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Best running books for motivation

In need of some inspiration to give your training a boost? Try out this list of the best running books on the market


It’s normal. Every now and then motivation dips, and your training can suffer as a result. In moments like that, it can be useful to give your training a kick up the bum.


One of the ways you can do that is by reading some of the best running books on the market. Below, we’ve pulled together a selection of great reads, including some that will inspire, some that will educate and some that’ll just make you laugh.

Best running books in 2022

Just a Little Run Around the World

If you’re after inspiration, you can’t go far wrong with this book by Rosie Swale Pope. Following the tragic loss of her husband to cancer, 57-year-old Rosie left Wales and embarked on a five-year run around the world.

During those adventure-filled years she covered 20,000 miles and ventured through Europe, Russia, Asia, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. She faced a range of conditions, including snow and -62C temperatures.

She went through 53 pairs of shoes, encountered three packs of wolves and recounts it all in this enthralling book.

Born to Run

We’ve all heard of the barefoot running movement by now (if you haven’t, what rock have you been hiding under?) and this is the book partly responsible for its foray into the mainstream.

In Born To Run, Christopher McDougall heads to the Copper Canyons of Mexico to explores the secrets of the world’s greatest distance runners. Once there, he learns about the techniques that allow them to travel far on foot without getting injured, and explores how that can be applied by runners around the world.

Whether or not you agree with barefoot running as a concept, this is a fascinating read that is sure to prompt some questions and internal dialogue of your own.

Jog On: How Running Saved My Life

At the end of her 20s Bella Mackie was divorced, struggling with mental health problems and spending too much time in the comforting embrace of her sofa. But going for a run changed something, and she was soon embarking on a new journey that regularly resulted in an uplift in her mood.

In Jog On, she uses expert comments, inspirational stories and unfiltered anecdotes from her own life to explain how running and fitness can help you battle the challenges in your own life.

80/20 Running

The 80/20 rule is one that has proved invaluable for many athletes, including triathletes and runners. The idea is simple: do 80% of your training at lower intensity and 20% at a higher intensity to avoid overworking your body or causing unnecessary injuries. By doing so, you’ll experience many benefits.

In this book, fitness expert Matt Fitzgerald explains why and provides a detailed guide on how to execute this method to improve your performance.

Inside, Matt explains the methodology and shares plans for runners of all abilities across a range of distances, including 5km, 10km, half-marathon and marathon.

Lonely Planet: Epic Runs of the World

If you’re the sort of person that thrives off of having a challenge and a goal to work toward, this book may be for you.

Lovingly curated and put together, it looks perfect on the coffee table and will deliver a healthy dose of inspiration, too.

That’s because between these colourful covers are 50 incredible running routes across the world, including the foothills of Nepal, Sydney Harbour, the Lake District and the Amalfi Coast.

The Rise of the Ultra Runners

Over the past decade more and more ultra running events have been popping up, as people look beyond the marathon distance for a challenge. But why? The Rise of the Ultra Runners sees Adharanand Finn investigate that very question by attempting to become an ultra runner himself.

In the process, he goes from the deserts of Oman to the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies, all in the name of investigation. In this book, he recounts that journey and documents the interesting characters and intriguing experiences he has along the way.


Ultra marathons? So what! Elise Downing ran along the entire length of the UK, covering 5,000 miles, camping out and carrying everything she needed on her back.


In this book, she recounts that incredible journey, in which she saw Britain at its wildest and most beautiful, and the nation’s people at their most helpful and welcoming.