Escaping With a Good Podcast

I nearly always run with headphones.  Not on the track or the trails, but whenever I’m out for a run alone, I’m listening to something.

I used to listen to music exclusively.  Upbeat, current pop/dance music gets my feet moving a little faster and the time goes by a little quicker.  I still listen to music for faster runs, but if I’m out for an easy session, I’ll choose a podcast instead.

Podcasts are perfect for keeping your pace slow and even, which is how easy runs should feel.  I also love how I can be completely absorbed in an interview and barely notice the miles clicking by.  My mind is distracted from the boredom of repetitive runs on familiar routes and I forget about those nagging excuses to quit and call it a day. With pop music on the other hand, a song ends every third of a mile or so, constantly reminding you of how far you have to go.  It’s much easier to allow your mind to wander listening to music than a podcast where you feel almost actively engaged in a conversation.

Like many people, I got hooked on podcasts when the Serial series came out over a year ago.  Each week, more details of the story of a cold case were revealed and I could not wait to hear what happened next.  When that season ended, I looked around for something else to fill that void.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Rich Roll Podcast:  Plant-based athlete and author, Rich Roll interviews what he calls “paradigm-busting” culture changers who do incredible feats across the globe.  One week he’ll be talking to an Olympian swimmer, next will be a documentary filmmaker, and the following will be a guy who climbed the highest peaks on the seven continents plus the two poles in record-breaking time.  Roll is a skilled interviewer who truly engages his guests in thoughtful conversation.  Listening to his podcast is like being a fly on the wall at a really cool dinner party.

Run To The Top Podcast: Hosted by elite Saucony athlete Tina Muir, this podcast is mostly about (wait for it) running (were you surprised?) with interviews of top coaches, athletes, and influencers in the sport.  I would not say, however, that Muir is a natural interviewer.  At times I am a bit frustrated that she doesn’t ask more in-depth follow up questions or challenge her guests a little more often, but she is improving her skills and she brings on some very interesting people.  Overall, I find the show well worth a listen each week.

Mortified:  I don’t listen to Mortified regularly simply because each podcast is too short for most of my runs, but I still highly recommend it.  The premise is adults read their teenage diaries out loud to a live audience.  I have laughed so hard listening during a run that I nearly doubled over on the sidewalk.  Hysterical.

Endurance Planet:  I’m new to this one and I’m still deciding if I like it.  Triathlete coach Tawnee Prazak hosts a super-nerdy podcast getting into the science of nutrition and endurance training.  Her diet advice leans heavily Paleo/low-carb/high-fat/no grains which I’ve always been skeptical of, but I don’t immediately dismiss, either.  Because of some of her interviews, I’ve been experimenting with adding more whole fats into my diet and I’m liking how I’m feeling fuller longer.  I will never be low-carb or low-grains, but she doesn’t prescribe that for all athletes and knows that marathon runners have to have a higher mix of quality carbs, so I’ll keep this podcast in rotation for a while.

What about you?  Do you have any podcast recommendations for me?  What do you listen to on a run?

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