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Best Running Books - Two books Every Runner Should Read

Updated on July 29, 2011

Run for life

Regardless of skill or athletic ability, these two books can have an amazing impact on not just your running, but your everyday life. These are some of the best running books for anyone who has even the slightest interest in becoming a better, lifelong runner.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

An incredibly engaging book, Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run is an engaging narrative about McDougall's own journey from being a injury-laden runner, to becoming a ultramarathoner (30+ mile races). He discovers a group of first people’s called the Tarahumara (also known as Rarámuri), who inhabit and run in the treacherous Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico with little more than thin tire sandals laced to their feet. What’s more, they run ultramarathon distances every week, sometimes every day. While Born to Run contains more narrative than practical running info, it will help you rediscover the joy and power of running, as well as jolt your curiosity about testing your own limits. Who knows, you might decide to take off on your next jog with running sandals, or no shoes at all…

Want a more in-depth look at Born to Run? Click here for a full review.

Chi Running by Danny Dryer

Dryer’s book makes the claim that one can achieve effortless running by applying some basic Tai Chi principles to running. Whether or not you ascribe to the “chi” concept, this book is packed with information about correct posture and gait as well as exercises to aid in developing each of the four “Chi Skills”. Why bother you ask? Doesn’t everyone just “run how they run”? Well, does everyone “swim how they swim?” “Swing like they swing?” In most cases no. Dryer introduces some revolutionary concepts about minimizing the effort your body is putting forth (to a real bare minimum), while maximizing the effectiveness of each aspect of the run. The book is brimming with useful info, ranging from above-mentioned running posture, all the way to diet and recovery after each run. This book has been a great tool, and has already made drastic differences in my own running ability, so much so that I will be well prepared for my first 40 mile race in the coming months. Regardless of ability, this book has a place to start for everyone, and with the time, practice, and the joy of running endorsed in the book, it will revolutionize the way you run.

Final Thoughts

These books will help anyone understand or rediscover how running is an amazing gift as well as something intimately tied with the human race. So whether you are a marathoner, or can just barely drag yourself out of bed to pound out 2 miles every saturday, these two running books could very well change you in incredible ways.

If you're interested in learning more about minimalist, barefoot and running in general, check these out:


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    • saxrunner profile image

      saxrunner 6 years ago

      Thanks maddot! I barely eeked out 3 miles (and rarely enjoyed it!) once upon a time, but after reading Born to Run in particular I rediscovered why running is such a powerful, liberating thing. Once you have a go at them let me know what you think!

    • maddot profile image

      maddot 6 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia

      Very interesting. I didn't know such books had been written. AS a bit of try hard gym bunny I do a bit of running but I'm more a sprinter than along distance runner. However I have managed to increase my distances but it doesn't come naturally so I think I'm off to the library to get these books.