Playlisted Just Run With It: 8 Books for Every Type of Runner Newbie? Injured? Unmotivated? Ultrarunner? During marathon training season, there’s an audiobook for everyone. By Kara Cutruzzula Nov 2, 2017 Runners do not like being injured. There. I did it. I just wrote the understatement of the year. Injuries mess up everything. And yet, runners get injured a lot. That’s where I found myself lately, at the tail end of a marathon training cycle, feeling fast and loose—until a pang here, some limping there, and then: benched. But while I wasn’t able to keep logging miles, I thought, why not use this time to learn more about the sport occupying so much of my time? Why not fill those extra hours—and my replacement long walks—with the stories of other runners’ accomplishments, mishaps, races, maybe even their own injuries?You can learn a lot about another person when you run alongside them. We’re talking sweat rates, bathroom habits, deep dark secrets that the miles somehow make everyone spill. Not being able to run is a drag, but (usually) a temporary one. Now, I had the opportunity to learn from the runners and writers who came before me, and in whose steps I’ll follow again soon.Here’s what I discovered: There’s a book to inspire every type of runner imaginable. 01 Peak Performance stop Peak Performance By Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness Narrated by Christopher Lane 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the OMG-I'm-Stressed-Out Runner:It's very easy to go to a dark place when you're injured. "Powerless" is the right word for it. But this new book is very convincing about the need for recovery. Stress + Rest = Growth is one of the authors' main mantras for running, and they carry this idea over into the work realm as well. With science-backed evidence, they advocate the need for work sprints followed by short periods of rest, either a walk or looking at nature--basically anything that's not scrolling social media. I loved listening to this in the morning as I set my intentions for the day. Anecdotes from world-famous athletes also stress the importance of knowing your own values, and how during times of formidable challenges, remembering your higher purpose--for instance, thinking of your family or friends--can make you work harder or run longer or faster than you thought possible. 02 Born to Run stop Born to Run By Christopher McDougall Narrated by Fred Sanders 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the (Unfortunately) Injured Runner:This classic running book starts with the author, Christopher McDougall, visiting a podiatrist for a nagging foot issue. McDougall and me, one and the same! But what follows amuses any runner (or non-runner), injured or not. After learning about a group of mysterious runners called the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, he searches for and eventually runs with them. "They drink like New Year's Eve is a weekly event," he writes, and eat little more than ground corn. They don't train or taper or stretch or warm up. They run barefoot. And yet, they can power through a run for two straight days. The kicker? They're happy. This insightful story sounds like fiction in your ears--and the narrator's excitement made me want to find a similar sense of balance and joy in my own running life, and maybe tackle an ultra marathon, too. One tip that runners can take away: the Tarahumara love chia seeds. Sprinkle some on your morning oatmeal and perhaps you, too, could run 100 miles without stopping. 03 Shoe Dog stop Shoe Dog By Phil Knight Narrated by Norbert Leo Butz, Phil Knight - introduction 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the Entrepreneurial Runner:"Why is it always so hard to get started?" Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, speaks for all runners in his memoir. He also speaks with the wisdom of a man who has searched endlessly for meaning. "I wanted to leave a mark on the world," he says about his life at age 24. Little did he know that five decades later that existential angst and drive would turn into a $30 billion company. Running and starting a business come with similar perils, and require the same fortitude. "You run and run, mile after mile, and you never quite know why. You tell yourself you're running towards some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death." Actor Norbert Leo Butz narrates with flair and urgency. I felt like starting my own company after this. Or at least start collecting sneakers. 04 Eat and Run stop Eat and Run By Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman Narrated by Quincy Dunn-Baker 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the "Rungry" Runner:The only thing runners love talking about more than running is talking about fuel. Runners do not eat food like mortals. They fuel their bodies. Choosing the right source could be the difference between crashing and burning or soaring to a new PR. When you're injured, your first thought might be bring on the ice cream!--so I appreciated Jurek's compelling story of transforming himself by going vegan. He's one of the most famous and decorated ultra runners in history, so you might want to pay attention to the included recipes, like his Minnesota Winter Chili. While running a hundred miles might seem like a stretch to most runners, tinkering with diet is doable. But if you do, try to abide by his non-judgmental point-of-view: "I'm healthier and I can run longer and faster because I eat a plant-based diet," he writes. "But I don't preach to my carnivorous friends or lambaste anyone who eats a baked potato slathered with butter and sour cream." Thank goodness. Nothing's worse than a smug runner. 05 What I Talk about When I Talk about Running stop What I Talk about When I Talk about Running By Haruki Murakami Narrated by Ray Porter 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the Creative Runner:Haruki Murakami is beloved for his fantastical plot lines, yet what might be even more fantastical is the way he runs with "mechanical repetition," six miles a day, every day. You might think that running helps with writing but, according to Murakami, he doesn't get ideas out on his daily journeys. "I run in order to acquire a void," he says, not thinking of anything, rather swimming in nostalgic silence. Murakami's run 23 marathons and long-distances races all over the world. "Running without a break for more than two decades has also made me stronger, both physically and emotionally," he writes, and he tries to maintain a decent balance. His main goal of exercise isn't to be the fastest or strongest, but to maintain his physical condition in order to keep writing novels. While he says he doesn't need running to conjure up ideas, his readers definitely need him to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 06 Running with the Kenyans stop Running with the Kenyans By Adharanand Finn Narrated by John Lee 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the Wanderlusting Runner:If running on a new route can wake up your senses, imagine what running on a new continent could do? Adharanand Finn wanted to find out, so he packed up his family and headed to Iten, a town in Kenya that's home to the fastest runners in the world. Wow, that's commitment, I thought. Uprooting your life to train with the best? How can that not ignite your own passion for running? Finn finds everything that he's looking for--and more. What stuck with me the most wasn't the intense training he undergoes and witnesses, but the connections he made with other runners, all of whom he brings to life in vivid detail. Maybe that's the secret then. Train with the greats and you become great yourself. 07 Finding Ultra stop Finding Ultra By Rich Roll Narrated by Rich Roll 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the Aspiring Not-Yet-a-Runner:Rich Roll can call himself one of the world's fittest men because, in fact, he is. An accomplished ultrarunner, he's raced the Epic 5--five triathlons on five Hawaiian islands in less than a week--and has run further than most people can dream. But what's even more remarkable is that he wasn't supposed to be a runner. Around his 40th birthday, he was overweight, unhealthy, and battling alcoholism. But a switch was flipped and somehow, someway, he resolved to change. People often say it's too late to start something new. His story proves it's not. Roll narrates the book himself (he also hosts a popular podcast) which gives an extra sense of depth, and his recollections of his insane feats of strength made me itch to get into my own shoes, no matter the pain. "The bottoms of my feet were on fire, as if I were running barefoot on hot coals. But that didn't mean I wasn't happy," he writes. "I was exactly where I wanted to be." 08 Running with the Mind of Meditation stop Running with the Mind of Meditation By Sakyong Mipham Narrated by Neil Hellegers 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For the Meditative Runner:Strength isn't all bulging calves and running 400 meters in 90 seconds. A different kind of strength is found in the mind. That's the idea behind this calming book from Tibetan lama Sakyong Mipham. With meditation now a buzzword, this book isn't a training manual on the practice, he says, but a way to integrate the two. Deceptively simple mantras or koans made me hit the 30-second rewind button to drill them into my brain. "When stress is the basic state of mind, even good things stress us out. We have to learn to let go," he writes. And this one: "The wise are balanced, and the foolish are extreme" deserves to be tattooed on every runner's sweaty skin. While running can create a sense of control, holding on too tightly to anything can tip you out of balance. Thanks to this quick and enlightening listen, I now have that essential reminder. 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