Running Inspiration

Even though I feel like I spent most of 2019 on my feet, I also spent a lot of time with my nose in the pages of a book. Obviously, running tales were my top choice. Reading about other runners and their truly admirable feats kept me motivated when I thought of giving up (which is more often than I care to admit). I listed some of my favourites below; I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Running Inspiration – Ideas of inspiring running books.

Operation Ironman | George Mahood
George Mahood never fails to make me laugh, even when he recounts the story of his harrowing training for an Ironman triathlon just months after a major surgery to his spinal cord. Entertaining and inspiring, this book is a great motivation booster!

Jog On | Bella Mackie
I’m currently re-reading this book! Bella Mackie paints an honest and humorous picture of her battle with anxiety, and advocates running as a way to manage mental health issues. It’s not just anecdotal either: the book is filled with interesting statistics, inspiring stories and opinions from healthcare professionals. A good read, especially for those who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Running Like a Girl | Alexandra Heminsley
Running Like a Girl is a fun, motivational memoir full of excellent tips for beginner runners. I particularly liked that the author listed benefits of running beyond the usual ‘weight loss’ – a closer relationship with her father and brother, glowing skin, improved self-confidence, etc. Highly recommended for new and experienced runners alike!

Downhill From Here | Gavin Boyter
Gavin Boyter recounts his journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End as an ‘ordinary runner’ (his words). It can feel a bit repetitive at times – then again, so is running – but also very gripping. A pleasant little Kindle find!

Born to Run | Christopher McDougall
I learned so much while reading this one! It’s filled with scientific facts and amazing achievements, but most of the book is centred around the Tarahumara – a tribe of born ultra runners indigenous of Mexico’s Copper Canyons – and McDougall’s attempt at organising and training for a friendly competition (if you can call a 50-mile race in the desert ‘friendly’) between them and a group of American ultramarathoners. A must-read for anyone who has even the tiniest interest in running!

The Rise of Ultra Runners | Adharanand Finn
This is a fascinating essay on the growing popularity of ultra running with just the perfect balance of inspiration and information. I enjoyed reading about the author’s experience of training for and running several ultras, including the iconic UTMB.

401 | Ben Smith
The extraordinary tale of a man who set off to run 401 marathons – that’s over 10,000 miles! – in 401 days all over the UK. Ben Smith writes candidly about his journey and the difficulties he encountered along the way, which makes him somewhat relatable. The 401 Challenge has since grown into a foundation promoting wellness through physical activity and raising money for mental health charities. Truly inspiring!

Happy reading, happy running!

10 thoughts on “Running Inspiration

  1. Born to Run was transformative for me. I was fifteen years into a running hiatus due to chronic injury when I read that book. Based on his research, I rebooted my stride and have been running again for over five years. There’s nothing like a good running book to offer motivation. I recently read Finn’s ultrarunning book. Made me want to run the TMB. Buck-list item now.

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    1. Wow, talk about a life-changing book! I’m glad it got you back into running and I wish you many more injury-free running years! That book definitely got me thinking about my gait and made me wonder how much of it was shaped by spending my childhood barefoot (shoes were very optional around my house growing up, we only wore them to go out in public).

      The UTMB is totally a dream race! I’m not sure I’d have the stamina for it though! We were planning a trail running trip to Chamonix later this year, but I don’t think it will happen now… Maybe next year.


      1. Well I was thinking about just running the TMB as a multistage lodge-to-lodge run. I went hiking with Simon and Julie Freeman out of Chamonix last summer and they told me about how they ran the TMB for their honeymoon trip. BTW – if you haven’t checked out their magazine, it might be worthwhile–Finn is a frequent contributor.

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        1. Yes, I heard about ‘fastpacking’ trips. It sounds like a good alternative to the race and it would make a great holiday for sure! I heard of the magazine, but I never checke dit out. I’ll do that now! Thanks for sharing. 😊


  2. Hmmm I never really considered reading about running, but these do sound like good reads.

    You know, I have started running since we went into self isolation (along with half of Vancouver!!) I am still rubbish compared to you, but I run 4-6km most days now. I don’t think I am ready for proper trails in mountains, but it’s a nice way to see more blossoms.

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    1. They are excellent reads, especially if you enjoy memoirs.

      Yay, a new runner! Welcome to the tribe! 😉 I’m sure you’re very good – 4-6 km most days is excellent! To be honest, I’m not a very good runner either… Even after many years, I still have to stop and walk during most runs (asthma is not helping with that), but I run because I enjoy it and it keeps me sane. It’s also a fantastic way to explore. I hope you give trail running a try! I can only imagine the gorgeous mountain landscapes you could run through over there!

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      1. Yeah…the only thing that really worries me is the paths in the mountains here are so uneven and full of roots… once I get to that level, i am pretty sure I’ll twist my ankle! :(

        I didn’t know you had asthma too! I couldn’t run easily back in London because of that. I had to use my inhaler every day…and then again each time I exercised. But mine was induced by the pollution, so since we moved to Canada, i have only used my inhaler twice. (Once when the summer forest fires were raging, and once when I had a bad cold)

        I wonder if yours would improve away from the UK to…


        1. It worried me too at first, but with good trail running shoes, it’s not too bad. But there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the roads!

          I developped astjma when I moved to the UK, I never had any symptoms before. I sometimes joke that I’m probably allergic to England! 😉 I use a preventer inhaler twice a day and my reliever inhaler before any runs over 3 miles. It’s under control now (it has improved even more since the lockdown because there’s less pollution), but I really struggled at first… I’m glad Canada seemed to have ‘cured’ your asthma! The fresh mountain/sea air is certainly helping. 😊

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