I Read It!: Running Book Reviews

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Need some motivation? Looking for a good running read? Over the years, I've read a lot of running and fitness books and shared my reviews on the blog. I continue to read running and fitness-related books as much as I can! This is a comprehensive list of all the running books I've read as well as links to the full reviews that I've shared on the blog.

If you are a publisher or publicist and have a book you would like me to consider for review, please contact me at: 

 Featured Books:
(affiliate links)

The Longest Race: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike's Elite Running Team by Kara Goucher and Mary Pilon tells the behind-the-scenes story of Kara Goucher's time as a Nike athlete including the abuse by her coach, Alberto Salazar. Unputdownable. Link to review

Running in the Midpack: How to be a Strong and Successful Runner by Martin Yelling and Anji Andrews is a comprehensive running handbook for 'the rest of us', the regular runners, the ones who finish in the middle of the pack. It's an easy read and one that you'll return to again. Link to review.

Next Level: Your Guide to Kicking Ass, Feeling Great, and Crushing Goals Through Menopause and Beyond by Stacy Sims with Selene Yeager is an extraordinary, science-backed guide for active women going through menopause as well as post-menopausal women. Loved it and will continue to refer to it. Link to review.

Running with Purpose: How Brooks Outpaced Goliath Competitors to Lead the Pack by Jim Weber tells the story of how this insightful CEO propelled Brooks Shoes to its position as the number 2 running company in the world. Great read. Link to review.

Running is a Kind of Dreaming by J.M.Thompson is a memoir told while running a 200 mile ultramarathon around Lake Tahoe. He's a survivor of severe depression, childhood abuse, and substance abuse. It's quite a read! Link to review

Stronger Than the Dark: Exploring the Intimate Relationship Between Running and Depression by Cory Reese is a memoir of his descent into depression after several life-altering events. Initially intended to be a recap of the Vol State 500k, he shares lessons he learned during that race. Link to review

Racing the Clock: Running Across a Lifetime by Bernd Heinrich is a memoir of this record-setting ultramarathoner and scientist. He set out to run a 100k for his 80th birthday, but COVID changed all that. It's a fascinating read of biology and running. Release date July 6, 2021. Link to review

A Runner's High by Dean Karnazes is a reflective memoir about the legend and his training for Western States 100. He's funny and humble--he's just like us! Except he's not... Link to review

I Hate Running and You Can Too by Brendan Leonard is a fun read to motivate you and make you laugh! By the way, he doesn't really hate running. Link to review

Bravey by Alexi Pappas is the memoir of this young Olympian's difficult childhood and her struggles with depression. It's also the story of overcoming and being your very best. Link to review

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a contemplative collection of essays from beloved author Haruki Murakami. Full of quotable passages, he shares his experiences and philosophy of running and training. A classic. Link to Review

Win At All Costs is an engrossing and fast read about the 'win at all costs' culture at Nike. Alberto Salazar had free reign with the runners and went to any length to push them to succeed, even using dubious methods and doping. Well-researched and mind-blowing. Link to review

Above the Clouds is a breathtaking view into the life of ultramarathoner and mountain runner Kilian Jornet. He shares his record breaking climb up Mt Everest in such detail that you'll feel as if you were climbing with him. What a great read! Link to review

The Athlete's Gut: The Inside Science of Digestion, Nutrition, and Stomach Distress by Patrick Wilson. Got tummy troubles on the run? Wilson, a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist explains the science behind all things gastrointestinal and offers suggestions on ways runners can 'train' their GI tract to behave on long distance runs. Link to Review

The Perfect Run: A Guide to Cultivating a Near-Effortless Running State by Mackenzie Havey. Havey believes we runners can all achieve the perfect run and in her book, shares how we can. A fascinating read into the psychology of running. Link to review

The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating: The Revolutionary 4-Week Program to Boost Your Athletic Performance, Everyday Activities, and Weight Loss by Dr Louis Maharam. This is a hands-on, practical guide for any runner to fuel properly and manage their nutrition while training by using Dr Maharam's Fueling Plates. I found the nutrition information to be very accurate and the plan to have merits. Link to review

Run to the Finish: The Everyday Runner's Guide to Avoiding Injury, Ignoring the Clock, and Loving the Run by Amanda Brooks. Brooks, long time runblogger at Run to the Finish shares her advice about running for the average runner with her usual sense of humor and lots of expertise. This is the running reference for all of us--new and experienced runners--who don't plan on BQing until we're in our 80s! Link to review

The Vail Method: Dr Ehrlich's Guide to Getting Better Not Just Older by Matthew Ehrlich, MD. This is a practical, holistic approach for older athletes to improve performance and get healthier. Non-athletes can follow his advice as well. The advice is based on scientific research and is an easy, inspirational read. Link to review

Spirit Run: A 6,000 Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land by Noé Alvarez. Noé Alvarez was a nineteen year old college student, a son of Mexican immigrants, who, after spending a summer working alongside his mother at an apple packing plant, wanted to do more with his life. He was saddened by his mother's and other workers' acceptance of their lives. Struggling to fit in at college, Alvarez gave up his scholarship and decided to join a Native Americans/First Nation Movement called Peace and Dignity Journeys. PDJs are marathons that are meant to create awareness amongst indigenous people of the Americas. Spirit Run is Alvarez's story of his four month journey with PDJ. Link to review

Older, Faster, Stronger by Margaret Webb. I originally reviewed this book in 2014, after publication, but revisited it this fall. The information still holds up 5 years later, but at least for me, have things changed! Webb originally wrote the book because at the time, she was 51 and determined to have her 'fittest year', setting a goal to place in the top 10 for the half marathon at the World Master's Games. Along the way, she learned a great deal about master's women's running and herself. Link to review

The Pursuit of Endurance by Jennifer Pharr Davis. I've had my eye on this book for a while. Tried to get a pre-release copy, heck, a post-release copy from Goodreads. No luck! Earlier this summer, it was available as a Kindle Daily Deal. Score! David is the record holder of the fastest known time for the Appalachian Trail. In this book, she shares her journey as well as tips to conquer as well as inspire. I'm so excited to read this! Link to review

The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas. CBD is everywhere, isn't it? I've been using the oral drops and a topical cream for my RA related joint pain, which I find to be amazingly effective. A comprehensive read on what is known about CBD currently. Link to review

Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall. When McDougall agrees to take in a rescue donkey, he comes to realize that the best way to help the donkey heal is to put him to work. What better kind of work for a donkey than to teach him to run? This was quite the entertaining read! Link to review

Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed by Matthew Futterman. This is the story of Bob Larsen, the legendary running coach, who trained numerous runners including Meb Keflezighi to victories. Larsen relentlessly pursued the secret of speed and endurance. Since I'm watching that slip away in my own running, I've got a personal interest in this one! Link to review

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running for Good: 101 Stories for Runners and Walkers to Get You Moving by Amy Newmark and Dean Karnazes. Released on Global Running Day 2019, this new collection of inspiration will get you moving even on the days when your motivation is the lowest. Link to review

The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance by Adharanand Finn, is a look at the rise of ultramarathoning. I remember when running a marathon was a big deal; now, it seems the sky is the limit. I loved learning more about these extreme runners! Link to review

Outrunning the Demons: Lives Transformed through Running by Phil Hewitt. Hewitt pens this book about the transformative power of running after being mugged in South Africa. While his experience isn't the focus of the book, he shares stories of other runners who have gone through similarly traumatic experiences and find solace in running. Most runners agree that running is therapy and this book sounds like it's going to hit home for many of us! Link to review

Running Home: A Memoir by Katie Arnold. Arnold, a lifelong runner and writer for Outside Magazine, tells the story of her relationship with her father and how running helped her deal with her grief and feelings after he passes away from cancer. So many of us say that running is our therapy. Link to review

Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from The Strange Science of Recovery by Christie Aschwanden. Ask a group of runners what is the best way to recover from a hard run or race and you'll get many different answers. Aschwanden, a science writer, explores all kinds of recovery methods and advice. This book was humorous and interesting. Link to review

Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert. A rare fiction read built around running, this is the story of a college cross country coach who uses running to outrun his life. After a tragedy, he is forced to face the music. I've already read this book and let me tell you, it has left me breathless. Profoundly sad and beautifully written, I cannot recommend it enough. Link to review

Racing Heart: A Runner's Journey of Love, Loss, and Perseverance by Katie Mihevic Edwards. This story of a runner who faces a life-threatening heart conditions sounds like the perfect read for the holiday season! Link to review

ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury Free Running by Danny Dreyer. The updated version of the classic book teaches all of us how to run better using principles of Tai Chi, yoga, and pilates. Call me intrigued. Call me an older runner who's hanging on by a thread. Call me cynical. I found it all a bit salesy. But millions of fans can't be wrong, right? Link to review

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan. In high school, Maddy Holleran had it all. Once she went to college as an Ivy League track athlete, things changed. This book is as much a commentary on the culture of perfection as it is on the impact that social media has on all of us. Link to book review

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson. Written by the author of the Sweat Science column (you can find it in the Runner's World archives and now in Outside Magazine, Hutchinson brings his expertise on running and endurance to this excellent book.Link to book review

Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler. I read about this book on VITA Train 4 Life--Allie loved it--and I can't believe I've never heard of it. Entrepreneur Jesse Itzler (his wife owns Spanx) shares the story of living and training with a Navy Seal for 30 days. It was hilarious. Link to book review

North by Scott Jurek. I've been wanting to read this one for a while. I loved Jurek's last book, Eat and Run, and reviewed it several years ago. North is Jurek's recount of his attempt to beat the 46 day record for running the entire Appalachian Trail. Hard to put down! Link to book review

Running is My Therapy by Scott Douglas. How many times have I said this--on the blog and in my head? Scott Douglas (co-wrote Meb for Mortals) shares science, stories, and expert advice on how running helps us work through depression and anxiety and improve mental health. Link to book review

Run Forever by Amby Burfoot. Running legend Amby Burfoot is still running. In fact, he ran Boston to celebrate his 50th anniversary since his win in 1968! In this book, he shares his wisdom and advice, while keeping running the simple, fun activity that so many of us know and love! Click here for the review

Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton. Deena Kastor is well known to women runners for her competitive spirit but also her poise, graciousness, and kindness on and off the course. Her book is a memoir of how she developed a positive mindset as a weapon in competition. I am all about mental fitness as a tool in my runner's toolbox and you can't help but feel positive when you read this book. Deena graciously sent me a galley copy to review. Click here for the review

Meb For MortalsAfter meeting Meb in 2016, I was enraptured with this kind, gentle champion. This book is full of tips that every day mere mortals can incorporate into their training regimens.
To Be A Runner : I read this wonderful book years ago and have wanted to share it on the book club for some time now.  A lifelong runner, the author shares his wisdom and insight about running and life. 
To The Finish LineWritten for triathletes, Chrissie Wellington's advice works for runners too. After all, she knows a little bit about the sport...
The 30-Minute RunnerAnyone who says they don't have time to run should read this book. No excuses! The author is a former Army Master Fitness Trainer.
Run Fast Eat SlowShalane Flanagan's cookbook, written in collaboration with her college roommate. If these recipes make Shalane run fast, think what they'll do for you! Link to reviews

Gratitude in Motion by Colleen Kelly Alexander is the inspirational story of survival and recovery after the author was hit by a truck while riding her bike home from work. A lifelong athlete, Alexander uses her inner strength honed over years of competing to overcome her injuries and return to athletics. If you are looking for inspiration, this is a great book to read. She's unfailingly positive. Link to review

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian Walker appeared on my list a few months ago and then it didn't. I decided to give the book another go 'round after it was featured in The Runners' Bookshelf book club on Facebook. This post-apocalyptic novel showcases running as a survival skill for the main character. It's bleak but it's gripping. I couldn't put it down! Link to review

Susan Lacke is an athlete and a fitness writer. You've probably read her work and not even realized it--unless you were laughing out loud. She's hilarious! Her new book Life's Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is the story of an unlikely friendship with a college professor and triathlete who not only turned her into a runner, he turned her life around. Link to review

Mirna Valerio is not your "typical" runner. As she calls herself "an active larger girl in a thinner world", Valerio tells her story in her new book A Beautiful Work in Progress. You can't help but like her--I imagine that she's as down to earth as she seems through her writings. You might be familiar with her blog Fat Girl Running or with her writing in Women's Running MagazineLink to review

I've written a lot about running mindfully on the blog. Mindful Running: How Meditative Running can Improve Performance and Make you a Happier, More Fulfilled Person by Mackenzie Havey guides the runner to be more mindful while running. She not only gives tips but also why and how mindfulness can make you a better runner. I found her book really helpful. Link to review

Julie Van Amerongen decided to run every single day. She also decided to chronicle her journey. Although she started her quest as an effort to get in shape, she learned that running daily helped her with so much more in life. Every.Single.Day: Unstoppable Wisdom from a Year of Running is our selection for September. Link to review

Here's a fun light read for the summer beach season! A CEO of a couture company is told to lose 30 pounds or lose her job. Her journey through the fitness industry sounds hilarious and totally relatable. Fitness Junkie: A Novel is a fun, breezy read about the oddities in the fitness world. Link to review

Catarina Menzes-Pike decides to train for a half marathon on a whim and finds more than just fitness. Her journey sounds like one we can all relate to! The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion is Menzes-Pikes' story memoir on the interconnectness of running and life.  Link to review

Fresh off the soles of her epic return to Boston comes the re-release of Kathrine Switzer's memoir, Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports. Her bib number was retired too. We've come a long way, baby! This was a page turner. I had no idea how influential Switzer was, not only for women runners, but for women in general! Link to review

Dean Karnazes is a living legend. He's an ultramarathoner who runs the world. Heck, he was at Big Sur when Kristina and I ran it in 2016. His new book The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World's Greatest Footrace chronicles his journey to recreate the ancient marathon in his native Greece. This was a fascinating read.  Link to review

Here's a fun, light read for runners of all levels! Your Pace or Mine?: What Running Taught Me About Life, Laughter and Coming Last, written by 100-time marathoner Lisa Jackson is a lighthearted look at the joys of running. Perfect for the mid-winter doldrums when we are all struggling with motivation.

Frank Shorter is one of the most accomplished US marathoners of all time. His autobiography My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life is sure to provide plenty of inspiration. This book was recommended by another blogger! Link to review

You probably know Matt Fitzgerald from his articles and books on running and nutrition. His newest release, The Endurance Diet: Discover the 5 Core Habits of the World’s Greatest Athletes to Look, Feel, and Perform Better shares strategies to help us all perform better on the road. Link to review

Cory Reese uses humor and mental toughness to persevere through the long, lonely miles of the ultramarathon. He's a fellow Tailwind Trailblazer and I feel like I've gotten to know him a little bit through my encounters in our group! He's a funny, positive person and it comes through in his book,  Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The PackLink to review

We all know running makes us a better person, on the road and off, right? In his new book The Inner Runner: Running to a More Successful, Confident, and Creative You,  Jason Karp shows you how running can make you literally be all you can be. Link to review

Becky Wade is an elite marathoner who took her love for running across the globe. Her book, Run the World, chronicles her journey and all that she learned along the way. I'd love to do this! Link to review

Alisha Perkins is the wife of 3-time All Star Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins. She's also a mom. In Running Home: Big League Wife-Small Town Story, she chronicles her struggle with anxiety and her road to recovery through running. Since anxiety is the reason I started running 25 years ago, I was intrigued by her story. I was also to share some of her responses to my questions on the blog. Link to review

You all know I have Boston on my wish list. Elizabeth Clor, author of Boston Bound, reached out to me to ask if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing her book. Of course, I said yes. Clor is like us, only faster. But it took her 7 years to qualify for Boston. She has a blog, Racing Stripes, and you can follow her to learn more about her journey. I'm excited to still follow her on her blog and social media. But this is where it all begin. Link to review

It's the thick of fall marathon training and so I picked something on the lighter side! Mark Remy of Runners World and Dumb Runner has a new release was hilarious. Runners of North America: A Definitive Guide to the Species will have us all laughing and labeling all the runners we see at races. I'll be curious if you find one in the book that sounds like yourself! Link to review

Amby Burfoot (of Runner's World) has written First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever. This book highlights stories of epic pioneering women runners. Being a bit of a rule breaker myself, I kind of loved this book. If it weren't for these ladies, we'd still be banned from marathoning. And worried about our lady bits falling out when we run! Link to review

Running has been there for all of us. Through good times and bad, as fitness, as therapist--I think a lot of us will relate to Jen Miller's new release, Running: A Love Story. You might be familiar with Jen Miller from her Running newsletter and articles in the New York Times. Link to review

I've made no secret about my struggle with mental toughtness! In fact, I devote a lot of my training time to building my mental strength. So when renowned trainer and author Matt Fitzgerald released his new book, How Bad Do You Want It, I knew I had to add it to the book club. Link to review

Diana Nyad, best known for her swim from Cuba to Key West, tells an inspirational life story. She was 64 when she completed this momentous feat. Find A Way isn't a story about running but it is a story about endurance and pushing beyond your limits. Link to review

Not a running book but a topic very closely related, It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell, is written by a food blogger who shares her story of food addiction and body image issues. This was an Amazon best book for January 2015. There's a lot of inspiration in this one. Link to review

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton. This former Olympic champion chronicles her struggle with mental illness. She spent time in Las Vegas working as an escort. Oh man, so many thoughts about this one. I don't think any of my books generated as many comments as this one did! Link to review

The Runner's Brain: How to Think Smarter to Run Better by Jeff Brown. It's no secret how I struggle mentally with my running. I've worked hard to overcome my mental blocks and anxiety. This book was recommended to me by a friend, and it's advice we can all take to the finish line. Link to review

After meeting Bart Yasso at the Chicago Marathon Expo and getting him to commit to an author interview, I reviewed his book My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon . After reading this, I only loved him more. What a life he's lived! Link to author interview Link to book review

Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated by Dana L Ayers is a hilarious account of Dana's adventures on and off the road. If you liked Run Like A Girl, you will love this one! Link to author interview  Link to book review 

Daughters of Distance is written by Vanessa Runs, an accomplished ultramarathoner. The book is directed at women athletes, not just ultrarunners, and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Vanessa is a truly amazing woman! Click here for the interview Link to book review

This inspirational story, Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story, about a young Kenyan boy who has the opportunity to be placed with an American family, caught my eye. You'll also learn about Achilles Runners, who provide support to runners with disabilities. Link to book review Link to author interview

Another light summer read, this inspirational tome by Alexandra Heminsley, Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run, is supposed to be funny, light, and inspirational! If you need a push to get out the door, I think this will be the book for you! Link to review Link to author interview

Just for fun and laughs, a little light reading for the summer from the Oatmeal. We'll be reading The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances by Matthew Inman. Don't be put off by the graphic book format. Inman's comics are funny and I think all runners can relate to his struggles. Link to review.

Tales from Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Trials, Tips, and Tricks from the Road  by the ultimate mother runners Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea is chock full of advice and anecdotes. Just the perfect read! Link to book review Link to author interview

4:09:43 Boston Through the Eyes of the Runners by Hal Higdon is a recap of the Boston Marathon bombing from the runners' perspective. Told with compassion, this was a compelling read. Link to book review Link to author interview.



  1. Your choice for April is a great book and one I read last year after I qualified to run Boston. Unfortunately, I gave my copy away or I would reread it for the discussion/book club! Enjoy it

    1. Feel free to comment on the review, tho! I'd love to hear your perspective!

  2. Found your page via Femme Fitale's Workout Wednesday Link Up. :) This is a great idea!! I recommend Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running."

    1. It's on my to read list! I'm mulling over choices for June, so I'll check it out too.

    2. It's a slim volume but it has a lot of insights. I highly recommend it. :) If you don't mind, I'll create my version of a book club too for my wellness blog. :) Thanks for the great idea again!

    3. Not at all. Glad you like the idea! I'll follow along.

  3. What a great idea. Would love to join the book club!

    1. There's no formal process to participate! Just read and post your review. Of the book club book or any running/fitness related book!

  4. I love the idea of a running book club! I may have to join up some day :) Currently I'm reading mostly non-running books except for one: "You (Only Faster) by Greg McMillan. It's been a great help for my marathon training!

    Bart Yasso's book sounds great - and so do many of the others on your list.
    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

    1. Feel free to jump in at any time. It's really loose and fun. And if you don't read the book of the month, you can link up any fitness or running related book!

  5. Hi Wendy - I have a goal of readin more books this year so I'll definitely try to link up if my book is related to running/fitness/etc!

    1. Yes! And if you come across any that you think I should share for the book club, let me know!