Best audiobooks for running: a choice of 20
Audiobooks for running is the latest craze, helping the miles fly by whilst immersing us into a story or two.
Audiobooks are books that are read aloud, often read by the author allowing for an immersive experience. In particular, audiobooks for runners have become especially popular, alongside working out in the gym, or during your daily commute.
Running audiobooks are especially popular amongst the running community, great for increasing motivation whilst running, picking up a training tip or two, or even learning about the very basics about the marathon.
Choosing an audiobook over a regular book allows you to multi-task, increases time management, and even allows you to focus your attention span – especially if you find a book you’re really interested in.
One of the more widely used providers of audiobooks is audible, offering a free 30-day trial and a free audiobook of your choice.
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Free Audible trial
Signing up for audible allows you access to a free 30-day trial, a choice of the world’s largest selection of audiobooks, a free audiobook of your choice, and uninterrupted listening on devices including smartphones, tablets, amazon Alexa’s and much more!
Why should you choose audiobooks over traditional reading?
There are many reasons as to why many runners choose audiobooks over traditional reading. As runners, we spent hours on our feet each week, hours left thinking and listening to the same old playlist.
Listening to audiobooks while running is a great way to increase productivity, to learn on the go, and to let the miles fly by as we immerse ourselves into the story.
Living such hectic lives, many of us no longer have the time to read and very little left to exercise. So, why not combine the two?
What are the best audiobooks for running?
We’ve gathered together ten of the best audiobooks for running, from the all-time classic born to run to running like a girl – sharing personal experiences in this touching book.
Here’s our top ten audiobooks for running:
1. Running with the Kenyans
Author: Adharanand Finn
Adharanand Finn, after years of watching successful Kenyan athletes dominate the sport of long-distance running, packed his bags and embarked on an adventure to understand the Kenyan success. This book will take you on the many adventures and secrets Finn discovers throughout his journey, gaining a true insight into some of the fastest runners in the world.
2. Shoe Dog audiobook
Author: Phil Knight
Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is a memoir by the creator of Nike. Knight takes you on his journey travelling the world, doing business with the Japanese, his ups and downs in business, and so much more! A great read towards discovering true hard work towards business success whilst also learning the history behind Nike – a personal favourite of ours!
Want to find out more? Read our full book review of Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
3. Running like a girl
Author: Alexandra Heminsley
Alexandra Heminsley tells her story of beginning her running journey. This funny, honest, and emotional book will take you on the journey of more than five marathons, many mornings of not wanting to get out of bed, and thousands of miles of running. If we take anything away from this book it’s that you can a lot more than you initially realise – anything is possible!
4. Born to run
Author: Christopher McDougall
Christopher McDougall sets out on an adventure to answer one basic question: why does my foot hurt? In search of the answer, McDougall embarks on an exciting adventure across the world with some of the world’s best runners. Expect an in-depth discussion on barefoot running – one of the first publications to shed light on this phenomenon.
5. Running up that hill: the highs and lows of going that bit further
Author: Vassos Alexander
Vassos Alexander takes us on his ultra-running journey through popular cities such as Paris (running backwards) and through the mountainside. If you don’t want to run an ultra marathon or at least visit Paris after this fantastic read, Alexander must have done something wrong.
6. There is no map in Hell: the record-breaking run across the lake district fells
Author: Steve Birkinshaw
Steve Birkinshaw sets off an adventure to beat Joss Naylor’s past record of over 300 miles over the Wainwright fells in the lake district. There is no map in hell takes you on Birkinshaw’s adventure including his training, preparation, and his attempt at the ever so demanding record himself.
7. Running with Sherman: the donkey who survived against all odds and raced like a champion
Author: Christopher McDougall
Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run shares his journey of taking in a neglected donkey. Nursing it back to good health, McDougall discovers a donkey needs a purpose and maybe even a running buddy?
8. Good to go: how to eat, sleep and rest like a champion
Author: Christie Aschwanden
Acclaimed science journalist, Christie Aschwanden, provides us with the most up to date scientific developments in recovery within sport and exercise. If you’re looking to take your running to the next level, proper rest could be what you’ve been missing.
Related: The importance of sleep as a runner.
9. Run the mile you’re in: finding god in every step
Author: Ryan Hall
Two-time Olympian and American world record holder in the half-marathon, Ryan Hall, reflects upon his twenty-year running career. Hall is now a parent, running coach, public speaker, and running enthusiast – you may even pick up a tip or two in this in-depth read.
The best way to become a mentally tough runner is to believe that you’re a mentally tough runner
– Ryan Hall
10. Jog on: how running saved my life
Author: Bella Mackie
Upon dealing with severe mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her 20s in tears. Unsure and unmotivated, Mackie threw on a pair of trainers and went for a run – something she’d never done on her own free will. Expect the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in this heartful story.
11. Running for my life: how I build a better me one step at a time
Author: Rachel Ann Cullen
From the author of Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl, Rachel Ann Cullen brings us a memoir: running for my life.
Upon suffering from depression and wanting an escape back to reality, Cullen experienced the wrong career, failing relationships, and a dependence on both chocolate and alcohol just to get her through the day. Stuck in a never-ending rut, Cullen laced up her running shoes, determined to make a change. Little did she know running was the calling she’d be waiting for, not looking back since and building a better version of herself, quite literally one step at a time.
12. The rise of the ultra runners: a journey to the edge of human endurance
Author: Adharanand Finn
Setting off on yet another adventure, this time Finn was curious as to whether running was an antidote to modern life or a symptom of modern illness. Determined to find out, Finn embarks on the challenge of becoming an ultra runner himself, with his journey taking him from the deserts of Oman to the infamous 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. This inspirational and thrilling adventure provides a much-needed insight into ultra-running, pushing human boundaries, and meeting unforgettable and inspirational characters along the way.
13. Natural born heroes
Author: Christopher McDougall
From the author of the worldwide bestseller: Born to run, McDougall returns with his 2015 book, Natural Born Heroes. This book will have gym goers dump the weights, heading outside to push human boundaries in the muddiest of runs, freerunning, and CrossFit.
14. Don’t stop me now: 26.2 tales of a runner’s obsession
Author: Vassos Alexander
In this running audiobook, Alexander tells the story of how he fell in love with running, beginning with his initial short and out of breath efforts to now multiple ultra-marathon and triathlon finishes. In a celebration of running, each chapter provides a fascinating insight into how other elite athletes started their sporting journey, including the likes of Steve Cram, Jenson Button, and Paula Radcliffe.
15. Eat, drink, run: how I got fit without going too mad
Author: Bryony Gordon
Far from a runner, Gordon was a drinker,a smoker, and everything in-between, previously suffering from a cocktail of mental health issues. Running for Gordon was a way to shake off previously placed limitations, learning more about herself, pushing herself each and every day, and now, completing the London marathon. This book takes us on that journey, through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, prepare yourself for one of the most courageous accounts of our time.
The woman who made talking about your thinking not just acceptable but imperative
– Daily Telegraph
16. The way of the runner
Author: Adharanand Finn
The way of the runner is a journey into Japan’s running culture from Adharanand Finn, author of running with the Kenyans and rise of the ultra runners. Finn spent six months immersed in the depths of running culture in Japan, learning everything there is to know about training, competition, teamwork, bettering himself, chasing personal bests, and more. A must-read for those wondering why we run and how we might be able to do it better, running further and faster.
17. Fat Man to Green Man: From Unfit to Ultramarathon
Author: Ira Rainey
As a child, Rainey believed he was bionic, but in fact, he was far from it. Instead, until not so long ago Rainey was unfit, overweight, and felt sorry for himself because he had sore feet. So, what changed? After a friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and informed that he had months left to live, Rainey decided to make a few changes of his own. Now running more, eating and drinking less, and pushing himself further than he’d ever gone before, this is a story of self-improvement, self-belief, and self-worth.
18. Footnotes: How running makes us human
Author: Vybarr Cregan-Reid & Daniel Weyman
Running is more than just a sport, it allows our minds to slip away from the stresses of modern life and allows us to feel a connection to nature and what makes us human. Cregan-Reid sets out on a discovery as to why running means so much to so many people, with his journey taking him down the alleyways of Ruskin’s Venice, down London’s cobbled streets, and everywhere in-between.
19. The pants of perspective
Author: Anna Mcnuff
Not fitting the stereotypical description of a runner, Anna later found herself considering to run New Zealand’s 3,000 kilometer-long Te Araroa trail – questioning what it means to be a “real runner”. The pants of perspective takes us on Anna’s journey through New Zealand’s backcountry, alone, for 148 days scrambling through forests and sleeping in the wild. This painfully raw account of Anna’s journey provides insight into sheer will power and self-belief, allowing us to believe anything is possible.
20. Run for your life: mindful running for a happy life
Author: William Pullen
We’ve all experienced a runner’s high – that feeling when we’re on top of the world, our mind is no longer racing, and we feel at ease with the world. In run for your life, Pullen teaches us how to focus this energy to experience our emotions in motion. A book as much about running as mindfulness and self-improvement, run for your life equips you to deal with life’s ups and downs – offering practical steps to achieve mental and physical well-being.
A must-read for those looking to better themselves, to achieve ease of mind, or even into an insight into Pullen’s genius ideas.
Don’t forget to redeem your free trial!
If you’d like any of these running audiobooks for free, be sure to redeem your free trial. This trial allows you access to a wide selection of the best audiobooks for running or any other topic you may be interested in, both fiction and non-fiction – the choice is yours.
To redeem your 30-day free Audible trial, click here.
Are audiobooks good for running?
Audiobooks are a great alternative to the same old music playlist you regularly listen to. Immersing you into a story, the miles are sure to fly by.
What should I listen to while running?
The choice is yours. However, we're a fan of running audiobooks for those longer runs and a gritty playlist for those short but tough interval sessions.
Where can I get free audiobooks?
You can get free audiobooks by signing up for our Audible free trial. Here, you will receive one free book with access to thousands of other titles should you choose to renew your membership.
What is the best audiobook for running?
Subjective, however, we personally like Shoe Dog, a memoir from the creator of Nike, Phil Knight.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.