7 Books To Read To Pump You Up For Your Workout

It's the middle of January, and your New Year's resolution to work out is starting to sour. It's getting harder and harder to pull yourself out of the bed in the morning, to carve out that little bit of gym time that back in December seemed so easy. You could really use a pep talk, and I've got just the books to do it.

Working out is one of those bizarre activities that makes us feel so good even though we have to really push ourselves to do it. Every time I work out, it comes with at least an hour beforehand of whining. But then, when it's over, I always feel amazing. Reading can be like that, too, sometimes, especially when you've got a large or a dense read that you're working on. Sometimes you'll look at it and see a near-impossible mountain to climb. But then, once you're going, you don't ever want to stop. In both cases, it's usually worth it.

Some of these books are nonfiction and others are straight-out novels. Whether you want to explore all the facets of your exercise-of-choice, or find daydream-source material for those harder reps, this list will get you into gear for your next workout.

1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Especially if you're a writer, this one will give a new meaning to your workout. One of contemporary literature's greatest, Haruki Murakami chronicles his journey to running the 2005 New York City Marathon, reflecting on his journey as a runner and as a writer, and the remarkable ways in which the two intertwine.


2. Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures by Runner's World

This collection of top stories from Runner's World magazine is a great, eclectic collection that will get you excited for your run. Diving into the history of running, these pieces range from inspirational to moving to fun. You won't be able to read this without wanting to lace up and go.


3. The Rider by Tim Krabbé

This cult classic Dutch novel is a must-read for any cyclist, whether you're on the standing bike or riding outside. Describing a 150-kilometer race in 150 pages, this book plants you in the cyclist's head as his mind churns and he fights to make it to the finish. Thrilling and provocative, you'll be torn between whether you want to read or ride.


4. Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison

In the wide world of yoga memoirs, this is one of the best around As a "coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, steak-eating twenty-five-year-old atheist," Suzanne Morrison drops everything to got to Bali and become a yoga teacher. But when she lands in her retreat, she discovers a world of yoga that is more intense then she could have imagined. A captivating work that will help you get in touch with what brings you to the mat.


5. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

In this adventurous book, McDougall sets out to find and leanr from the isolated Tarahumara Indians, the world's greatest long-distance runners. Combing insight with great storytelling, this read will help you dig into your workout and evaluate what's really going on when you run. Plus, who doesn't need a grand adventure to get them going?


6. Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

This comic series is the first Jessica Jones story. OK, so Jessica doesn't get her super strength from working out, but that doesn't mean it's any less badass. Superheroes meet noir in a tumultuous New York City. Not only will this comic be a can't-put-down read, but you'll inspire yourself to buff up. And who knows, soon you may be at least close to Jessica's level.


7. The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

There's nothing like an approaching zombie horde to get you running. You may even use the Zombies, Run! app. (Pro-tip: Literature's very own Margaret Atwood herself is in the second season!) Not only is this novel brimming with the undead, but it's outstanding in its own right, diving into the emotional hurricane that the apocalypse brings as a young woman tries to define her life in this unrelenting landscape. Start running, they're coming.


Images: sabinemondestin/Pixabay