sBooks have a way of taking us to another world, even if only for a short time. If you’re all tapped out of ideas for the runner on your gift list (let’s be serious, they do not need another pair of shoes!), consider grabbing them a copy of these great pieces of running literature. Whether your runner is at the top of the podium, the back of the pack, or somewhere in between, you’re sure to find something on this list that appeals to them!
For the Animal Loving Runner: Finding Gobi
Ultrarunner Dion Leonard has run many of the world’s longest and most inhospitable ultramarathons, including a 250 kilometer race across China’s Gobi Desert. When he came across a tiny stray dog during the race, he didn’t expect her to keep up for long, but she did. This is the incredible story of Leonard’s race and his quest to find the dog that inspired him along the way – and bring her home for good.
Running legend Bart Yasso truly embodies the spirit of the serial racer. Over the past 40 years, Yasso has run over 1,000 races across the world at every conceivable distance and nearly every conceivable pace. He knows what it’s like to win a marathon and how it feels to crawl across the finish line. In his latest book, Race Everything, Yasso gives his best tips for how to have a successful race day, no matter how you define success.
If you’re an “unlikely” runner, Lisa Jackson’s book is for you. After avoiding any type of fitness activity for most of her adult life, Jackson ran her first marathon at 31 and her first ultramarathon at 41. Now having finished over 100 marathons, Jackson shares her tales from life at the back of the pack. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to run at “party pace,” finish a race last, or run marathons around the world, you’ll find all of those answers and more in Your Pace or Mine?, along with plenty of delightful, hilarious, and poignant stories about life on the run.
For the Competitive Athlete: Mind Gym
A running proverb says that running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. Many competitive athletes will tell you that’s true! Still, for many runners, the mental aspect of the sport is the most challenging. Mind Gym is an athlete’s guide to mental toughness. The book takes you through the whys behind our mental hang-ups and then explains how to fix them. The steps are simple, easy to follow, and can be implemented right away. While Mind Gym isn’t written exclusively with runners in mind, this may actually be an advantage. Individuals can apply the stories and examples to themselves without being pigeon-holed into a particular way of looking at the sport. This book is a must for anyone who trains hard and is looking for that “extra edge” to improve their performance!
Let’s face it – injuries happen to the best of us. While nearly 90 percent of runners will get injured at some point in their running careers, there’s plenty we can do to prevent injury. The Long Distance Runner’s Guide to Injury Prevention and Treatment is a new book that addresses the most common running injuries. It also helps runners figure out how to prevent them and treat them if they happen. Useful for coaches, longtime runners, and beginners alike, this book will help you identify your weaknesses and give you practical tools to strengthen your body and improve your form. It may not be the most exciting book on our list, but it’s almost certainly the most useful.
Olympian Shalane Flanagan just became the first U.S. woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years, so she must be doing something right! Her popular cookbook collaboration with Elyse Kopecky features nutritious, delicious recipes that are healthy without being complicated. After all, most runners would rather spend their time running than cooking! Flanagan and Kopecky’s book focuses on whole foods and provides a “purpose” for each recipe. Whether you’re looking for a post-workout recovery snack, a pre-long run meal, or something in between, you’re sure to find it here.
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