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The best outdoor adventure books that can’t fail to inspire

Needing inspiration? Here are Kate Milsom's top 8 outdoor adventure books for triathletes. They can't help but inspire new adventures and life-affirming experiences...

Best adventure outdoor books

The Pants of Perspective

by Anna McNuff


This fun, upbeat and hilarious memoir of British adventurer Anna McNuff’s 148 day journey running the length of New Zealand along the 3,000km Te Araroa trail had us in stitches. We were right there with Anna through each mishap and discovery. McNuff escapes the corporate world in London to broaden her horizons, relentlessly rejecting the urge to limit herself with how she ‘should’ live her life and with what a ‘real’ runner should look like. Discover how truly limitless you are too with this inspiring and motivational account of one adventurer’s journey through New Zealand’s backcountry, over mountain passes, and in the homes and hearts of kind locals along the way.

Anna is an avid adventurer, amongst other feats she has also cycled across all 50 states of the USA and ran the length of the UK barefoot.

Where There’s a Will

by Emily Chappell

Peek into the world and mind of ultra-endurance cyclist, Emily Chappell, as she recounts her journey to winning the 2016 Transcontinental bike race, including what it takes to complete such a feat and the crippling self doubt that exists even at the top of the sport. Learn how Chappell went from a DNF the year before to her victory on the brutal 4,000km dash across Europe. A true story of hope, grief and endurance, we found Chappell’s frank and down to earth persona shone through her humble words.


Bikepacking: Mountain Bike Camping Adventures on the Wild Trails of Britain

by Laurence McJannet

Got the bikepacking bug but not sure where to start or what to pack? Take a read of McJannet’s ultimate guide to exploring the UK’s rich expanse of off-road cycling trails.

Within, McJannet shares his top 30 trails to discover, how to plan your ride, surviving in the wilderness, the best family rides, and the best rides for each UK region.

Downhill From Here

by Gavin Boyter

Running from John O’Groats to Land’s End is no mean feat, but that’s exactly what 44-year-old Gavin Boyter decided to do on the search to discover just what a self-proclaimed “ordinary runner” is capable of. Boyter’s conversational account of his epic journey is an amusing read, with plenty expletives when yet anther injury emerges, along with descriptions of the changing landscape and the trials and tribulations he faces along the way. The book has a map at each chapter tracing his journey, and is riddled with commentary, whether that’s on the route or in the form of Boyter’s inner voice as he reasons with his self-doubt and overcomes his aches and pains to finally reach the terminus of his journey at Land’s End.

A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey

by Chrissie Wellington

Four time world champion Chrissie Wellington takes us on a journey back to her roots, accounting her beginnings growing up as a young girl in Norfolk and “never excelling” in sport, to winning thirteen Ironman titles and becoming one of the most well-known triathlon names in history. Chrissie’s openness about every aspect of her life and humble tone makes for an enjoyable and inspiring read, she is both easy to relate to and awe-inspiring in her ability. We also enjoyed the audiobook for a motivation training parter on long sessions!

 Chrissie Wellington has been a regular contributor to 220 over the years and you can find all her articles and key advice for all triathletes and abilities here

A Year on the Run

By Damien Hall

365 inspiring stories of running endurance feats from across the globe are all compiled in Hall’s weighty hardback book, with playful illustrations by Daniel Seex. Consume as a daily journal of inspiration or pick up as a light but riveting read, find out what wacky or awe-inspiring world-first or endurance challenge took place on each day of the year. From back stories behind world record victories to learning more about history’s greatest ultra-runners and when they were born, we enjoyed flicking through Hall’s book for a colourful running education.

How Bad Do You Want It?

Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle

By Matt Fitzgerald

Next on our reading list, a compilation of sporting endeavours and stories of overcoming obstacles from Matt Fitzgerald. Including how Sammy Wanjiru recovered from significant injuries to win the 2010 Boston Marathon and other stories from Greg LeMond, Cadel Evans, Thomas Voeckler, and more. Fitzgerald delves into the science behind mental fortitude in sports in his “psychobiological” view of endurance performance.

Adventureman: Running America

By Jamie McDonald


From the author of Adventurman: Anyone Can Be a Superhero, comes a much awaited new book documenting McDonald’s 5,500-mile journey running unsupported across the USA from coast to coast to raise funds for sick children. Find out how McDonald completed the equivalent distance of 210 marathons, completely unsupported and alone, across the most unforgiving terrain and harshest conditions.