5 Books to Get You Up and Running

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise around the world and through the pandemic, with pools and gyms closed, it kept many of us sane.

Over 2020 there were almost 1 million downloads of the Couch to 5k app in the UK and the number of regular runners, running at least once a week, rose to 6 million.  

If you're tempted to join in, or you are looking for guidance or inspiration, these five books are sure to get you up and running. We are giving away a copy of each book - visit any of the book pages below and find ways to enter.

Coasting by Elise Downing

In 2016 Elise became the youngest person, and first woman, to run around the coast of Britain. She had no experience of ultra-running but felt drawn to the challenge as an antidote to the stresses and anxieties of modern life. With a twist on the classic travel book, Coasting tells the story of her adventure and wonderfully captures the beauty and the wild nature of our coastline. 

How to Run a Marathon by Vassos Alexander

If you're considering the full 26.2 miles, this has all the essential technical advice and insider knowledge to help you succeed in your marathon quest. Author and runner, Vassos, thinks he "can pretty much guarantee that everybody has a marathon in them. It’s not easy – I’m not saying everyone’s got an easy marathon in them – but the fact of it being difficult is sort of the point. It’s such a lovely and iconic challenge. There are almost no exceptions. If you can get yourself round a parkrun – run, jog or walk 3 miles – then you can, with some training, attempt and finish a marathon. Just start slowly - walk-running is fine, it’s a thing! - and gradually increase the mileage starting and ending at your own front door." 

In It for the Long Run by Damian Hall

Fell and trail running are increasingly popular with runners tempted away from pounding the pavement by majestic mountains, forests and rugged cliff paths. The Pennine Way is one of the world's greatest fell running challenges; in July 2020 Damian Hall broke the record for running the length - all 268 miles of it - in just over two days and 17 hours. In It For the Long Run charts the preparation and realisation of this awesome attempt, and gives an insight into the crazy world of ultramarathon. Damian used his record attempt to highlight environmental issues: his attempt was carbon negative, he used no plastics, and he and his pacing runners collected litter as they went, while also raising money for Greenpeace. 

Limitless by Mimi Anderson

If you are looking for inspiration then take it from Mimi Anderson who only started running at the age of 36 - “because I wanted to have slimmer and more toned legs”. She is now one of the world's most accomplished long distanced runners, with numerous records to her name. Mimi also acknowledges the theraputic effects of ultra-running, that her "mental strength has become stronger over the years of running around the world" and she shares this passion and experience in Limitless.

Broken 2020 by Ally Beaven

An absence of organised running races over 2020, due to Covid cancellations, sent runners searching for alternative challenges. Breaking long distance running records became a popular pursuit, their efforts recorded by Ally Beaven, a record-holding fell runner himself. Broken is the story of the summer of 2020, a historic time for running in the UK, with ten different record breaking stories evocatively imagined. It's also a great source for exploring the best running locations around the UK.

Publisher, Vertebrate is currently offering 20% off Broken 2020 and free UK postage - visit the book page to buy.

From wild swimming to hiking to cycling, find more books that Celebrate the Outdoors here.

Comments (30)

Lynne O - 31st July 2021

Coasting sounds like something I could aspire to

Lynne O - 31st July 2021

I'd love to read Coasting. It sounds like my kind of book

Michael O - 30th July 2021

Need a little help and I have found it here.

Sheri D - 29th July 2021

These books look totally inspiring

Marion G - 29th July 2021

Running Up For Air

Marion G - 29th July 2021

I would love to win these books, my son-in-law is a keen runner and I'm inspired by him.

lynn n - 28th July 2021

I would love to join in the London Marathon!

Susan B - 27th July 2021

My running challenge is to get to the top of a nearby hill without stopping. I guess we all have to start somewhere ...

Susan B - 27th July 2021

Inspiration - and a good pair of running shoes - are essential starting points!

Laura C - 26th July 2021

I would just love to run 5k without feeling that it’s impossible

Laura C - 26th July 2021

These sound like very inspirational books

Lucy E - 23rd July 2021

My friend just ran the SW coastal path, I'm going to buy her coasting! I remember meeting Mimi at the start of a race, I was deciding which massive cake I was going to eat at the end, she was very nice and let a couple of us runners in the loo before her even though she was setting off the starting gun so needed to be on time?

Margaret G - 12th July 2021

5 k - would be amazing

Margaret G - 12th July 2021

Fascinating reads - inspiration to suceed

Susie W - 8th July 2021

In It for the Long Run by Damian Hall would be great for my brother

Jacqui G - 7th July 2021

I can barely run a bath, never mind a marathon!

Sarah W - 7th July 2021

I love finding new coastal runs when I'm on holiday around the UK!

Sarah W - 7th July 2021

I started running in my late 40s and I love it! I'm not at all competitive, I just run for my own enjoyment and health though.

MARIA R - 4th July 2021

looks very motivating, time to get my running shoes back on!

Christopher P - 3rd July 2021

Great selection of titles here, I'd particularly like to read Coasting. Sadly due to a knee injury I can't run as much as I'd like these days.

EMMA W - 3rd July 2021

i would love to be able to complete an ultra....my dream

Richard T - 3rd July 2021

Coasting sounds great, would love to be able to do something like that!

Simon M - 3rd July 2021

I've ran a couple of half marathons but would love to tackle a full marathon!

Simon M - 3rd July 2021

As a keen but novice runner, i'd love to win these, thanks guys!

Priscilla S - 1st July 2021

These look like great books to give inspiration for running

amy S - 1st July 2021

London Marathon

amy S - 1st July 2021

I'd love to read limitless

Jayne W - 30th June 2021

Would love to be able to read these and get inspiration for next big challenge!

Tracy L - 30th June 2021

Any race in the Himalaya or the mountains of New Zealand - just for the being there ( not that it will ever happen !!)

Eva A - 29th June 2021

Brilliant books

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