Running books: because let's face it, you can't run all the time.
So what better way to spend your down time than by reading about running?
Just to clarify from the start, we love Born To Run at Commen Athletics. But you've probably read that right? If not, you need to go out and find a copy right now.
But putting that to one side for now, we've put together a list of books on running which will be right up your strasse if you're done with BTR and looking for your next literary fix on running. Enjoy!
1. The Way Of the Runner: A Journey Into the Fabled World of Japanese Running – Adharanand Finn
Adharanand Finn’s second book is just as insightful, thoughtfully written and inspirational as his, arguably wider read, debut ‘Running With The Kenyans’. This time Finn and family journey to Japan, specifically Kyotanabe, to experience the lifestyle and culture that surrounds Ekiden, a long-distance relay race popular across the country.
Japan is arguably the most running obsessed country in the world, and you are bound to pick up a tip or two that will stick with you as Finn’s journey covers many areas of interest, with people just as interesting. Definitely a worthwhile read.
2. Running Up That Hill: The Highs and Lows of Going that Bit Further - Vassos Alexander
Another Sophmore effort, Alexander’s second book following the flawless ‘Don't Stop Me Now’ (which is also definitely worth a read – but it felt like a cop out putting two books by the same author).
R.U.T.H follows Alexander’s Spartathalon run, among other endurance races and runs, and pulls no punches in it’s description of the mental and physical torture that endurance running can bring. Somehow at the same time you can hear his pure love of the sport in the words he uses and the accessible yet articulate prose within the book.
If you’re a seasoned endurance runner, considering pushing your limits that bit further, or just want to read about a guy seemingly torturing himself and absolutely loving it then this book is 100% for you.
3. Finding North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail – Scott and Jenny Jurek
Okay yes, another second book. This is a completely coincidental theme here I promise. But seriously this book is special. 50% from the perspective of Scott while he runs the whole Appalachian Trail in one whack, 50% from the eyes of his wife, Jenny, as she crews the journey.
Jenny’s side of the story is what makes this book special. It’s not that she provides an external view of events (anyone who has crewed a friend for a race knows that you are far from external to what’s going on), more that it’s a different perspective from the inside that isn’t really documented too often.
Amazing stories, cameos, insights, and inspiration await in this book, this is one of our Gaffer’s favourite books he tells us.
4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
Murakami is a fantastic author, and also a pretty fantastic runner. Having run the Athens to Marathon route on his own, running a minimum of 10km a day, and taking part in countless triathlons on top of this. These things combine to make a must read for avid runners and readers alike. Even better if you're both.
This is much more of an introspective look at running than the other books on this list, and showcases Murakami’s relationship with the sport and how it has influenced and continues to interact with other facets of his life. It’s filled with hundreds of quotable lines which are sure to resonate with you, but yet seem so effortless in their delivery that it completely avoids the trap of feeling in any way forced or heavy-handed.
5. The Cool Impossible – Eric Orton
Yes, this guy is featured in Born to Run. This is a guns blazing, unadulterated, training book.
It’s of our opinion in the office that there is no single training book that can get you to where you want to be. It’s all about accrued knowledge from multiple sources to find your sweet spot.
That being said, this book has a massive amount of knowledge useful to runners of all levels and should definitely be on the shortlist if you are looking to up your game.
Eric Orton knows his stuff, he's a running coach extraordinaire with an accomplishment list longer than War and Peace.