There are many great Running and Lifestyle Books. But how do we choose? A runners’ book should make you feel inspired to run and incorporate runners’ lifestyle habits. Depending on what you are looking for, the content may be about a particular training method, running programs, mental motivation, breathing techniques, nutrition plans, or how to set goals and make progress. But the book could also describe the author’s own running experiences. Whether it’s a guide, a practical manual, or a biography, every runners’ book should leave you with a desire to either start or keep at the sport.
We’ve listed a few of our favorites books about training, breathing, meditation, running mindfully, and runners’ nutrition:
1. SLOW AF RUN CLUB – Martinus Evans
A practical guide and a celebration of running for runners of all sizes and athletic abilities, from the founder of the Slow AF Run Club. Ten years ago, Martinus Evans got some stern advice from his doctor: “Lose weight or die.” First defensive, but then defiant, Evans vowed that day to run a marathon. Since then, Evans has run eight marathons and hundreds of other distances.
This book is a blueprint for those who may not fit the image of a “traditional” runner—that is, someone who is larger in size, less athletic, out of shape, or dealing with any kind of health issue that slows them down—to feel empowered to discover the incredible benefits of running: better sleep, strong muscles and bones, better cardiovascular and mental health, and a sense of community. It will make getting started less intimidating. It covers everything from gear and nutrition to training schedules, recovery tips, races, and finding a running group. Full of essential advice and humor from a former newbie who fell off a treadmill on his first run (literally), The Slow AF Run Club is for anyone who wants to pick up running for the sheer joy of it.
2. EASY RUNNING PLANS… – Jeff Gaudette
An easy, total-body training guide. Whether you’re a weekend runner looking to get in better shape or a road warrior aiming to tackle your first marathon, Easy Running Plans has something for you. Throughout the book, you’ll also learn the most effective stretching routines, strength workouts, and technique drills for runners―culminating in seven, easy-to-follow running plans. Whatever your goal may be, these plans will help you get there. And with the total-body approach, you’ll not only get the most out of your runs but acquire the skills necessary to keep injuries at bay. Easy Running Plans contains the following:
- Lace-up: Choose the training schedule that best suits your needs, whether you’re looking to make steady gains or have your sights set on a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon.
- Study up: Learn the fundamentals of proper running form, stride, injury prevention, and recovery.
- Speed up: Improve your speed, strength, and endurance with detailed illustrations depicting over 40 stretches, exercises, and drills―all of which can be performed at home, with little-to-no equipment.
3. 80/20 RUNNING – Matt Fitzgerald
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—can help runners of all abilities 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. In 80/20 Running, you’ll discover how to transform your workouts to avoid burnout.
• Runs will become more pleasant and less draining
• You’ll carry less fatigue from one run to the next
• Your performance will improve in the few high-intensity runs
• Your fitness levels will reach new heights
4. RUN FAST. EAT SLOW. – Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky
From world-class marathoner and 4-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky comes a whole food, flavor-forward cookbook, that proves food can be indulgent and nourishing at the same time. This cookbook for runners shows fat is essential for flavor and performance and that counting calories, obsessing over protein, and restrictive dieting do more harm than good.
Packed with more than 100 recipes for every part of your day, mind-blowing nutritional wisdom, and inspiring stories, Run Fast. Eat Slow has all the bases covered. You’ll find no shortage of delicious meals, satisfying snacks, thirst-quenching drinks, and wholesome treats—all made without refined sugar and flour. Fan favorites include Can’t Beet Me Smoothie, Arugula Cashew Pesto, High-Altitude Bison Meatballs, Superhero Muffins, Kale Radicchio Salad with Farro, and Double Chocolate Teff Cookies.
5. RUNNERS’ KITCHEN – Emma Coburn
Serious running requires serious fuel! It’s all about finding a balance that allows you to provide your body with the fuel it needs to perform and recover while still enjoying the foods you love. Whether you’re training for your first 6-mile run or preparing for your latest marathon, power your runs with delicious recipes brought to you by Olympian Emma Coburn.
Packed with nutritious, wholesome meals that will sustain you through the toughest workouts, The Runner’s Kitchen is the ultimate cookbook for runners! From getting the right nutrients to help boost your performance to post-workout snacks to support recovery.
The Runner’s Kitchen shows you that fueling for performance doesn’t have to mean flavorless foods. This cookbook is packed with 100 mouthwatering recipes for runners incorporating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks and sweet treats, featuring the necessary nutritional information to keep you right on track. And it also offers 7-day meal plans for peak training, race week, and recovery. Throughout the book, you will also get insights into Emma’s personal nutrition philosophy and training schedule.
6. THE BREATHING CURE – Patrick McKeown
“Many people believe that taking a deep breath increases body oxygenation. The opposite is the case”, says Patrick McKeown, bestselling author of The Oxygen Advantage. The Breathing Cure will guide you through techniques that embody the key to healthy breathing and healthy living. McKeown’s goal is to enable you to take responsibility for your own health, to prevent and significantly reduce the number of common ailments, to help you realize your potential, and to offer simple, scientifically-based ways to change your breathing habits. On a day-to-day basis, you will experience an increase in energy and concentration, an enhanced ability to deal with stress, and a better quality of life.
The essential guide to functional breathing, learn techniques tried and tested by Olympic athletes and the elite military. Clear your blocked nose, stress and relax your nervous system, improve lung function, prepare for competition, and more. For use at home, in professional/amateur sports, by breathing instructors, dentists, doctors, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, Pilates and yoga teachers, and anyone interested in health and fitness – from everyday wellbeing through to sporting excellence.
7. THE OXYGEN ADVANTAGE – Patrick McKeown
Improve your body’s oxygen use and increase your health, weight loss, and sports performance—whether you’re a recovering couch potato or an Ironman triathlon champion. One of the biggest obstacles to better health and fitness is a rarely identified problem: chronic over-breathing. We often take many more breaths than we need—without realizing it—contributing to poor health and fitness, including a host of disorders, from anxiety and asthma to insomnia and heart problems.
In The Oxygen Advantage, the man who has trained over 5,000 people—including Olympic and professional athletes—in reduced breathing exercises now shares his scientifically validated techniques to help you breathe more efficiently. Patrick McKeown teaches you the fundamental relationship between oxygen and the body. He gets you started with a Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT) to determine how efficiently your body uses oxygen. He then shows you how to increase your BOLT score by using light breathing exercises and learning how to simulate high altitude training, a technique used by professional athletes to help increase endurance, weight loss, and vital red blood cells to dramatically improve cardio-fitness.
Following his program, even the most out-of-shape person (including those with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma) can climb stairs, run for a bus, or play soccer without gasping for air, and everyone can achieve:
- Easy weight loss and weight maintenance
- Improved sleep and energy
- Increased concentration
- Reduced breathlessness during exercise
- Heightened athletic performance
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Elimination of asthmatic symptoms, and more.
With The Oxygen Advantage, you can look better, feel better, and do more—it’s as easy as breathing.
8. I HATE RUNNING AND YOU CAN TOO – Brendan Leonard
Brendan Leonard hates running so much that he once logged fifty-two marathon-length runs in fifty-two weeks. Now he’s sharing everything he’s learned about the sport so that you can hate it too. Packed with wisdom, humor, attitude, tips, and quotes—and more than sixty illuminating charts—I Hate Running and You Can Too delivers a powerful message of motivation from a truly relatable mentor.
Leonard nails the love-hate relationship most runners have with the sport. He knows the difficulty of getting off the couch, teaches us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and embraces the mix of running with walking. And he shares all that he’s learned—celebrating the mantra of “Easy, light, smooth, and fast,” observing that any body that runs is a runner’s body. Plus Leonard knows all the practical stuff, from training methods to all kinds of recommendations for when you hit a setback or get injured. Even the answer to that big question a lot of runners occasionally ask: Why? Easy: Running helps us understand commitment, develop patience, discover self-discipline, find mental toughness, and prove to ourselves that we can do something demanding. And, of course, burn off that extra serving of nachos.
9. RUNNING WITH MINDFULNESS – William Pullen
This is a perfect book for runners about the positive effect of running therapy, including anxiety relief and stress reduction by focusing on the meditative nature of the exercise. This running workbook allows you to practice mindfulness in your everyday routine, whether you prefer an afternoon stroll or a morning jog. Movement is medicine. Letting your mind wander as you take a long walk, a slow jog, or a brisk run can give you a powerful, uplifting feeling. Some call it a runner’s high, while others attribute it to endorphins. In this interactive workbook, psychotherapist William Pullen teaches you how to channel that exhilarating energy and use it to make a positive change in your life.
This approach to obtaining the benefits of mindfulness originates in the body itself. Using a combination of mindfulness, focused questions, and exercise has proven to be a simple, intuitive, effective, and therapeutic method for managing stress, trauma, anxiety, anger, depression, and other conditions. With carefully tailored thought exercises to be implemented while on a run or walk, the training method described in Running with Mindfulness brings the mind into perfect harmony with the body through the healing experience of mindful running.
10. BORN TO RUN 2 – Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton
A practical guide to running for everyone from amateurs to seasoned runners, about how to eat, race, and train like the world’s best. Whether you’re ramping up for a race or recuperating from an injury, Born to Run 2 is a holistic program for runners of every stripe that centers on seven key themes: food, fitness, form, footwear, focus, fun, and family. The book contains:
- On-the run recipes for race-ready nutrition
- Training regimen to help get you in shape and achieve your running goals
- Corrective drills to perfect your form
- Helpful shoe recommendations
- Advice about how to bring more joy into running
- Suggestions for finding a running community
Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton bring all the elements together into an integrated action plan—the 90-Day Run Free training schedule—that provides everything you need to prepare for a mile-long fun run or a 100-mile ultramarathon. Full of helpful illustrations and full-color photos of the iconic first Copper Canyons race, Born to Run 2 is the perfect training companion for anyone who wants to get inspired about the sport again and learn the proven techniques to run smoother, lighter, and swifter.
11. HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF POOP… – Meghan Kita (Runners’ World)