When you’re ready to crush some goals, you need some great books to motivate you through it. These are my top choices for running, goal setting, and productivity books. We’ll start off with my top training books so that you can get your running goal in place. Next, we’ll move into goal setting and productivity books that can help inspire you to crush those goals as hard as you can.
I don’t know about you, but I’m an audiobook fiend. I love getting lost in a book during runs. It’s also efficient! I don’t have a ton of time to read every day, but I do have an hour set aside for running. So, why not do both? Audible has a great free trial that lets you explore their awesome audiobook world for free. I can’t even count how many audiobooks we have from Audible and how helpful they are for getting through those rough workouts.
Running Training Books
I’ve used Hansons Marathon Method to train for a few marathons and found it to have really balanced and well-designed plans. You all know that I love Brooks. The Hanson Method is a product of the Hansons Original Distance Project, of which Brooks is a sponsor. The author, Luke Humphrey is a head coach of the project and wrote this book with a few of the Hansons themselves. There are a lot of big names involved with this brand and they really know their stuff when it comes to running.
The Hansons Method has a couple of books based upon where you are on your running journey and your goals. What I love about these books is that they have extensive training plans that you can use every day to prepare for your race. Also though, they extensively explain every type of run you’ll be doing and even give you exercises to do on your cross training days. They also give you a lot of race-day tips, mindset strategies, and overall good-to-know info. If you’re looking for “running training in a box,” these books are a great choice.
Run Less, Run Faster
This book is an advanced book. Yet, I decided to use it the first time I ever ran a marathon. I ended up getting injured, ran on that injury (bad idea), and ended up qualifying for the Boston marathon in that first race. So, the book clearly works very well. Me on the other hand, I’m pretty dumb. Hey, it all worked out, but still.
Even though I did, I don’t recommend that beginning runners use this book. It’s pretty intense. I love it though! If you’ve run a marathon before and you feel ready for a more advanced plan, this is a great book to look at.
As the name implies, the goal is to run less and run faster. Yes, cut down on training but still increase speed. See why this is so intense now? These plans are PERFECT for busy runners who don’t have the time for mile-heavy training plans. Even though there are fewer runs a week, you’ll be working hard.
Your Best Stride
I have a very strange running form. It’s pretty awful. But, I was told by a coach that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Despite my awful form, I was running 3:09 marathons and not getting injured all that often. I was curious about quick tweaks I could make though to optimize my speed and look a little less funky out on the roads.
Enter, Your Best Stride. This book explains everything you need to know about running form in an easy to understand and apply kind of way. In fact, this is the book my spouse used to learn how to run. I highly recommend it whether you’re a beginning runner looking for a strong foundation, or an advanced runner looking to learn some new tricks. Granted, it’s really hard to change your form once it’s engrained in you. It’s also not a great idea to change your form if you don’t need to, as it can make you prone to injuries and through your brain for a loop. That said, this book is a great way to understand your form and learn how to refine it.
How Bad Do You Want It?
You’ll be happy to pick up any of Matt Fitzgerald’s books. He’s an experienced runner, triathlete, and coach. He’s also an award winning endurance sports journalist, which means that he DEFINITELY knows how to write about running. His books aren’t only jam packed with good information, they’re really well written and fun to read.
How Bad Do You Want It? is all about the mental side of running. If you’ve read my other posts on BTA, you know that I think that mental endurance is half the battle of a run. When you get your mind under control, you’re unstoppable. There aren’t many books that dive into this as thoroughly or as thoughtfully as Fitzgerald. Honestly, this book should sit along side your marathon training plan, mental training is THAT important.
Better Running Goals
Yes, this is my book, but after the hours and hours of writing, I have to at least throw it on my recommended books page. This book is the epitome of merging my passions for running and productivity. When you’re busy as it is, how the heck are you supposed to find the time to fit in a training program?
No one had written a book on this topic, so I decided to! It’s just too important to pass up. Many runners fall off the running wagon because they can’t sustain it within their schedules. Better Running Goals helps runners set goals that actually work within the contexts of their lives, not within the cookie cutter lives that training plans assume that we have. After reading this book, runners come away with a strategy for building a running routine they can actually enjoy and maintain.
Goal Setting Books
The 5am Miracle
I’m a morning person who loves to get stuff done before other people even wake up. Go for a run, get some writing done, get a second of silence, all of these happen when you wake up early. Jeff Sanders also loves the power of early mornings and has made it his mission to teach others how to harness it.
What if you aren’t a morning person though? Wait, wait, don’t just scroll to the next book. Yes, some people are naturally early risers, but other people learn how to get up early. It’s a skill just like anything else. If you don’t like waking up early right now, that’s ok. In The 5am Miracle, Sanders lays out everything you need to know about starting a morning routine and make the most of it. His tips are actionable, easy to understand, and a great starting point for changing your routine. Sanders has a podcast of the same name if you want a regular does of inspiration.
The One Thing
You may have heard about The One Thing given how popular it is. This book basically has a cult following. And for good reason. As the name implies, this book is all about prioritizing one thing so that you can focus and progress towards your goals. While that sounds basic, Keller’s strategy for helping readers do so is really cool.
Some reviewers criticize the book for only presenting this “one thing” concept that could have been summed up in a few paragraphs. I have to disagree though. It’s an important topic and, for someone like me, it’s important that it’s repeated. Also, this book has had a CRAZY impact on peoples’ lives. Very few books actually do that. Even if it only has one main point, if it’s a really great point that you can actually apply to your life, isn’t that worth the price of a book? I think so.
The 12 Week Year
Parkinson’s Law is the idea that our work expands to however much time we have to complete it. So, if I’m writing a blog post, I’ll take two hours to write it if that’s what I’ve budgeted for, but I probably could have done it in an hour if I had limited myself to a stricter time limit. Moran takes this theory to the max in this awesome productivity book.
Your Focus Formula
Yes, this is my book again, but again I’ll say that I’m not going to write for hours and hours and not at least throw it on my recommended books page. Your Focus Formula was born out of my love for productivity and neurotic focus. It’s full of a ton of my favorite tips and tricks for crushing your goals.
This book was definitely my passion project and was really meaningful to write. Everyone’s first book is, right? I have to say that I’m really proud of it, especially after reading some of the Amazon reviews. It would mean a lot to me if you read it and left one too!