In this third installment of posts from my MFP blog, I list and discuss some books about running that I absolutely love, and recommend to anyone interested in the sport.
Recently a friend asked me for some books about running, as his brother was just getting started on the process. I came up with a quick list of books I've read since last year, ranging from inspirational to technical.
1. Runner's World Complete Book of Running, Amby Burfoot (Editor)
This one I rate as a must have, even though it doesn't cover everything. It has a great 10 week beginner program that I wish I had started with. I also still comb through it from time to time for info like pre-race nutrition, injury treatment, etc. Burfoot's little paragraphs at the end add a nice friendly charm to the book. There are several other titles out published by Runner's world, and I've looked at them, I don't think they offer much more than this book has which makes this a good 'one stop' place for basic running info.
2. Born to Run, Christopher McDougall
Obviously, I am a big fan of this book. I have a quote from it emblazoned on my profile page. I've read it four times. McDougall's incredible story telling ability is what gives it such incredible appeal, and if you haven't read it, you really need to read it.
3. Why We Run, Bernd Heinrich
I picked this up sort of as a whim after reading Born to Run (which mentions the author). It is part biology/anthropology textbook and part stories from the author's life. I found parts of it really dry, but others very enjoyable. Definitely worth picking up if you're interested in the "running man" theory of evolution.
4. Eat and Run, Scott Jurek
Jurek's book has stories from major runs in his career, and he pairs them all with vegan recipes at the end of each chapter. It's $8 and change on the kindle store, which I think makes it a steal. I use the recipes in the book (especially the hummus filled tortillas with kalamata olives, and the vegan buttery popcorn) multiple times a week. At 273 pages it's not a long read, but it's very worthwhile as the recipes alone keep you coming back to it.
5. My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon, Bart Yasso
This book has a great sense of humor paired with impressive story telling. It's not much on the technical side of things, but I think it's certainly a worthwhile inspirational book.
6. Barefoot running: Step by Step, Roy Wallack and "Barefoot" Ken Bob Saxton
So, I'm interested in barefoot running. I've run much of the last year in Vibram FiveFingers minimal shoes, and I've noticed much less tension in my knees and hips because of it. I recover faster from races, too. This book has some fun stories (including one about making sandals out of a race marker) but it is for the most part a very dry technical book. I still consider it worth reading if you are transitioning to minimal or barefoot running, because the form exercises are really good, but it was a bit of a slog to read.
7. Running & Being: The Total Experience, George Sheehan
Definitely a philosophical kind of book on running, Sheehan talks a lot about the personality traits of the long distance runner. At times, I thought it was a bit too influenced by religion (which makes it hard for me to connect with, not being religious) but it was a good book.
8. Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine, Tom Jordan
A good biography of American running legend Steve Prefontaine. I absolutely loved the stories about his workout schedule, and man did that ever push me to kick it into another gear. Worth checking out, it's another Kindle title under $10.
I'm still working through Haruki Murakami's "What I talk about when I talk about running" and Budd Coates' "Running on Air". Obviously there are many more that I've read that I didn't really feel warranted a mention.
Do you have any favorite running books technical, inspirational or otherwise? Comment below!