How About Some Inspiration To Get You Going?

It’s cold, it’s dark, you ate your weight in holiday food, and you know you should go run but you lack the motivation.  How about some running inspiration kick in the pants?  Below are some of my favorite reads and flicks that get my blood pumping and keep my feet pounding the pavement.


Born To Run– Christopher McDougall


There is a very good chance that if you are already a runner you read this to help get you started or just for the love of running.  This is a National Bestseller and a modern running classic.  It started the barefoot running craze, but I personally took a lot more out of it than that.  This book contains several running stories within the main story as it takes you to the Copper Canyons of Mexico with a few awesome ultra runners.  The book takes you back to the basics and early history of running all while making you a true believer that each of has an inner running self.

Ultramarathon Man- Dean Karnazes


Some people love him, others hate him but Dean Karnazes can seriously run and for a long, long time.  This book follows his late start as a couch potato turned runner extreme.  He turned his life around and has become an incredibly successful ultra athlete.  This is a fun and quick read and will make even the laziest of us feel like we can get out there and run 100 miles.

The Long Run- Matt Long


This is by far one of my favorite books ever.  Matt Long was an accomplished triathlete and had just qualified for the Boston Marathon when he was run over by a bus during the NYC transit strike on his way to work with the FDNY.  After nearly dying and being severely mangled by the bus, Long documents his slow and arduous recovery and desire to become a runner again.  This book is full of inspiration not only for running but for life in general.  I shed many a tear of sadness and joy with this book.

Once a Runner- John L. Parker Jr.


This is a cult classic from the 1970’s.  Parker self-published this and sold it out of the back of his car at races.  This book follows a competitive athlete through his college years as he trains his body and mind in ways you wouldn’t imagine possible. This book embodies the personality of a typical Type A runner and wild, unruly male college athlete.  I thought a lot about the main character’s insane training during my own long runs.


“Spirit of the Marathon” I & II


I highly recommend these movies in anticipation of marathon training, right before a race or just to reignite your love of running.  Both of these documentaries follow several runners from beginner to elite during their training process for the Chicago (episode I) and Rome (episode II) marathons.  They are informative and amusing all in one.  You laugh, you tear up, and you leave feeling ready to take on any run.  I watched the first one years ago and just loved it. I recommended this to my husband before his first 20 mile training run.  He was hooked and really did think it helped get him through that first big hurdle.  We were lucky enough to see the national premier of “Spirit of the Marathon II” in theaters the week before we ran our marathon.  It was awesome!

“Running the Sahara”


And you thought getting out the door to do your daily 3 mile run was rough.  This documentary follows 3 elite runners as they trek across the Sahara Dessert for 111 days and over 4,300 miles.  It is an incredible journey documented by National Geographic.  This movie takes you through their highs and lows both mentally and physically.

“Unbreakable: The Western States 100″


The Western States 100 is the oldest and considered by many to be the most prestigious 100 mile mountain ultra run through the Sierra Nevada.  This race is so difficult to finish in the 30 hour time frame that it is famed for the prized belt buckle you earn if you can make it to the finish in time.  This documentary follows 4 of the top runners as they make their way through their race not only wanting to get their hands on the buckle but vying for the top spot.

This is by no means a complete list, but a good one to get you started.  Let me know if you have any favorites that I forgot.  Let’s keep the inspiration going!

17 thoughts on “How About Some Inspiration To Get You Going?

  1. Great list! I actually just finished “Born to Run” after having it sit on my shelf for a couple years–it was so good! I also like Scott Jurek’s “Eat and Run” and “The Perfect Mile” (about the first 4 min mile) to name a couple others.

  2. How about ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ by Haruki Murakami. Lovely little memoir about his writing and running. Great personal account of the meditative quality of running. Loved it.

  3. Great list! I would second the Murakami book. I have been meaning to read Matt Long’s book. We grew up in the same neighborhood and it was a tragedy for the city when he got hurt. He’s a real inspiration.

  4. Reblogged this on Laufblog and commented:
    I am re-blogging this article by Running On Healthy because I love books myself. I am pretty sure that running stories of struggle, agony and pain, as well as joy and success are just as captivating as thrillers.
    There is an important book that’s missing from that following list:
    The great Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s book on running. 135 pages – you could read that 10 times.

  5. I’m currently reading Keep on a Running – the Highs and Lowsof a a Marathon Addict by Phil Hewitt. In it he talks about training for his first Marathon (London, 1998) and then some of the others he’s done that he loved and hated (he’s now done over 25). It’s very engaging, quite funny in places, and very moving in others.

  6. Great list! The only book/movie I’ve read/seen on the list is Spirit of the Marathon II as it featured my high school track coach, and it really is a great and inspirational movie. Looks like I have a few things to request at the library!

  7. Pingback: Motivation through great WordPress Blogs – RUNNING MZ

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