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Gift Ideas: Books for Runners

Motivational and Educational Running Books

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Updated November 22, 2013

Inspire and educate the runners on your gift lists with some of these running books.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run
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Well-known for making the barefoot/minimalist movement more popular, this bestseller explores the running habits and secrets of Mexico's Tarahumara Indians, who can run hundreds of miles without resting or getting injured. McDougall's well-written narrative will make you question and re-examine everything you've thought and learned about running up until this point. Even if you're not a runner, it's tough to not be inspired to go for a run after reading it.
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Nancy Clark's Food Guide for New Runners

Nancy Clark's Food Guide for New Runners
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Although this book is geared toward new runners, it's really the perfect book for any runner, beginner or experienced, looking for nutritional guidance. Get information on daily nutrition and what to eat before, during and after runs, as well as weight loss advice.

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Kara Goucher's Running for Women

Kara Goucher Running for Women
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Written for women of all different running levels, professioal runner Kara Goucher’s book is packed with training and racing tips, sample training programs and nutrition plans, as well as special sections on running during and after pregnancy and maintaining a balance with running, work, and family life. Goucher, a new mom herself, writes about her own triumphs and setbacks and shares advice in such a real and honest way, it’s hard not to be motivated to run.

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The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer by David A. Whitsett

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This book is for anyone who wants to run a marathon, but doesn't think of themselves as a runner or even an athlete. The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer is based on the highly successful marathon class offered by the University of Northern Iowa and follows the class's 16-week, four-day-a-week workout plan. It's a great training program for real people who have busy jobs and families, and can't dedicate their lives to marathon training.

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The Runner's Rule Book

The Runners Rule Book
Photo courtesy of Rodale Books
Running can feel overwhelming to a beginner because of its many unspoken rules. The Runner's Rule Book provides answers to runners' burning questions about etiquette, lingo, gear and behavior. From the practical ("Run against traffic") to the humorous ("Post-race bagels must be dry and taste like aspirin"), author Mark Remy addresses more than 100 "rules" about running. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned runner, you'll love Remy's witty commentary about running and undoubtedly find yourself quoting his axioms to fellow runners.

Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running

Runner's World Complete Book of Womens Running
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This updated guide is written specifically for women runners who are looking for advice about the challenges and problems faced by women when running, from clothing, injuries, safety, and nutrition to running during pregnancy and menopause. It includes expert advice on nutrition, weight loss, body image, and more for women of all fitness levels.
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The Athlete's Palate Cookbook

Athlete's Palate Cookbook
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The Athlete's Palate Cookbook is a collection of 100+ recipes from renowned chefs, who also happen to be runners. Many of the recipes were featured in Runner's World magazine's monthly "The Athlete's Palate" column. The book also includes 60 new recipes for breakfasts, entrees, soups, salads, sides, desserts, and beverages.  Each recipe includes labels indicating quick-and-easy, training, and recovery meals, so you can plan your meals and time them properly.

The Competitive Runner's Handbook by Bob Glover and Shelly-lynn F. Glover

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Acclaimed coaches and best-selling authors Bob Glover and Shelly-Lynn Florence Glover give runners everything they need to take their running to the next level. The Competitive Runner's Handbook includes training schedules for all different distances and levels of runners, a speed-training section as well as information on weight training, stretching, proper nutrition and hydration, cross-training and treadmill running. The book also covers the mental aspects of competitive running: goal-setting, motivation, race day preparation and race strategies.
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ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer

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Ultramarathoner Danny Dreyer shares his secrets for running techniques that help you heal and prevent injuries, as well as run faster, farther and with much less effort at any age. Beginning runners or seasoned competitors can benefit from the book's step-by-step program of ChiRunning, which uses the core muscles of the trunk and focuses on harnessing our "chi", or inner energy.
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The Quotable Runner

The Quotable Runner book
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Need some running inspiration? This book of quotes will help runners get through their toughest workouts or races. The Quotable Runner is full of inspirational, practical and humorous quotes about running. Mao, Bill Clinton, Churchill, and George Sheehan are among others quoted in this book.
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