Whether you’re a new runner training for your first race or an experienced marathoner, it always helps to have a few words of advice and inspiration from others on the track to stay focused on your goals. Here’s the lowdown on three recently published running books that are definitely worth a read.

How Bad Do You Want It? – Matt Fitzgerald
The greatest athletic performances spring from the mind, not the body. Elite athletes have known this for decades and now science is learning why it’s true. In his fascinating new book, coach, author and sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald examines more than a dozen pivotal races to discover the surprising ways elite athletes strengthen their mental toughness. Each chapter of How Bad Do You Want It? (pictured above) explores the how and why of an elite athlete’s transformative moment, revealing powerful new psychobiological principles you can practice to flex your own mental fitness.

A look at Japan's culture of running
A look at Japan’s culture of running

The Way of the Runner – Adharanand Finn
Welcome to Japan, the most running-obsessed nation on earth, where a long-distance relay race is the country’s biggest annual sporting event; companies sponsor their own running teams, employing athletes; and marathon monks run a thousand marathons in a thousand days to reach spiritual enlightenment.

Finn, whose previous work includes the award-winning Running with the Kenyans – moved to Japan to discover more about this unique running culture and what it might teach us about the sport and about Japan. What he learned – about competition, about team work, about beating your personal bests, about form and about himself – will fascinate anyone who is keen to explore why we run, and how we might do it better.

Part self-help guide part training manual
Part self-help guide part training manual

Running Your First Ultra – Krissy Moehl
With 15 years of running and racing experience under her belt, Krissy Moehl is a top ultramarathoner, respected by her peers and an inspiration to runners everywhere. Between Moehl’s positive and encouraging attitude and her deep knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, she makes for an ideal mentor to prepare and train you for your first ultra and beyond! Her experience translates into the most effective and easy-to-follow training method, broken down into phases to help all runners take it to the next level and accomplish their goals. A light and engaging read, the book also comes with helpful tips, bonus content and personal stories from Moehl.

This is probably the funniest thing you'll read about running
This is probably the funniest thing you’ll read about running

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – Matthew Inman
Matthew Inman AKA The Oatmeal claims in his blurb that this is not just a book about running. It’s a book about gluttony, vanity, bliss, electrical storms, ranch dressing, and Godzilla. It’s a book about all the terrible and wonderful reasons we wake up each day and propel our bodies through rain, shine, heaven, and hell. The bestselling writer and cartoonist echoes what most of us think during a run but rarely say through this hilarious, beautiful, poignant collection of comics and stories.

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