Top 10 Books on Running Science & Training

edited January 2014 in General
I spend a lot of time researching our awesome sport and can't get enough of the books, blogs, and information on the topic. I have a list of my top 10 favorite running books but would love to hear what books changed your running lives? Always looking for new reads, especially on biomechanics and science of running. Suggestions would be great!


  • edited January 2014
    before i clicked the link i was certain Lore of Running - Tim Noakes would be no.1
    i was wrong

    also, im pretty sure Born to Run doesnt count as running science although it is an entertaining read.  if you want to go down that path though then Running With The Kenyans - Adharanand Finn is definitely worth a look.

  • Eugene, I have the Lore of Running but have yet to make my way through it. Need to hamper down and actually knock out some page everyday. I am a huge fan of Noakes' work and am sure it will be on the list once I finish it. 

  • edited January 2014
    As the book isn't out yet, I can't really review it, but I've been really impressed by Steve Magness' Science of Running blog. His training book is due out in mid-February - here's his post on what he tries to cover in it. Given how much I've learned about training from his blog, I'm really looking forward to the book.
  • This is a classic, from 1980 but much rings true still today:

    I'm also enjoying Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, about halfway through. Not running, but nutrition. I feel like if I were to write a book like Tread Lightly on nutrition, this would be the result: 

  • By the way, thanks for including my book in your list @TheMotivatedRunner! Agree with most of the books you have on there.

  • Thanks for the recommendations Pete! Will definitely be adding those to my next Amazon order and doing some more research. Really interested in the Pete Cavanagh book. I also recently picked up Benno Nigg's Biomechanics of Running Shoes and am working my way through that as well. It's amazing how many of the books and studies from a while ago have held up and we are now returning to them. Amazing what the power of marketing can do to the industry. 
  • edited January 2014
    A very good list and all my favourite books are there :)
    The books that have influenced my training the most is Phil Maffetones (love MAF!) and Tim Noakes and on the technique and shoe side I love Peters book Tread Lightly.
    Born to Run would also have a spot on my list as a very inspirational book! I really hope they will make a movie based on it :)    

  • (Hi... my first post... woo!)

    I'd have to slightly disagree with "Born to Run" not being running science. It isn't pure, substantial science, but it has some good research citations. Sure, it is a dramatized story and all that, but there is enough Daniel Lieberman in there. If not for Born To Run, I would not have found Lieberman and gait analysis and I wouldn't have found Tread Lightly (which I have recommended to 3 friends, each of whom took subsequently took on new rigor in attacking long-standing running injuries)
    But yeah... not entirely science, so I get where you're coming from. Can we say it is a science enabler? 

    I did listen (via audible) to Running With the Kenyans. And I really liked the story, but where as I go back to Born to Run every 18 months or so (Hey, I run a lot of miles and there are so few audio running books), I've only gone back to RWtK for one more listen. Excellent though to have a "Geoffrey Mutai" back story though. 

    Another one I would throw in as not exactly science, but science enabler (and in the same vein as Pete's nutrition comment) is Jurek's "Eat And Run"... yeah, it's an autobiography of sorts, but it really got me thinking about the source of my protein. It also really got me thinking miles... lots and lots of miles.

    If I could hijack this thread and provide my own small list, I gotta say that the books that got me through training for my first marathon were:
    Born To Run (story time!)
    Eat and Run (inspiration, dedication, determination, some good grub)
    Running on Air (technique.. yeah, it struggles to be a full book, but grabbing the technique was huge for me)
    Tread Lightly (reassurance, injury prevention, curiosity and exploration for my feet)
    50/50 (c'mon... I mean he did 50 in 50 days, I can certainly do ONE!)

    Since that marathon, I've now dug deeper and got into some of the technique and physiology books. I'm learning so much now, but when I first started on long distances, I needed some good stories, some inspiration and some sign posts that let me know I was on the right track.
  • I'd like to add that if it were not for Born to Run my book would not exist. It may not have been a science book, but I can say without hesitation that it inspired me to start digging into the science. Chris McDougall deserves a great deal of credit for shaking up the running world.
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