When it comes to running, there are countless books available to fill your bookshelves. Books about training, books on setting personal records, books about nutrition…you name it. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about running, you can find in a book. Personally, this is the type of information I like to scour the endless depths of the internet for. When I settle down with a book, I’m looking for something entertaining, something inspiring, and something motivating. While there are also countless options in that department, I wanted to share five of my favorites:
Okay, I’m starting this list off with a comic book. Why? Because we all deserve to laugh, and laugh frequently. Author Matthew Inman of the popular comic strip “The Oatmeal” has hit the nail on the head with this book. Inman starts the book off describing “The Blerch”, the voice inside of his head (brought to life as a chubby cherub-type character) that constantly tells him to quit running and sit on the couch eating junk food instead. He continues the book with hilarious stories, grievances, and anecdotes that every runner can relate to, such as over-accessorizing for marathons. Note: This book is not for those easily offended by salty language.
Think a marathon is far? Or a 100-mile race? How about running 3,063 miles, the width of the United States of America, in only 52 days? Sounds almost impossible, but at the age of 57, Marshall Ulrich did just that. In his memoir, “Running on Empty,” Ulrich describes not only the preparation but the daily struggle it took to accomplish such a feat. From blisters to love to trash-talking events that occurred with a friend/rival…Ulrich describes it all. This adventurous read will make your next three-mile jaunt around the neighborhood feel effortless.
You may know this as the book that created an almost cult-like following of newly converted barefoot runners. In “Born to Run,” author Christopher McDougall tells the true story of the time he spent following the Tarahumara Indian tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyons. McDougall tries to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara and their unrivaled running capabilities. How are they able to run hundreds of miles with very little, yet runners elsewhere with loads of science and technology literally at their feet cannot? McDougall’s storytelling will suck you in, and the tales of the Tarahumara’s incredible endurance will make you want to run out the door and not stop, for you too will feel as though you were born to run.
Okay, okay…this one crosses over into triathlon territory, but it is well worth the read. Accomplished ultra endurance athlete Rich Roll tells the story of how he went from being overweight and extremely unhealthy to being one of the world’s fittest men. Roll traded a life of drugs, alcohol, and addiction for a life of veganism and athleticism. The story Roll tells of his transformation is incredibly inspiring and informative, and the book even includes recipes and suggestions on how you can fuel yourself on plants alone.
While you don’t have to be a woman to read it, this one is for the ladies. Kristin Armstrong’s “Mile Markers” discusses the most important reasons women run. From friendship to motherhood to simply a relationship with one’s self, Armstrong describes it all in a way that will have other mother runners nodding their heads in agreement. This book makes for an incredibly inspiring read. So, next time you find yourself looking for a little extra motivation, why not pick up a book?