#AskCoachCourtney: What are the best running books to inform and inspire my running? #COACHPICKS!

Welcome to #askcoachcourtney! This series answers your running questions through use of experts and research in the field of exercise science. This week, you might as well open your Amazon app as you read because this post is all about BOOKS!

When books and running collide, I feel giddy — these are two of my favorite things! That’s why I was so excited when a reader asked me to write a post about running books. I collaborated with some fellow RRCA coaches to bring you our topic book pics!

If you want to make 2020 a year of opportunity, inspiration, and smart running…keep on reading. PS: All of the titles are links, so if you want to learn more about the books and read Amazon reviews, click away!

RRCA Run Coach Courtney’s Picks

Lore Of Running 4th ed. by Tim Noakes, M.D.

Think of this as the quintessential running text book. If you are interested in the science of running, this book is for you. It’s got tons of charts and graphs to help you understand oxygen capacity, pace predictions, and more (like, a lot more — it’s hundreds of pages long). It reads like a text book, but if you really want to know the science of running, this is the book! A lot of my blog posts have been informed by Tim Noakes. M.D.

Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner by Meb Keflezighi

Meb is one of the most inspiring and accomplished runners out there. I love sharing this book with athletes because it truly shows that mindset and small steps of progress add up. The great thing about Meb is that his prescription for improved running is easy to follow for runners of all abilities. This isn’t a book about how to become an Olympic gold medalist; it’s a book on how to “run to win” — whatever winning means to you.

Running with a Police Escort: Tales from the Back of the Pack by Jill Grunenwald

Jill Grunenwald’s light-hearted, witty writing style wins. This book is a must for anyone who needs to see that the running community is for everyone! It’s inclusive, and Jill’s book shows just that. If you need to be reminded that your running journey is unique and belongs to YOU, definitely get a copy of this!

Marathon: You Can Do It! By Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway revolutionized the run/walk/run method, and this has helped thousands of runners complete distance races. I use this method while pregnant and during my c-section recovery; it is a great way to get back into running after time off, pregnancy, or injury/therapy! If you have two days a week open and free, you can begin your marathon training journey with Jeff Galloway. Side note: While I endorse the methods in this book, I do not endorse a 26.2 mile training run as outlined in the training plans. This is not necessary and will almost certainly cause burnout and/or an injury.

Boston Bound: A 7-Year Journey to Overcome Mental Barriers and Qualify for the Boston Marathon by Elizabeth Clor

Most runners are perfectionists — try to convince me otherwise. With the advent of social media, we are bound to start comparing and perhaps overtraining/overworking. Elizabeth Clor set her goal to run the Boston Marathon, but year after year, she fell short due to mental roadblocks and overtraining. This book is wonderful for anyone who has any running goal. Elizabeth Clor chronicles her seven year journey to Boston in her popular non-fiction book.

RRCA Run Coach/NASM Personal Trainer Coach Sara’s Picks

Sara resides in Pittsburgh and runs with Steel City Road Runners. She paces P3R races along with her husband (sorry, but I think that’s the cutest). Sara’s picks stem from her belief that mental toughness is key to successful running and races: “So often, the physical ability is there but when we run hard our mind starts to freak out a little bit. While there are a number of reasons why this could be happening, one thing is certain — Practicing mental work will make you better in pressure situations.”

Strong by Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher helps runners understand that no matter how successful you are, everyone has doubts. She offers an amazing tip to journal through your training which will remind you that you belong at the start line to chase your goals on race day.

The Brave Athlete: Calm the F–k Down and Rise To The Occasion by Simon Marshall, PhD and Lesley Paterson

Brave Athlete is packed with activities that force you to pause and work through your running stumbling blocks. The authors cover a wide variety of topics, and Sara is sure there is something for everyone in this book.

The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow, PhD et al.

The Champion’s Mind is a combination of tips and stories that will build your mental tricks tool box. Pssst: This is a Coach Courtney pick, too — great read for mental stamina!

Learn more about Sara and her coaching by visiting her website!

RRCA Run Coach Jeph’s Pick

Jeph lives across the pond in Canada (eh?). He also served as ambassador coordinator during the first two years of the Youngstown Marathon. You can learn more about Jeph and his coaching by clicking here.

How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology Of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald

RRCA Run Coach Victoria’s Pick

Victoria is the founder and owner of Run4PRs coaching. She went from non-runner to multi-year Boston Qualifier (one of my favorite, inspiring runner stories!). Learn more about Victoria and Run4PRs by clicking here.

80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower by Matt Fitzgerald

Special thanks to these wonderful coaches for submitting some of their favorite running books! What are some of your favorites? Drop them in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something via a link from this post, I may receive a small commission.

One thought on “#AskCoachCourtney: What are the best running books to inform and inspire my running? #COACHPICKS!

  1. Love these! I have not read any of them. But, loved Meb’s book “26 Marathons” and Deann Kastor’s “Let Your Mind Run.”


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