Part of the draw of the sport is all there is to learn about running. Besides actually getting out there and hitting the pavement, my favorite thing about running is reading about other runner’s experiences in the sport. Here are some of my favorite running books and why. I have included links to the Bookshop.org listings for the books. Bookshop.org is an online bookstore that supports local and independent bookstores worldwide, so I always choose to order my books there.
Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas: Ok, this isn’t actually a “review” because I haven’t read this new release yet, but I am so excited to hear from Alexi Pappas. When Pappas was four years old, her mother died by suicide. She admits she has been searching for female role models her whole life, and she has worked hard for everything she’s earned. In 2016, Alexi made her Olympic debut as a distance runner and premiered in her first feature film as an actress. Read along with me and let me know what you think!
Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports by Katherine Switzer: This is the book that helped me fall in love with running. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run what was then the all-male Boston Marathon, infuriating one of the event’s directors who attempted to violently eject her. Switzer’s experience as a runner is fascinating, especially considering she was embarking on a sport where women were simply not represented at all. The history of women’s distance running is a short one, and this book reminds us just how far we’ve come.
Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor: I grew up rooting for Deena Kastor in the Olympics and had a signed poster of her on my wall in high school, so I knew I’d be reading her book when it was released a few years ago. I didn’t expect to be so interested in the sports psychology that she taught me and just how much our mind has to do with how well (or not well) we run. This book helped me learn more about how our bodies and minds are connected in activity and everyday life.
Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream by Meb Keflezighi: Many of us had the privilege of hearing Meb tell his life story at the Lee University 65 Roses 5k fundraiser dinner a few years ago, or running the 65 Roses 5k with Meb the next day. Meb is the living embodiment of the American dream. His family came to the U.S. to escape poverty and a violent war; 12-year-old Meb spoke no English at the time and had never raced a mile. Thanks to hard work and determination, he excelled academically and became an Olympic silver medalist. This book tells the story of that high, as well as the hard work that came after the Olympics, where he dealt with injury, possible retirement, and ended with him winning the Boston Marathon the year after the devastating bombing.