qualities of a world-class runner (he was short, stalky, and uncoordinated), yet his spirit, drive, and motivation to excel at running eventually made him an American running legend. Although Pre’s story has a tragic ending, his actions and words are still inspiring new generations of runners.
Running With the Buffaloes; A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men’s Cross-Country Team
by Chris Lear
Being a part of a team often encourages people to push a little harder and go a little further than they might on their own. Running With the Buffaloes introduces the members of the University of Colorado’s cross-country team with such detail and characterization that readers feel as though they know them personally and are part of the team. Reading this book may just make you pull out your high school or college workout schedule (c’mon, we know you saved them) and risk pulling a hamstring to see if you’ve ‘still got it’. Good luck, and remember to stretch!
Once A Runner: A Novel
by John L. Parker Jr.
Capturing the intensity and mindset of a professional or world-class runner is a challenge for any writer, but Parker Jr. manages to portray it perfectly by drawing on his own experience as a collegiate runner. Once A Runner focuses on a fictional college student, Quenton Cassidy, with a seemingly impossible goal – running a four-minute mile. At the time Once A Runner was first published, an extremely short list of professional athletes had ever accomplished this feat. Even today, more than 50 years after the first sub-four-minute mile was clocked (accomplished in 1954 by Roger Bannister in a time of 3:59.4), breaking the four-minute mile barrier is a standard marking exceptional world-class middle distance runners. Reading about Cassidy’s workouts is bound to inspire a few extra loops around the track from readers.
Running Through the Wall: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon
by Neal Jamison
Although many books about ultramarathoning or specific ultramarathoners now exist, and all are inspiring in their own way, Running Through the Wall offers stories from 35 different ultrarunners – most of whom are not professionals. Stories of people of all ages, physical conditions, and experience levels, running races that are 50, 100, and sometimes more miles long leaves readers with no excuses as to why they couldn’t do it do too.
Happy reading and happy running!