Trail running books to read

When I have the time, I enjoy reading. The last book I read was the biography by Ryan Sandes, Trail Blazer. The book set in motion most of the motivation I still have for trail running and the plan I have for my life. I really don’t want my day job, In fact if I was 5 years younger just before I got married I would have quit my job and started to do what I want, blog and run, and figure out a way to make money along with it.

But that is not how life goes, and regardless of my day dreams of what I could have done, every time I look at my husband holding our son my heart wants to burst from an overflow of love and I’m great full for everything that I have. I’m also very great full for my husband who is basically my main sponsor for races and events, I should have his name branded onto my gear, haha something like ‘Proudly sponsored by Husband’ .

I don’t know about you but every New Year I’m looking for new inspiration and new motivation so I usually start researching for books similar to the book by Ryan Sandes to make me feel so determined to keep going and tackle the year with new motivation. So below I’ve compiled a list of must read books that I’m personally looking into reading in 2019 and maybe 2020 – Because my 9 month old Paul makes it hard to find time to read.


  • Trail Blazer by Ryan Sandes: this book I’m putting on the top because I have actually read it and I would definitely recommend it! I loved it, I was very inspired by his story because it was so relatable to be, I think I’m gonna read it again just to get a few laughs and motivation again! Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the adrenaline-inducing trials and tribulations of one of South Africa’s most awe-inspiring athletes, while endurance-sport participants – from beginners to aspirant pros – will benefit from his insights and advice. As Professor Tim Noakes says in the Foreword to this book: ‘However much we might think we know and understand, there are some phenomena which now, and perhaps forever, we will never fully comprehend. We call such happenings “enigmas”. Or even miracles. Ryan Sandes is one such.’

  • Relentless forward progress: a guide to running ultramarathons by Bryon Powell: This book is second because I’m in the process of reading it, it’s very much a guide on how to run ultramarathons along with a training program in the book. Bryon Powell covers every aspect of training for and racing ultra-distances. Along the way, more than a dozen elites and experts, including Geoff Roes, Krissy Moehl, Michael Wardian, Dave Mackey, and David Horton, provide invaluable advice on running ultramarathons.

  • Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson: I heard about this book from David de Klerk from Elite Endurance Blog . The book is about the limits that the human body and mind can endure and out current obsession with pushing ourselves to the limit. I’m very interested to read this book next, Maybe it can be a good birthday present for me. (lol, wink-wink). Alex Hutchinson, ph. D., Reveals why our individual limits may be determined as much by our head and heart, as by our muscles. He presents an overview of science’s search for understanding human fatigue. Going beyond the traditional mechanical view of human limits, he instead argues that a key element in endurance is how the brain responds to distress signals whether heat or cold or muscles screaming with lactic acid and reveals that we can train to improve brain response.

  • Run or Die by Killian Jornet: I’ve wanted to read this book for the past year now, but had a hard time getting my hands on it. It follows the life of Killian Jornet an amazing ultra trail runner that has broken so many records and takes on so many challenges in the trail running world. In his book, Jornet describes his record-breaking runs at Lake Tahoe, Western States 100, Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, and Mount Kilimanjaro–the first of his ambitious Summits of My Life project in which Jornet will attempt to break records climbing the highest peaks on each continent. In turns inspiring, insightful, candid, and deeply personal, this is a book written from the heart of the world’s greatest endurance runner, for who life presents one simple choice: Run. Or die.

  • Born to run: the hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall: So on reading the book reviews for this book, I’m actually very very curious to read it – It seems like a very interesting story based book with some factual research in it. At the heart of Born to Run lies a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who live quietly in canyons and are reputed to be the best distance runners in the world; in 1993, one of them, aged 57, came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing a toga and sandals. A small group of the world’s top ultra-runners (and the awe-inspiring author) make the treacherous journey into the canyons to try to learn the tribe’s secrets and then take them on over a course 50 miles long.

  • Finding Gobi: the true story of a little dog and an incredible journey by Dion Leonard: Reading the review here almost brought be to tears. Now I’m not a dog person, but I love animals and I think this book looks so heart-warming and inspiring to read. Maybe I’ll read this one first? – In 2016, Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner, unexpectedly stumbled across a little stray dog while competing in a gruelling 155 mile race across the Gobi Desert. The lovable pup, who earned the name ‘Gobi’, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the treacherous Tian Shan Mountains, managing to keep pace with him for nearly 80 miles. As Dion witnessed the incredible determination of this small animal, he felt something change within himself. In the past he had always focused on winning and being the best, but his goal now was simply to make sure that his new friend was safe, nourished and hydrated. Finding Gobi is the ultimate story of hope, of resilience and of friendship, proving once again, that dogs really are ‘man’s best friend.’

There are so many books but these are the 6 I’ve settled on, hopefully I can read them this year. I hope that they inspire your running for the New Year and help you achieve your dreams.

Happy Running

Jani

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