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The best music, books, podcasts and more to motivate your run

The hardest part of running - and in fact any exercise - is often finding that initial drive to get yourself moving. Finding your inspiration, wherever you do, will help light the fire that motivates you to get out there and not just start but keep running.

To help energise and uplift your running journey, here are a few of my favourite ways to motivate a run…

1. Books

Sitting down to read a book may seem counterproductive when it comes to encouraging a run. However, there are so many incredible stories out there that will educate and motivate you to start or continue running. So without further ado, here are a few of the best to keep you running…

Born to Run, Christopher McDougall

Mind-blowing and inspirational, Christopher McDougall’s tale of the Tarahumara tribe - some of the best long distance runners in the world - takes you on an adventure to re-think everything you may know about running and re-discover the primal joy of movement. Part how-to guide, part scientific exploration this book is sure to inspire your running journey.

This incredible memoir by one of my all time favourite authors, Haruki Murakami, is a motivational memoir of the author’s journey to prepare for the New York Marathon. Murakami’s dialogue with himself and his provides a beautiful insight into how to prepare and encourage yourself to keep moving.

For all my fellow female tribe, thinking about or already running, this is an absolute must-read! In this wonderful collection, Kristin Armstrong - contributing editor to Runner’s World - celebrates and captures perfectly the joy of running and the parallels between achieving your goals in sport and life.

This day-by-day account of the 1998 Colorado men’s cross country team has to be one of the best running books ever written! This is a fascinating look at the true highs and lows of running and provides an honest and inspiring insight into what it really takes to achieve running success.

Running With the Mind of Meditation, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

If you are looking for a more joyful and spiritual approach to motivate your running, this is the book for you. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s novel takes a unique and gentler approach to running, guiding you through how to find fulfilment in running by striking a balance between sustained movement and being present in the moment.

2. Documentaries

Other’s stories and successes are one of my greatest motivators in life. They provide us with an incredible insight into all we are capable of as human beings and the knowledge that we can achieve anything we set our minds to. There are so many wonderful running documentaries out there that are bound to inspire your running journey, these are just a few of my favourites…

Following six runners over the age of 50, The Human Race, documents their inspiring reasons and journeys to train and compete in the biggest race of their lives. This heartwarming documentary is a reminder that each and everyone of us can achieve any goal we choose, whatever fitness level or stage in life we are at.

Into The Wind provides a window into the life of 21 year old Terry Fox, an amputee runner, diagnosed with cancer, as he attempted to run across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. If you are afraid of running or in any way unsure of whether your body is capable, this is the documentary to inspire your running journey.

Gun Runners documents the incredible journey of two Kenyan runners, Julius Arile and Robert Matanda who traded in their rifles for sneakers in hopes of making it as professional marathon runners. This documentary provides an incredible insight into why running is such an important outlet and help to so many people across the world.

This documentary follows the stories of a number of the November Project runners, why they got into the grassroots free fitness movement and how it has positively shaped their lives. Showing Up is the perfect reminder that running is all about the positive impact it has on your life, what you can do and not what you can’t.

Marathon Boy is the amazing rags-to-riches story of Budhia Singh, sold by his mother to a peddlar, and then spotted and taken under the wing of Biranchi Das, a local judo coach who nurtured his running talent. Although the story takes a slightly darker turn towards the end, it’s an incredible l look at how running can change someone's life.

3. Podcasts

Podcasts are not just an inspirational source, but the perfect partner for your run, inspiring and motivating you as you move. Here are a few of the best I’ve found…

Run, Selfie, Repeat with Kelly Roberts

This is the perfect humorous and highly motivating running accompaniment for those of us who know we aren’t athletes but still want to experience the joy of movement. Kelly Robert’s short, weekly pep talks not only provide an honest look at life and running but are a great driving force to help you take that first step out the house and running forward.

Running Commentary with Paul Tonkinson and Rob Deering

Another brilliantly funny and endearing podcast to motivate your runs and make them feel a little easier. Comedians Paul Tonkinson and Rob Deering talk about all things comedy, life and running all while running.

The Ali on the Run Show with Allison Feller

The Ali on the Run Show brings together so many interesting voices through running but also provides an inspiring insight into their lives beyond. If you want to feel supported by or like you are chatting to a group of friends while on the run, Ali’s podcast is the one for you!

Running for Real with Tina Muir

Tina Muir’s podcast has some of the most incredible experts in the running world, from sports psychologists, doctors, scientists, dietitians, elite runners, strength training coaches, running form experts, to everyday runners with inspiring stories. Each episode will provide you with a great takeaway to help achieve your running goals.

Run to the Top with Claire Bartholic

Another great podcast for truly expert advice and insight on running! If you are looking for invaluable guidance on how to tackle the journey from beginner runner to master, this is the perfect podcast!

4. Music

Most of us know that music is a fantastic motivator for any exercise! I’ve found in moments where I don’t think I can push myself any further, with the right song I can go beyond any limits I might think I have and achieve great things.

Rather than subject you to my own music taste - something between gangsta rap and opera (don’t laugh) - I have a special treat for you…Steve Solomon has put together some of his favourite tracks to inspire a run, especially for us you can listen and access the playlist on Spotify here.

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