12 Great Audiobooks for Runners

One of my tricks for battling boredom during long runs is to listen to a compelling audiobook. Whether it's an enlightening non-fiction book or a juicy novel, listening to it helps keep me distracted and motivated to keep moving. And when I'm in the middle of a good audiobook, I find myself really looking forward to my next run. My rule is that I can only listen to the book when I'm running, so that keeps me from blowing off a workout.

Here are some of my and other runners' audiobook recommendations. Some are all about running but others aren't, which may be a good thing when you're looking for a distraction during a long run.


A Life Without Limits is the incredible true story of author Chrissie Wellington's rise from an unknown triathlete to winning the 2007 Ironman World Championships. Wellington's first-hand account includes the challenges she has faced--from anorexia to near-drowning to difficulties with her coach. She also reveals her inspiring approaches to training that have been the key to her phenomenal success. Her motivational lessons can be applied to all aspects of life, not just endurance events.


Although this book by socialist and happiness expert Christine Carter is not specifically about running, it's full of useful and inspiring information on how to live a more fulfilling and inspiring life. I've used a lot of Dr. Carter's tips to stay on track with my running goals. Listening to The Sweet Spot has helped motivate me to be a better runner and person.


Part memoir, part training manual, and part nutrition guide, this book by ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, is inspirational and educational from start to finish. In Eat & Run, Jurek gives incredible insight into the life of an ultramarathoner, as well as informative training tips for all runners, no matter what your running level or goals may be.


This best-selling book by Alfred Lansing tells, in griping deal, the legendary ordeal of explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men and their voyage to the Antarctic. An intense and inspiring tale of bravery, leadership, and perseverance, it will captivate and motivate you from start to finish.


Originally self-published in 1978, this novel by John Parker, Jr. focuses on a competitive runner at the fictional Southeastern University whose lifelong dream is to run a four-minute mile. The book details the numerous hardships the main character encounters during his quest. Whatever your running experience or goals may be, you'll be amazed by this inside glimpse into the intense lives of elite distance runners, and get inspired by one runner's incredible desire and drive to reach his goal.   


If you're looking for inspiration during your runs, you can't go wrong with anything from Mitch Albom. His best-selling Tuesdays With Morrie is the story of his visits with his former professor and mentor, Morrie Schwartz, and the lessons he imparts to Albom towards the end of his life. It's a powerful reminder of what's really important in life.


Best-selling author Laura Hillenbrand tells the incredible story of Louie Zamperini, a 1930s Olympic track star whose courage and will to live was brutally tested when he become a prisoner of war during World War II. The dramatic, riveting narrative and the truly unbelievable story of hope, perseverance, and heroism will make you want to keep listening (and running). 


This bestseller from Christopher McDougall 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.


This best-seller by acclaimed journalist and accomplished climber Jon Krakauer gives a dramatic, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Mount Everest. A story of triumph and loss, it will keep you captivated and leave you wanting more when you finish.


This inspiring and witty book by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman shares his year-long journey of preparing -- along with his 18-year-old daughter -- to run a marathon and other long distance races. In the process, he rekindles his love for long-distance running and all the training, triumphs, failures, and passion that come with it.


If you like memoirs, you'll enjoy Frank McCourt's sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking story of growing up poor, Irish, and Catholic in this Pulitzer Prize-winning book. I adored this book when I read it years ago, but hearing McCourt's performance made me love it even more.


While you're improving your physical strength through running, why not also work on your mental fortitude? Author and psychotherapist Amy Morin tells you how. She explains how to break the habits that are holding us back from true success and happiness.