A Runner’s Library

I’m always reading (see this blog’s What I’m Reading page), and at any given time at least one of those books will be about running. Backstory, exercise science, training models, they’re all grist for this runner’s mill. So I thought I’d share with you what’s sitting on my running bookshelf right now.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, of course. It’s simply what I’ve read, valued enough to keep on the shelf, and go back to time and time again.

A Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life, by Amby Burfoot
Simple, elegant essays by the winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and senior editor of Runners’ World magazine.

Advanced Marathoning, by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas
I used one of this book’s training programs to prepare for the 2012 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, my first barefoot marathon. Lots of good training stuff here.

Barefoot Running Step by Step, by Ken Bob Saxton and Roy Wallack
Ken Bob’s the granddaddy of barefoot running. This book’s a must-read, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall
This is probably the one book that’s got more people running (and thinking about running) than any other in recent years. A great read!

Heart Rate Training, by Roy Benson and Declan Connolly
The first half of this book is about the theory behind HR-based training. The second half offers training programs for a number of distances. It’s an excellent resource – I’m using it for all of this year’s training.

Run Strong, Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running, by Anna Toombs and David Robinson
To date, the best book on barefoot running I’ve come across. The sub-title says it all.

Running Within: A Guide to Mastering the Body-Mind-Spirit Connection for Ultimate Training and Racing, by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott
The more I run, the more I believe that the mental side of the sport is even more important than the physical. This book explains how to get good at it.

Slow Burn: Burn Fat Faster By Exercising Slower, by Stu Mittleman
This is the first explanation I ever found of running slowly as the way to build endurance. From a guy who, in 2000, ran from San Diego to New York City (3,000 miles) in 56 days (i.e., two marathons a day for 56 consecutive days).

The Lore of Running, by Timothy Noakes
The ur-source of running science, by one of the world’s best exercise scientists. If you’re a runner, you must own this!

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It, by Neal Bascomb
A wonderfully-written story about Roger Bannister and the two men who challenged him for the four-minute record in 1954. More drama per page than any novel. Highly recommended!

Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?, by Alex Hutchinson
Lays out, in solid, straightforward fashion, some of the myths (and truths) of exercise science. You’ll learn a lot, trust me.

Why We Run: A Natural History, by Bernd Heinrich
A biologist and ultra-marathoner offers a mix of biology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy to explain why we do it.

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