BTC SURVEY: Best Running Books
Get ready to head to your local bookstore (or your preferred online merchant). The results have been tallied from the BTC Survey about your favorite books related to running. We asked for your input regarding the best books in three different categories: (1) Non-Fiction books about the technical side of running; (2) Non-Fiction books about the experience of running; and (3) Fiction books related to running. The top 3 books in each category (including ties) are described below with a few honorable mentions thrown in for good measure.
Best Non-Fiction Running Books (Technical)
BTC runners obviously like to think about the science behind training and racing. There were many submissions in this category from many outstanding authors. From training methods to nutrition to race strategy, these books are great resources for the serious and recreational runner alike.
- Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels, PhD
- Lore of Running by Tim Noakes, MD
- Get in the best shape of your running career with the help of Daniels’ Running Formula, the book that Runner’s World magazine calls the best training book. Premier running coach Jack Daniels provides you with his legendary VDOT formula to guide you through training at exactly the right intensity to run stronger, longer, and faster.
- Lore of Running gives you incomparable detail on physiology, training, racing, injuries, world-class athletes, and races. Author Tim Noakes blends the expertise of a physician and research scientist with the passion of a dedicated runner to answer the most pressing questions for those who are serious about the sport.
3. 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower by Matt Fitzgerald
3. Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald
3. The Complete Book of Running by James E. Fixx
- This revolutionary training method has been embraced by elite runners—with extraordinary results—and now you can do it, too. Respected running and fitness expert Matt Fitzgerald explains how the 80/20 running program—in which you do 80 percent of runs at a lower intensity and just 20 percent at a higher intensity—is the best change runners of all abilities can make to improve their performance. With a thorough examination of the science and research behind this training method, 80/20 Running is a hands-on guide for runners of all levels with training programs for 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon distances.
- Racing Weight is a proven weight-management program designed specifically for endurance athletes. Revealing new research and drawing from the best practices of elite athletes, coach and nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald lays out six easy steps to help cyclists, triathletes, and runners lose weight without harming their training.
- The Complete Book of Running discusses not only the physical benefits of running, but its psychological benefits as well: increasing self-esteem, acquiring a "high" from running, and being able to cope better with pressure and tension.
- Aerobics by Kenneth Cooper
- Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
- How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald
- Jogging by Bill Bowerman
- Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide by Hal Higdon
- Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner by Meb Keflezighi and Scott Douglas
- Run to the Top by Arthur Lydiard
- Running Anatomy by Joseph Puleo and Dr. Patrick Milroy
- The Competitive Runner's Handbook by Bob Glover and Shelly-lynn Florence Glover
Best Non-Fiction Running Books (Experience)
BTC runners also enjoy reading about the experience of running. From investigations into the origins of human running to stories about great runners to metaphysical contemplations of the dynamic between the physical and spiritual sides of running, these books are sure to entertain and enlighten.
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
- Born to Run: An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
- 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
- In Running with the Buffaloes, writer Chris Lear follows the University of Colorado cross-country team through an unforgettable NCAA season. Allowed unparalleled access to team practices, private moments, and the mind of Mark Wetmore--one of the country's most renowned and controversial coaches--Lear provides a riveting look inside the triumphs and heartaches of a perennial national contender and the men who will stop at nothing to achieve excellence.
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
- An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami. While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami's decided to write about it as well. The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.
- A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins
- Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon's Legendary Coach and Nike's Cofounder by Kenny Moore
- Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon by John Brant
- Running With the Legends: Training and Racing Insights from 21 Great Runners by Michael Sandrock
- The Essential Sheehan: A Lifetime of Running Wisdom from the Legendary Dr. George Sheehan by George Sheehan
- The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal and Matthew Inman
- To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person by Martin Dugard
- Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon by Ed Caesar
Best Fiction Running Books
BTC runners overwhelmingly prefer to read non-fiction when it comes to running, but a few fiction entries were also submitted. Enjoy these books this summer on the beach, on a boat, or lounging in bed.
- Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.
- Inspired by the author’s experience as a collegiate champion, the story focuses on Quenton Cassidy, a competitive runner at fictional Southeastern University whose lifelong dream is to run a four-minute mile. He is less than a second away when the turmoil of the Vietnam War era intrudes into the staid recesses of his school’s athletic department. After he becomes involved in an athletes’ protest, Cassidy is suspended from his track team. Under the tutelage of his friend and mentor, Bruce Denton, a graduate student and former Olympic gold medalist, Cassidy gives up his scholarship, his girlfriend, and possibly his future to withdraw to a monastic retreat in the countryside and begin training for the race of his life against the greatest miler in history.
A rare insider’s account of the incredibly intense lives of elite distance runners, Once a Runner is an inspiring, funny, and spot-on tale of one man’s quest to become a champion.
- The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner: Stories by Alan Sillitoe
- The titular story follows the internal decisions and external oppressions of a seventeen-year-old inmate in a juvenile detention center who is known only by his surname, Smith. The wardens have given the boy a light workload because he shows talent as a runner. But if he wins the national long-distance running competition as everyone is counting on him to do, Smith will only vindicate the very system and society that has locked him up. “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner” has long been considered a masterpiece on both the page and the silver screen.
- The Running Man by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
- Ben Richards is a desperate man. With no job, no money, no way out, and a young daughter in need of proper medical attention, he must turn to the only possibility of striking it rich in this near-future dystopian America: participating in the ultra-violent TV programming of the government-sanctioned Games Network. Ben soon finds himself selected as a contestant on the biggest and the best that the Games Network has to offer: The Running Man, a no-holds-barred thirty-day struggle to stay alive as public enemy number one, relentlessly hunted by an elite strike force bent on killing him as quickly as possible in front of an audience all too eager to see that happen. No one has ever survived longer than eight days. But desperation can push a person do things they never thought possible—and Ben Richards is willing to go the distance in this ultimate game of life and death....