Running and mental health go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Many runners use running as a way to help their mental health. I know I do. And many runners love to read about running. But what about reading books about running and mental health? They do exist and I have read a few of them. 

October is emotional wellness month and I thought I would share my top three books on running and mental health. Maybe you will find something new to read to celebrate!

In no particular order (because I think they are all GREAT!):

  1. Running is My Therapy by Scott Douglas
  2. Strong by Kara Goucher
  3. Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor

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Running is My Therapy looks at the relationship between running, anxiety, and depression. Douglas does a great job of mixing in his own and others’ struggles along with studies to show how running can help ease anxiety and depression. Douglas explains the scientific stuff in a way that is easy to understand and not boring. Even if you know all of this information already it is a nice refresher and I think all the personal stories help illustrate that you are not alone.

Running cannot heal anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues but in conjunction with other treatments can really help.

In Strong, Goucher guides the reader through overcoming self-doubt and building confidence. Goucher and other professional runners share their tips, techniques, and their stories as well as input from sports psychologists. There are plenty of included activities to guide you through building yourself up. 

I even followed her journal technique for a while after I read this one. It might be time to revisit and start using it again!

Let Your Mind Run somehow unlocked my mind. For some reason, I really connected to Deena Kastor and after I finished her book, I put what she talked about into practice.

I would recommend this book to anyone, not just runners. It is her memoir but it seems so much more than that, almost like a roadmap for others to follow. I often found myself having to stop reading because I was so emotionally drawn into her story. I had tears of joy when she had a victory and sadness with a setback. I felt like I was with her the entire time. 

It might be time for me to revisit all of these books! I had forgotten how great they were and how they really helped my running when I read them.

What are some books that have helped you with mental health or emotional wellness?

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Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.