Great running books

IMG_1240If this morning’s marathon spectating gave you a few lumps in your throat, saw you shed a few tears and has meant you have already circled Monday May 2nd in your diary to remember to put in your entry in for the London Marathon, then here are a few great running books to keep up that inspiration. 

Lizzie Hawkins – Runner: This book is so beautifully written it feels almost poetic. In a rarity for these type of books Lizzie genuinely makes you feel like you are alongside her on the trails she is running on. It very much takes you on her journey, from discovering a talent for running long distances to her travels both physically round the world and mentally in her self-reflection. The journey (and the book) almost feel unfinished – but it is too good a story to wait until retirement.

Christopher McDougall – Born to Run: This book explores the Tarahumara, a Mexican Indian tribe who have the amazing reputation of the world’s best ultra-distance runners. McDougall tells their history, the history of ultra-running and cleverly intertwines this with the story of how he took a group of ultra-runners to race them on a 50 mile course while passing on some of their secrets at the same time.

John Bryant – The London Marathon: This book came out a few years ago to celebrate the first 25 years of the race. Written by one of the runners from the very first marathon in 1981, it covers the full history of the marathon – from 1896 to the modern runners we’ve become fixated by every April in London.

Adharanand Finn – Running with the Kenyans: This book takes you inside Kenya and straight up the Iten hills to learn about the training and lifestyle of those athletes living in the running capital of the world. As the author tries to train with the athletes and builds amazing friendships with them he opens up discussions around just what is it that helps those in Iten become such prolific runners.

Richard Asquith – Feet in the Clouds: If road pounding is not your thing and you prefer trails and hills and mountains, Richard Asquith’s book opens up the world of fell running. We learn not just about the races, the terrains and the weather but the whole community, history and culture of the sport. By the end of the book Asquith is attempting to do the Bob Graham round, a legendary 24 hour circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake District.

Pete Pfitzinger – Road Racing for Serious Runners: This is the book for those who have run a number of marathons and are already running fast, who want to get really fast. If aiming for a London championship time then this book is for you. His sessions are tough and his plans are hardcore but his logic makes sense and there is a sturdy mix of long, tempo, Vo2 Max, speed and recovery runs. The book is technical but includes mental advice and racing tactics which will be valued by athletes of this racing calibre.

Next on my list to read is Ed Ceasar’s, Two Hours: The Quest to run the impossible Marathon. Which running books would you recommend?

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