If you’re a runner, you know the power of a good playlist. But have you ever considered the impact of a great audiobook? In this guide, we introduce you to the best running audiobooks designed to transform your running experience. These aren’t just books to listen to while running; these are audiobooks about running—works that dive deep into its culture, mindset, and techniques.
From trailblazing autobiographies to in-depth training guides, our list of the best audiobooks about running offers something for everyone, no matter your pace or preference. So, put on your running shoes, grab your earbuds, and let’s dive into the transformative world of running audiobooks.
- The Best Running Audiobooks
- Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
- Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
- Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor
- Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
- Running Home by Katie Arnold
- Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
- Into the Furnace by Cory Reese
- How to Lose a Marathon by Joel A. Cohen
- My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman
- What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
- Choosing to Run by Des Linden
- Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
- Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman
- Running to the Edge by Matthew Futterman
- Running Man by Charlie Engle
- Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
- 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi
- The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal
- Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
- 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald
- Training Essentials for Ultrarunning by Jason Koop
- The Science of Running by Steve Magness
- Can't Nothing Bring Me Down by Ida Keeling
- Run the World by Becky Wade
- The Way of the Runner by Adharanand Finn
- Benefits of Listening to Audiobooks While Running
- How to Choose the Right Running Audiobook
The Best Running Audiobooks
Below are some of the best running audiobooks that can enlighten, inspire, and entertain you during your runs.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Christopher McDougall takes us on an epic adventure to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara Indians, a tribe known for their incredible long-distance running abilities. This audiobook explores the history, biology, and philosophy behind running, offering valuable insights that can change the way you view this primal activity. It’s not just a story; it’s an invitation to understand the human potential for endurance.
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
At the age of 40, Rich Roll undertook an incredible transformation, going from an overweight and unhealthy individual to an ultra-endurance athlete. In Finding Ultra, Roll delves into the mindset shifts, dietary changes, and relentless training that propelled him into the world of ultra-endurance sports. This audiobook serves as both an inspiring memoir and a guide to pushing your own limits.
Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor
Olympic medalist Deena Kastor shares her life’s journey in Let Your Mind Run, focusing on the power of positive thinking. This is an inspiring story of how a young runner transformed into an elite athlete by harnessing the power of her own mind. Perfect for those who seek not just to run better but to live better.
Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Dean Karnazes is no ordinary runner; he’s an ultramarathoner who has pushed his body to unbelievable limits. In this exhilarating audiobook, Karnazes recounts his mind-bending adventures, including running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. It’s a riveting tale that not only entertains but also motivates you to rethink the boundaries of human potential.
Running Home by Katie Arnold
Katie Arnold’s Running Home is more than just an audiobook about running; it’s an intimate look into the role of running in coping with life’s challenges. After losing her father, Arnold turns to running as a form of therapy, discovering along the way that it provides a profound sense of freedom and control. This touching memoir is perfect for anyone who has turned to running as a form of emotional release.
Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
Alexandra Heminsley had no illusions of athleticism when she first laced up her running shoes. Running Like a Girl is her candid, humorous account of transforming from a reluctant jogger into a marathon runner. The audiobook is relatable, honest, and serves as a wonderful primer for those new to running or anyone looking for a bit of motivational humor.
Into the Furnace by Cory Reese
Running through Death Valley in the middle of summer sounds like a form of torture, but for ultrarunner Cory Reese, it’s a challenge to be met head-on. Into the Furnace delves into the world of extreme running and what it takes to compete in one of the toughest foot races on Earth. This audiobook will have you questioning the limits of human endurance and your own mental fortitude.
Listen at Audible
How to Lose a Marathon by Joel A. Cohen
If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted take on running, How to Lose a Marathon by Joel A. Cohen is for you. Written by an Emmy-winning writer for The Simpsons, this audiobook offers a comical look at the highs and lows of preparing for a marathon, told from the perspective of a beginner. It’s an amusing yet informative listen for anyone who wants to learn about marathoning while having a good laugh.
Listen at Audible
My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman
CNN correspondent Tom Foreman takes us through his journey from being a middle-aged couch potato to completing three marathons and an ultramarathon in just one year. My Year of Running Dangerously is not only about running; it’s also a touching story of a father connecting with his daughter through a shared love for the sport. It’s an audiobook that will inspire you to lace up for love, family, and life.
What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
Renowned novelist Haruki Murakami shares his deeply personal thoughts on running and how it has influenced his writing and worldview. Blending memoir and meditation, this audiobook delves into the solitary, reflective nature of both running and writing. It’s a philosophical treat that promises to elevate your understanding of why you run.
Choosing to Run by Des Linden
Des Linden made headlines when she became the first American woman in 33 years to win the Boston Marathon in 2018. Choosing to Run delves into her mindset, training regimen, and the incredible journey leading to this monumental win. Her story serves as an inspiring example of the grit, determination, and hard work required to succeed in long-distance running.
Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
Ever wondered why Kenyans dominate the world of long-distance running? In Running with the Kenyans, Adharanand Finn explores this phenomenon by living and training with some of Kenya’s best runners. The audiobook offers unique insights into the culture, lifestyle, and training secrets that have made Kenyan runners legendary, all while weaving a compelling narrative that pulls you along with every stride.
Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman
Lauren Fleshman, a professional distance runner and advocate for women in sports, delves into the challenges and triumphs of being a female athlete in Good for a Girl. This audiobook provides not just training tips but also candid discussions about body image, sponsorship, and the unique hurdles women face in the sport of running.
Running to the Edge by Matthew Futterman
Running to the Edge follows the story of the little-known coach Bob Larsen and his efforts to unlock the potential of American distance runners through new training techniques and a shift in mindset. Through a mix of storytelling and sports science, this audiobook illuminates how Larsen’s methods revolutionized running and inspired a new generation of elite athletes.
Running Man by Charlie Engle
In Running Man, Charlie Engle recounts his transformation from drug addict to accomplished ultramarathoner, racing in some of the most inhospitable conditions on earth. His gripping story is not only about physical endurance but also about conquering personal demons and finding redemption through the power of running.
Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
One of the greatest ultramarathoners of all time, Scott Jurek, takes you on a journey through his career and shares his transition to plant-based eating in Eat and Run. This audiobook is as much about nourishing the body as it is about endurance, making it a great listen for those interested in the nutritional aspects of long-distance running.
26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi
Meb Keflezighi, one of the most celebrated runners in American history, offers a detailed look into each of the 26 marathons he ran during his career. Through his experiences, you get invaluable lessons about discipline, failure, success, and resilience. It’s a must-listen for anyone aiming to tackle 26.2 miles, or just seeking inspiration for any challenge in life.
The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal
Host of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal shares his running journey in a memoir that is both humorous and heartfelt. The Incomplete Book of Running covers Sagal’s adventures, from his start as a casual jogger to becoming a Boston Marathon pacer, all while exploring how running helped him through personal struggles and life changes.
Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
This intriguing audiobook by Tibetan lama Sakyong Mipham bridges the worlds of running and meditation. Mipham explains how the two activities are fundamentally linked and offers practical tips to incorporate mindfulness into your running routine. Ideal for those seeking a more meditative and spiritually enriching running experience.
80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald
If you’re interested in the science of running and optimizing your training, 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald is for you. This audiobook promotes the principle of running slower to race faster, advocating for 80% of your runs to be at a low intensity and the remaining 20% at a high intensity. It’s a treasure trove of training advice backed by scientific research.
Training Essentials for Ultrarunning by Jason Koop
If you’re contemplating or already immersed in the world of ultramarathons, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning is your go-to guide. Authored by renowned coach Jason Koop, this audiobook breaks down the science and art of ultra-distance running, providing tailored advice and training plans that help you achieve your best performance.
Listen at Audible
The Science of Running by Steve Magness
Designed for those who love the nitty-gritty details, The Science of Running by Steve Magness delves deep into the physiological, psychological, and biomechanical aspects of running. The book aims to bridge the gap between scientific research and practical application, making it a great companion for runners who want to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘how.’
Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down by Ida Keeling
Ida Keeling isn’t your typical runner; she set a world record for the 100-meter dash at 95 years old! Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down is Keeling’s memoir where she shares her life journey, including how she took up running in her late sixties to heal from personal tragedy. Her story is a testament to the ageless potential of running and its healing power.
Run the World by Becky Wade
Elite runner Becky Wade takes listeners on a global tour of running cultures in Run the World. From the mountains of Switzerland to the coasts of New Zealand, Wade explores how different cultures approach running and training. It’s a fantastic audiobook for those who love to combine their passions for travel and running.
The Way of the Runner by Adharanand Finn
In a follow-up to his earlier book Running with the Kenyans, Adharanand Finn travels to Japan to explore the country’s unique and somewhat mysterious running culture. From corporate relay teams to the fascinating world of Ekiden, The Way of the Runner offers a glimpse into why Japan produces some of the world’s best distance runners.
Listen at Audible
Each of these running audiobooks offers a unique lens through which to view the world of running, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of this universal yet deeply personal activity. With stories of perseverance, scientific insights, and cross-cultural explorations, there’s no shortage of inspiration to fuel your next run.
Benefits of Listening to Audiobooks While Running
Incorporating audiobooks into your running routine can bring a multidimensional richness that enhances both your physical and mental experience. Whether you’re looking for that extra dose of motivation or aiming to deepen your understanding of running, the world of running audiobooks has something to offer you. Below are some of the key benefits you’ll enjoy:
1. Enhanced Motivation
Hearing stories about overcoming adversity or achieving incredible athletic feats can serve as a fantastic motivator. When the going gets tough, running audiobooks can give you that extra push to cross the finish line.
2. Mental Engagement
Let’s face it—running can sometimes get monotonous. Audiobooks provide an excellent distraction, making those long distances feel a bit shorter as you get lost in an inspiring or captivating story.
3. Improved Training
Audiobooks about running often contain invaluable tips and advice from seasoned runners and coaches. These insights can become part of your training strategy, helping you to optimize your performance.
4. Enhanced Mindfulness
Some running audiobooks delve into the psychology or spirituality of running. These can help you engage in a more mindful run, connecting your body and mind in a way that can make your running more enjoyable and fulfilling.
5. Learning While Running
Who says you can’t multitask while running? With audiobooks, you can consume valuable knowledge, whether it’s about running techniques, nutrition, or even unrelated subjects that you’re interested in.
6. Increased Emotional Resilience
Many running audiobooks delve into the mental hurdles athletes face. Learning about how others have overcome obstacles can give you the emotional tools you need to conquer your own challenges.
7. Community Connection
Listening to stories about races, running communities, and shared experiences can deepen your connection to the global running community, making you feel like a part of something much larger than yourself.
How to Choose the Right Running Audiobook
Selecting an audiobook specifically about running can amplify your experience on the track or trail. Here are some quick tips to guide your choice:
1. Define Your Goal
Looking for training tips, inspirational stories, or the science behind running? Identify what you aim to get out of the audiobook.
2. Duration Match
For shorter runs, pick an audiobook with shorter chapters or segments. Long runs may benefit from more in-depth material.
3. Narrator’s Voice
A sample listen can help you decide if the narrator’s style complements your run. A motivational tone might push you further, for example.
4. Context Matters
If you’re training for a specific race, look for books that focus on that type of event—be it marathons, ultramarathons, or short distances.
5. Community Picks
Check out recommendations in running communities such as r/running on Reddit. Fellow runners can point you to audiobooks that have helped them in their journeys.
If you’re new to the world of audiobooks, getting started is easier than you might think. There are several platforms where you can access a wide range of audiobooks about running, including services like Audible, Audiobooks.com, and Scribd. These platforms offer free trials, allowing you to explore different genres and styles without any initial investment.
Running offers an unparalleled sense of freedom, a time when you can stretch your legs as well as your imagination. Adding the dimension of audiobooks to your routine can make each outing not only an exercise for the body but also nourishment for the mind. Whether you’re a novice runner looking for motivation or a seasoned athlete seeking to fine-tune your skills, there’s an audiobook about running that’s perfect for you.
So the next time you lace up those running shoes, don’t forget to grab your earbuds. The right narrative can turn your run into an adventure, a classroom, or a meditation session on the move. Dive into this multifaceted world of running audiobooks, and elevate your running experience to new heights.
Happy running and happy listening!