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Movies give me that quick hit of inspiration when I need a push to get out the door. Books, on the other hand, provide me with so much more than that. Yes they are motivating, but the stories the authors share also give me more knowledge, insight and appreciation than a two hour film can. The lessons learned and wisdom gained can be carried into all areas of my life, not just running.


Biographies are my preferred style of book, following an athlete from humble beginnings to the top of their game. It doesn't matter to me that the authors are not accomplished writers, that they aren't going to win any literary awards. I just want to listen to their story, to hear how they went from a "regular" life to elite almost by accident. They often aren't born into super-sporty families, there was never any inkling that they could achieve incredible feats. But life took them down a path that allowed them to discover a hidden talent, and they took full advantage of this to become the best that they could be.

Below I have listed the books in the running and adventure genre that I have personally read, in no particular order. They are accompanied by a brief review of my thoughts after reading each book. For more details on what the stories are about, see Google. There are roughly a thousand more books on my to-read list, and I will update this page as I get through them. If you have a personal favourite that you think I should check out, feel free to send me a message with your recommendation. Happy reading!

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Running & Adventure Biographies

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Born to Run

Christopher McDougall

​The classic, the original, the one everyone has heard of. Yep, like many others this was the first running book I read that didn't involve pace calculations and training plans. I was instantly hooked, and eagerly sought out further adventure stories (as you can see by this list here). When I read it I had recently returned from a holiday to Mexico, visiting the Copper Canyon and meeting the Tarahumara people, but I had no idea of the famous running tribe living in the area. It would have changed my outlook immensely. But back to the book - the people, the adventures, and snippets of running history and the build up to one of the great unknown showdowns engrossed me from start to finish. While I'm not ready to adopt the barefoot running craze, or commence a pinole diet, it did inspire me to get out into nature more often and just run for the sake of running. The only thing that grated me was the author's depiction of Ann Trason. She is one of the greatest female ultrarunners of all time and deserved to be treated better than she was. Aside from this, it is still one of the best running books I have read.

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Lizzy Hawker

What a legend Lizzy Hawker is! I didn't know much about her before reading this book, but she has achieved some phenomenal feats. Lizzy seemed to accidentally fall into running in her twenties, coming from relative obscurity to win the famous UTMB. And not just once: five times, a record that still stands today. She has set world records, has held numerous fastest known times on trails around the world, and generally just seems to be born to run. She talks a lot about her personal life, where she achieved a PhD in physical oceanography and carried a job that wasn't necessarily conducive to running (can you imagine training on a ship in Antarctica for months at a time?). The story is a bit disjointed and I started to tune out in the last section where it becomes more philosophical, but her adventures inspire me dream big and never give up.

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Eat and Run

Scott Jurek

​Is there anything this man can't do? Winning Western States 100 an insane seven times is just the tip of the iceberg. But this book isn't just about running (and eating) - it's about who he is as a person, his relationships, his motivations, his struggles. Don't read this looking for a training plan and running drills, read this book for someone who could achieve the extraordinary and open up the idea of endurance athletes thriving on a plant-based diet to the world. The writing is simple and boastful, and he comes across as a bit of a douche at times, but you can't deny that he is one of the best and he deserves to have his story told. With a few vegan recipes thrown in too there is something for everyone in this book.​

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A Life Without Limits

Chrissie Wellington

​I'm pretty sure this woman is living most athlete's dream. Just your average swimmer growing up, never looked like sport was going to be a major part of her life until out of nowhere she discovered she could run and cycle too. Before she knew it, she was the Ironman world champion. Wouldn't it be great to discover a hidden talent that you just happen to do better than anyone else? Her training sounded like a nightmare though, and the bitchiness between training partners I could do without. An easy, fascinating read that draws you in to all her highs and lows over the years. 

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Run or Die

Kilian Jornet

​From one of the biggest names in ultrarunning today, you know this is going to be an epic story. He started out at a young age, crossing the Pyrenees with his parents as a child, and from that moment on his entire life seemed to be dedicated to outdoor adventure. His love of nature and the pure act of running clearly shines through, and his ability to push his body to extremes others can only dream of is mind-blowing. I didn't learn how to be a better ultrarunner by reading this book, there were no running tips or exercise plans, but that's not what I wanted as I read his story. I wanted an adventure, and that's what I got. I just hope he writes a follow up to recount all of his achievements since this book was published in 2013.

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The Pants of Perspective

Anna McNuff

​What an adventure! Running over 3000 km along the length of New Zealand is incredible in anyone's book, but doing it unsupported carrying a 14+ kg backpack every day is insane. I couldn't put the book down as I was gripped by the highs and lows of her journey, astounded that she made it through the harsh and inhospitable conditions. Her warm and social personality shone through, which I didn't fully relate to - I'm as shy as they come around strangers. But thanks to this book the Te Araroa Trail is now on my bucket list as a place to explore one day (although I'm not sure about the whole 14 kg on the back part).  

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Finding Ultra

Rich Roll

​What do you do when you're almost forty, an alcoholic, overweight, and so unfit you can barely climb a set of stairs? You become vegan and start training for an Ultraman (that would be a DOUBLE Ironman). And if that wasn't enough, how about the EPIC5: five Ironman triathlons on five of Hawaii's islands in a week. Crazy? You bet. But the transformation he achieved (eventually being crowned one of the fittest men on earth) goes to show that anyone can do it and it is never too late. This book is part athletic achievements and part plant-based diet guide. As a fairly new vegan when I read this it quickly converted me to breakfast smoothies, a ritual that I continue to this day. As soon as I moved to Asia one of my first purchases was a decent blender. I don't go in for the exotic ingredients Roll seems keen on promoting, but I always look forward to my first meal of the day (I never said that when I was eating Weetbix for breakfast). While recipes weren't included (you can check out his other books for these), there is a lengthy resources section at the back for further information. If you can get past the frequent sales pitches for every other product Roll sells, you will find one inspirational story that is definitely worth a read.

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Sky Runner

Emelie Forsberg

​This is more of a coffee table book than a detailed autobiography, but the breathtaking photos make it worth the purchase. Her race/climbing recaps provided a unique insight into courses I will never experience myself, and her positivity shines through on the pages. The poor editing made for awkward reading at times, and I could have done without the recipe and yoga sections (which seemed to take up as much of the book as her life story). A simple, practical book that left me immensely jealous of her carefree lifestyle, but I wish I had learned a little more about who Emelie Forsberg is and where she came from.

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Running Man

Charlie Engle

When a booking titled "Running Man" opens with a chapter of the author in a prison cell, you know you're in for one fascinating adventure. After battling a decade-long alcohol and drug addiction that led to more than one brush with death, Engle found running to be a key part of his recovery. He quickly discovered that marathons weren't enough - he had to go after the most extreme endurance events. Running across the Sahara: check. Running/cycling across America: check. Not even a 16 month stint in jail could slow him down. Each chapter provided another of his monumental feats that kept me captivated page after page. Well written, fast-paced, inspiring.

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Let your mind run

Deena Kastor & Michelle Hamilton

Before I read this book, Deena Kastor was just a famous American marathon runner, but I soon discovered that she is so much more than that. The champion of numerous races and holder of several U.S. records, she started out her professional career as a cross-country star before even considering running a marathon. I found her story fascinating, and I was intrigued by the different tactics she used to overcome her competitors. Deena often discussed the mental side of her training and racing, some of which I found a bit airy-fairy, but other ideas I could see being practical. At the end she lists several positive psychology strategies others can use in any aspect of their life, which may be useful for some. It is amazing how privileged elite athletes are, but despite these advantages I think Deena Kastor is a woman who was born to excel in running.

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Ultramarathon Man

Dean Karnazes

​Amazing man. Amazing achievements. 100% jealous of what he has accomplished in the field of ultrarunning. But the self-indulgent tone throughout the book was difficult to look past. It was an easy, quick read, highlighting triumph after triumph of superhuman feat that made me feel substandard for not being able to go out the door today and run 226 miles non-stop. He absolutely deserves to share his story, and many will enjoy the ride. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Will I read it again? Probably not.

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Dirty Inspirations

Terri Schneider

​Terri is an ultra-endurance machine! She has covered almost every endurance sport there is and never ceases to push herself to the extreme. I am absolutely in awe of what she has accomplished, and loved the journey she took me on as she recounted just a handful of her adventures. In between the narratives, however, were all the life lessons she has learned along the way. I can see how others would be interested in these, but I found myself tuning out when they inevitably popped up in each chapter. I don't need to get into the psychology of her life, I just want the action. Still, it was an inspiring read.

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Feet in the Clouds

Richard Askwith

​Fell running. Something I know absolutely nothing about, which made it really hard for me to get into this book. I can see why the book is so highly rated, but the continuous lists of people and places that have zero meaning to me had my mind wandering on every other page. The author's personal quest to finish the Bob Graham round was captivating, as well as his first hand race reports, and these were the only reasons I continued reading until the end. If you're a fell runner or in any way interested in the sport, then you should definitely grab a copy. If not, you're probably not the target audience for this book.

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Running Free

Richard Askwith

​This book reminded me a lot of Born to Run. The author frequently switched between present day running tales and the history of some aspect related to running or fitness, much in the same way that Christopher McDougall did in his acclaimed book. In Running Free, Askwith is taking a stand against "Big Running" (i.e. the commercialisation of the sport) and encouraging us to get back to what running is supposed to be about - nature, community, no fancy gear, no pressure. In the middle of all this he explains the pros and cons of obstacle course racing, the backstory of the Hash House Harriers, and why Park Run has sold out. These informative chapters were interesting, but what drew me in were the descriptions of his running adventures, often with his dog Nutmeg, in the rugged English countryside. I'm not ready to abandon all my creature comforts (I like the cushioning in my shoes and my moisture-wicking tops) but I appreciate the message he is trying to get across: running should be about what happens to you on the inside, not what is forced on us from the outside. 

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Running with the Kenyans

Adharanand Finn

​What is the secret that makes the Kenyans the best runners in the world? The author is determined to find out, so he picks up his life and takes his family from England to Iten, Kenya (a.k.a. running mecca) for six months. Finn trained as the locals did and investigated numerous theories as to why the Kenyans dominate this sport. He applied many of the lessons learnt to his own running, with the final goal of completing a sub 3-hour marathon. In the end his conclusion to their secret is a bit of a letdown, but this doesn't detract from the insight he gives us into the everyday life of an Kenyan runner. This book is more of a diary of Finn's experiences while in Kenya, rather than an analysis of the Kenyan running culture or the inherent poverty that obviously runs deep within the community (although these themes do come up). I didn't find myself wanting to move to Kenya after reading this story, but I did enjoy reading about a life far different from my own.

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The Way of the Runner

Adharanand Finn

​I was gripped when I commenced this book - the times that Japanese runners have been achieving in local races blew me away. And the idea of competing in ekiden relays, a sport I knew almost nothing about, captivated me. I loved reading about the family's transition to living in Japan, something I can relate to after living in three Asian countries, and I found myself nodding my head at the unusual cultural differences you only see when you truly immerse yourself in a foreign land. But after a while my interest faded. A large chunk of the book seemed to list ekiden after ekiden, and they all rolled into one for me. Although they were broken up by intriguing anecdotes, I was longing to get to the end so I didn't have to read about another race competed by athletes I had never heard of representing companies that meant nothing to me. I felt awful that bad luck prevented the author from fulfilling his dream at the end of this journey, but I'm glad he (sort of) made amends once he returned to England. The conclusions he drew about Japanese running provide some thought-provoking ideas, and it makes me wonder if we will see more of a dominance of Japanese runners in the coming decades as old theories are replaced with new training principles.  

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Just a Little Run around the World

Rosie Swale Pope

Who, at the age of 57, decides they're going to pack up their life to run around the entire world for five years? Rosie, that's who. In a tribute to her late husband, Rosie sets out on this unbelievable mission where she survives -65°C Siberia (requiring seven layers of thermals and four sleeping bags!), being held up at knife point, frostbite, getting hit by a bus, and several animal encounters. But what shines through is the kindness and generosity of strangers, who far outnumber those who try to bring her down. While her story is incredible, her writing lets her down. I found myself getting frustrated at the constant thanking of people and sponsors, making it feel like one long acknowledgements section. I wanted to read about the day-to-day adventures and the physical and mental challenges she overcame, not who flew out to give her a free pair of shoes. But if you can look past this, you'll find a great tale here.



Scott Jurek

​"Imagine running 84 marathons. Consecutively." Umm, nope, can't do it. This wasn't the first book I read on the Appalachian Trail and like the initial story I indulged in, this one had me longing to fly to the States to see the route for myself. Each chapter gave an account of a section from both Scott's and his wife's perspective, which provided an interesting insight into the unimaginable feat. Clearly emotions were running high throughout the exhausting experience, and there was no attempt to cover up how both parties broke down from over the weeks. Like Jurek's first book, the writing from both parties was very simplistic, making for a quick read. If you want to know what it takes to set the Fastest Known Time on a seriously long trail (including dealing with the doubters), then this is the book for you.

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Natural Born Heroes

Christopher McDougall

​I think I was in the wrong section of the bookstore - this is definitely more of a history book than a running tale. And the story it told wasn’t particularly captivating (or easy to follow) until I reached the last quarter of the book. The plot jumped around all over the place, the dozens of characters were impossible to keep track of, and the frequent allusions to an amazing “special diet” and to the power of “natural movement” was infuriating. These two themes were actually the most interesting part of the book, but they only expanded on in detail briefly right at the end. Also, the link between these topics and the central story about kidnapping a German General on Crete was tenuous at best. If you are a World War II history buff you will love this adventure. If not, it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a running book.

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Haruki Murakami

Murakami is one of those people who have a fascinating life, the type you could talk to for hours and be captivated by all the stories he has to tell. One of those stories is about running. Like Muramaki, I feel at times like I live to run. When I run, everything else in life is easier. It's my alone time with my thoughts, it sets me up for the day. It keeps me sane. Murakami is not trying to convince anyone that running is the answer to their problems, but rather he was sharing what has worked for him.

I don't usually go in for the reflective, philosophical-style books, and I often forget the story as soon as I have read it. This was no exception. However because the subject-matter was so close to heart I found that I enjoyed parts of it while I was reading it. I think I will value it more in 10-20 years time, as a large chunk of the story concerns the effects of aging on his running. It's not at the top of my must-read list, but many will appreciate the author's sentiment.

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Training Guides

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Build Your Running Body

Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz & Melissa Breyer

​This is the most comprehensive book I have ever read on running technique. It breaks down anatomy, physiology, workouts and splits to make sure you're targeting your training from every direction possible. It also includes plans to help you incorporate all the information together. Although it doesn't cover ultras I still found the information invaluable, and I continually refer back to it to build my own running plans. It seems to live by my bedside table. If you are looking for a more in depth guide than your regular training books, check this one out.

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Running Your First Ultra

Krissy Moehl

​Finally, an ultramarathon guide book written by a female! Moehl is the queen of ultras and has won numerous events on the big stage, so she knows a thing or two about running. This book is split up into topics that covers absolutely every facet of running, and even has a female-specific chapter which covers subjects that regular guides don't. This is a perfect book for those just getting started in ultras, but veterans could learn a thing or two as well. She includes training plans from 50 km up to 100 miles, with detailed descriptions for key workouts. The plans are split up into phases (e.g. hills, speed, endurance), all of which include recovery weeks. Each week starts with a summary of what to expect over the coming days, and is a great guide for those looking into periodised training plans. The 72 km long run over four months out from race day seemed a bit excessive to me, as well as a 48 week long 100 mile training program. However there is plenty of valuable material in here to keep me coming back to the book again and again.

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Relentless Forward Progress

Bryon Powell

​I bought this book as I started training for my first ultra and, as a relative newby to trail running, soaked up every word. From the guy behind, an authoritative voice in the ultra scene, you know it’s full of wisdom and experience. Straightforward, non-technical and perfect for anyone wanting the application without too much theory. He sets up a debate for and against speed training, and provides training plans for both (from 50 km to 100 miles). Coming from a road background, I still incorporated tempo and interval workouts, more out of habit than anything else. Now that I’ve run a few ultra I prefer a book with a bit more substance, but for beginners or people who prefer a simplistic approach to training, this is a handy resource.

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Thrive Fitness

Brendan Brazier

​The author is not a runner but he is a successful Ironman triathlete and a vegan. This book covers training and nutrition in roughly equal proportions, and includes exercise plans with photo instructions for general fitness (aerobic and strength-based) as well as plant-based recipes. The fitness section is designed to be added to your current exercise program, and discusses other important elements such as sleep, stress and meditation. It was this book that inspired me to buy a Jungle Gym (well, a cheaper version anyway), which I used routinely at home instead of splurging on a gym membership. The recipes are heavily geared towards convincing you to buy Brazier's own line of plant-based products, so I didn't make these foods too often. This book is probably not aimed at absolute newbies, but better serves those exercising semi-regularly and want to step up their current training program. For anyone wanting to delve deeper into nutrition, consider Thrive or any of Brazier's other books.

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Anatomy for Runners

Jay Dicharry

​If you have ever wanted to study exercise physiology at university but didn't want to spend four years doing it, just read this book instead. It's deep. It's so deep that I could read this book five times and still not remember 99% of it. I would pick up the book each night and have no recollection of what I had read the night before. The author is obviously incredibly knowledgeable and provides theories that go against the grain of what's accepted these days (A and B skip drills? Nope. Run backwards instead. Every. Single. Run). The diagnostic tests for mobility and strength are a handy resource to have, and offer exercises to help correct weak or inflexible parts of the body (many of which I struggle to complete). I can't say this is my favourite book on the shelf but if you have a physiology background and want to delve deeper into the runner's body, this is the book for you.

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Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning

Hal Koerner

​This was another purchase in the lead up to my first 50 km event. All the reviews said this was the book to buy to learn everything there is about trail and ultra running and, as a newcomer to the sport, it didn't disappoint. Written by a man who has more than 90 ultramarathon podium finishes, it would be pretty tough to ignore the advice given. This book doesn't describe incredible race stories that will motivate you to get out the door, and it's not going to be useful if you have completed tons of ultras already. Rather it's a practical guide covering trail racing essentials, as well as many of the mistakes Koerner made along the way. Basic training plans are included from the 50 km up to 100 miles distance, and surprisingly there isn't much of a weekly mileage difference between the two extremes. It made me believe that if I could finish a 50 km, then it would be possible to do a 100 miler one day. 

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No Meat Athlete

Matt Frazier

​From the host of the No Meat Athlete podcast, who is a vegan, Boston Marathon qualifier and 100 mile runner. He is not a scientist, not a coach but he is living the vegan runner lifestyle and is sharing his experience with others. This is a handy resource for any runner but is probably most beneficial for:

        - Runners considering the switch or who are new to a plant-based diet.

        - Vegans who are new to running.

In its easy to understand, non-preachy style it clearly lays out how veganism and exercise can work together (while dispelling a few common myths along the way). There are training plans for 5k, 10k and 21.1k, nutrition and workout principles, and even how to help make running a habit (for those low on motivation). In the middle is a comprehensive recipe section, covering both daily meals and fueling for sports. What I particularly loved is Frazier's "formulas", where he provides suggestions for different ingredients and you can pick and choose based on preference or what's available. I have adopted this approach in pretty much everything I make now, and almost never follow a standard recipe. If you're not ready to splurge on the book, the No Meat Athlete blog also has tons of valuable information that covers much of the same content. This was one of my first resources when I turned vegan and it helped me immensely during this time. 

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Quick Strength for Runners

Jeff Horowitz

​Firstly, I wouldn't call this "quick", and I highly disagree with the description on the back that says "two 20 minute workouts per week". Sure, the workouts start simple and definitely fit within the stated time frame, but in the second half of the eight week plan it was taking me up to 40 minutes per workout (including a short rest between exercises but excluding the warm up). Each of the 40 exercises detailed in the book is broken down to a point where a monkey could follow it (which I appreciate - I hate ambiguous wording in workout descriptions) and accompanied by colour photographs. All exercises can be completed at home with minimal equipment, and advanced forms are offered. At the end these exercises are combined into 16 different workouts that progressively increase in reps and difficulty. For anyone who has completed strength training before there probably isn't much new information here. But for people like me who wouldn't do any strength training without having a structured guide to follow (and not willing to hand over money for a personal trainer), this is perfect. Of course everyone is going to debate whether each exercise it truly helping your running form or not, and all coaches will have different approaches to strength training, but for an all-round general strength workout I have found this resource valuable. 

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Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot

John L. Parker Jr.

I decided to try out heart rate training after completing my first ultra. I wanted a new perspective, to tackle training from a different angle, and this seemed to be the most popular training tool at the time. It was fantastic at first, forcing me to slow down to keep my heart rate under a certain threshold. A month later I moved to Asia. Who know that humidity had such a detrimental effect on the operation of heart rate monitors? I could only get through a kilometre or two before it told me my heart rate had increased to 230 beats per minute and I was way out of my target zone (and above my theoretical maximum). So that put an end to heart rate zone training. But on a positive note, while in Australia I followed the advice in this book and significantly decreased the pace of my easy runs. Since this time I have noticed a remarkable improvement in my times at faster paces, and I enjoy running more as I don't feel as though I have to push out a hard effort on every run. To this day I still ensure I maintain the slow paced easy runs for the majority of my training sessions, and only increase the speed for specific workouts. Although I didn't spend long following the specific heart rate zone workouts, I'm glad I learned the lesson of slowing down to speed up.

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the brave athlete

The Brave Athlete

Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson

One of the more psychology-heavy manuals of the sports psych books I have read, going deep into how the brain works and why the solutions offered work. Numerous topics are covered, including coping under pressure, dealing with injuries or disordered eating, imposter syndrome and learning to suffer - you will definitely find a chapter or two that resonates with you, no matter what type of athlete you are. The practical exercises are simple to understand and implement - I've already started doing some myself. There were a few surprises thrown in, such as the futility of motivational quotes and memes (Simon really hates memes), how it's normal to be happy when others fail, and that there are times where you should focus intently on the pain and suffering you are about to endure (I'm more likely to pretend it's not going to happen). I was particularly drawn to the sarcastic, expletive-filled prose, giving the writing a more casual, not-too-serious feel, although I can see how it may turn off some people. I would recommend this book to help sort out all your mental crap and put you in the right mindset for your sport.

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The Happy Runner

David Roche & Megan Roche

​This is a book of two distinct halves, and could have been listed under the Training Guides section above. But I think their number one aim was to help you to become a "happy runner" and to learn how to enjoy the process, so I've put it here under Mindset.  Their insistence that "You are enough" is repeated roughly a million times throughout the book, and their positivity oozes off the pages, but it is broken up by healthy doses of sarcasm and pop culture references that had me laughing and coming back for more. I appreciated their key points surrounding the mental aspects of running, and they had me look at parts of my own training in a new light. The physical training section was a collection of strategies that wouldn't be new to experienced runners, but it was presented in an organised way that could be applied to runners of any level. I love the approach of their running club (which is advertised many, many, many times), and I think many coaches could learn a thing or two from their method. Overall, a humourous, easy read with practical advice that everyone could benefit from. 

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Peak Performance

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness

​This book offers loads of mental strategies to help boost performance, not just in sport but also in our everyday lives. It covers work, sleep, creativity, hobbies, down time - all aspects of our day can be improved in some way by applying the principles outlined by the authors. Most of us know that rest is important and have some idea of why, but do you really understand the complex physiological consequences of too little sleep, too much stress or the draining effects of decision-making? The book delves deep into the science of performing at our best without becoming too complex. Each chapter comes with an anecdote that summarises their point a little too neatly, but the application to real life is appreciated. The only difficulty I have is remembering all the useful information so I can practise the strategies in my daily life. If you have read extensively in this area then this book may be just a summary of the main points, but for those new to the mental side of training this is a fantastic resource to have.

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How Bad Do You Want It?

Matt Fitzgerald

​The answer is, apparently, not enough. Fitzgerald explores the latest research on the brain-body connection in relation to endurance sports without overwhelming the reader with too much information. Each chapter covers one principle that is conveniently highlighted by a legendary sporting story, which makes up most of the substance of the book. These stories kept me turning the pages more than the advice on mental toughness, not because the information was substandard but because I love a good adventure tale. The principles can be applied to endurance athletes from any field, however there wasn't any guide for how to implement these ideas into everyday training or racing. For anyone who wants an overview of mental strategies conveyed in an entertaining format, read this book. If you want more ideas, more details, more practicality, read elsewhere.

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The Champion Mindset

Joanna Zeiger

​As an Olympic-level runner and triathlete, with her fair share of setbacks, Joanna has more than enough experience to discuss the mental challenges that athletes face. This book is overflowing with advice and tips for how to overcome any situation, to the point where there might be actually too much information - there is no way I will be able to recall 95% of the details without constantly referring back to the appropriate chapters. My favourite part may have been the reference to the study showing that swearing is an effective pain relief tool, and is absolutely appropriate to use during racing and training to help cope with the demands at hand. Another memorable section that often comes to mind: "Find joy first, and success will come after". Good advice for any aspect of life.


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Once a Runner

John L. Parker Jr.

​If you have any interest in American collegiate-level track running, grab a copy of this novel now. I have zero interest in this topic; I have no idea why I picked it up. I struggled through the first half, not connecting with the numerous characters or the unique lives they lead that are so far removed from anything I have ever experienced. However the story took a twist in the middle, and suddenly I found I couldn't put the book down. I didn't want the book to end (and it doesn't; there's a sequel). There were numerous lines within the pages that seemed to encapsulate exactly how I have felt at one point or another in my running journey. This book will only appeal to a niche market, but if you do give it ago I recommend persevering through the first section for the dramatic climax at the end. You won't be disappointed.

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Run For Your Life

Matthew Batt

​Why do you run? It's a question I have been asked several times, and I don't feel I have ever given a satisfactory response. I can't describe what drives me to hit the roads or the trails day after day, repeating the same actions in an almost obsessive way. Batt wrote a short online story that explains his reason for taking up this sport, and describes what goes through his mind while he is pounding the pavement. It is not the customary response, but I suspect that it is more common than we realise. His honest portrayal of his inner demons was a refreshing change from most running biographies that have been published, and will resonate with many. A quick read, it can be found here at Outside Online.

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