Here are my 10 Running Book Recommendations for Xmas.
I’ve read the first 3 and the several are already loaded up on my Kindle or on my list to read next.
Do let me know which one’s you’ve read and enjoyed and any other recommendations.
1. The Lost Art of Running: Shane Benzie
Part narrative, part practical, this adventure takes you to the foothills of Ethiopia and the ‘town of runners’; to the training grounds of world record holding marathon runners in Kenya; racing across the Arctic Circle and the mountains of Europe, through the sweltering sands of the Sahara and the hostility of a winter traverse of the Pennine Way, to witness the incredible natural movement of runners in these environments. Along the way, you will learn how to incorporate natural movement techniques into your own running and hear from some of the top athletes that Shane has coached over the years.
2. North, Scott Jurek
In July 2015, ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek smashed the world record for running the Appalachian Trail, the sprawling mountain path that runs nearly the entire length of the United States. For nearly seven weeks straight, Jurek battled the elements to run, hike and stumble 50 miles every single day.
In his mid-forties, Matt at last has the freedom to do nothing but train, if only for the span of one summer. The time is now. He convinces the coach of Northern Arizona Elite, one of the country’s premier professional running teams, to let him train with a roster of national champions and Olympic hopefuls in the running mecca of Flagstaff, Arizona, leading in to the Chicago Marathon. The results completely redefined Matt’s notion of what is possible, not only for himself but for any runner.
When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to discover why running meant so much to so many, he began a journey which would take him out to tread London’s cobbled streets, climbing to sites that have seen a millennium of hangings, and down the crumbling alleyways of Ruskin’s Venice. Footnotes transports you to the cliff tops of Hardy’s Dorset, the deserted shorelines of Seattle, the giant redwood forests of California, and to the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centres, using debates in literature, philosophy and biology to explore that simple human desire to run.
Rob Deering has been listening – really listening – to music his whole life, but it was only in his mid-thirties, when he was already a successful Comedian, Husband, Father-of-two and recovering Fat Bloke that he found running. In this collection of vividly conjured and amusingly told memories, Rob looks at the moments and the places where his life changed and – as he became more and more obsessed with getting his trainers on and getting out there – the part that music played in the process. Imagine Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running spliced with Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs – but in Rob’s distinctive voice – and you’ll have an idea what Running Tracks is all about.
Why does it make sense to Ethiopian runners to get up at 3am to run up and down a hill? Who would choose to train on almost impossibly steep and rocky terrain, in hyena territory? And how come Ethiopian men hold six of the top ten fastest marathon times ever?
Michael Crawley spent fifteen months in Ethiopia training alongside (and sometimes a fair way behind) runners at all levels of the sport, from night watchmen hoping to change their lives to world class marathon runners, in order to answer these questions. Follow him into the forest as he attempts to keep up and get to the heart of their success.
Run to the Finish is not your typical running book. While it is filled with useful strategic training advice throughout, at its core, it is about embracing your place in the middle of the pack with humour and learning to love the run you’ve got without comparing yourself to other runners. Mixing practical advice like understanding the discomfort vs. pain, the mental side of running, and movements to treat the most common injuries with more playful elements such as “Favorite hilarious marathon signs” and “Weird Thoughts We all Have at the Start Line,” Brooks is the down-to-earth, inspiring guide for everyone who wants to be happier with their run.
In the dusty hills above San Diego, Bob Larsen became America’s greatest running coach. Starting with a ragtag group of high school cross country and track runners, Larsen set out on a decades-long quest to find the secret of running impossibly fast, for longer distances than anyone thought possible. Himself a former farm boy who fell into his track career by accident, Larsen worked through coaching high school, junior college, and college, coaxing talented runners away from more traditional sports as the running craze was in its infancy in the 60’s and 70’s. On the arid trails and windy roads of California, Larsen relentlessly sought the ‘secret sauce’ of speed and endurance that would catapult American running onto the national stage.
On the night before he was to turn forty, Rich Roll experienced a chilling glimpse of his future. Nearly fifty pounds overweight and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he could see where his current sedentary life was taking him—and he woke up.
Plunging into a new routine that prioritized a plant-based lifestyle and daily training, Rich morphed—in a matter of mere months—from out of shape, mid-life couch potato to endurance machine. Finding Ultra recounts Rich’s remarkable journey to the starting line of the elite Ultraman competition, which pits the world’s fittest humans in a 320-mile ordeal of swimming, biking, and running. And following that test, Rich conquered an even greater one: the EPIC5—five Ironman-distance triathlons, each on a different Hawaiian island, all completed in less than a week.
10. Today We Die a Little: The Rise and Fall of Emil Zátopek, Olympic Legend, Richard Askwith
Emil Zátopek won five Olympic medals, set 18 world records, and went undefeated over 10,000 metres for six years. He redefined the boundaries of endurance, training in Army boots, in snow, in sand, in darkness. But his toughness was matched by a spirit of friendship and a joie de vivre that transcended the darkest days of the Cold War. His triumphs put his country on the map, yet when Soviet tanks moved in to crush Czechoslovakia’s new freedoms in 1968, Zátopek paid a heavy personal price for his brave defence of ‘socialism with a human face’. Rehabilitated two decades later, he was a shadow of the man he had been – and the world had all but forgotten him.