Unless you’re one of those superhumans who can knock out a 10-miler with nothing but nature’s sing-song melody for company, your weekly runs (especially the long-distance types) probably go hand-in-hand with a specially curated music playlist. But soon enough, that deep-bass electronica just doesn’t get you as pumped for your workout as it did a few short weeks prior. And let’s face it, there’s a limit to the amount of Top 40 hits your ears can safely consume.
Enter podcasts. Nothing serves as a better brain distraction than an enthralling story, and we’re here to list out some of the best shows out there so you can get through your grueling runs before you know it….and perhaps gain some extra knowledge to boot! The best part is that most of the interesting podcasts below tend to have episodes of an hour or more, so they are your running companions for the long haul! No need to fidget with your phone to switch episodes on mile 3 (though if you do need to access your phone during runs, we have the perfect protective and comfortable running armband to help with that). If you prefer stories (or runs) that are more brief, you're still covered. Many of these podcasts also include mini episodes for when you're short on time.
Behold the following list and prepare to start looking forward to your long commutes and extended workouts:
More of a fiction person? I get it—sometimes a little escapism is just what the doctor ordered. Tales features retellings of all of the famous fairy tales, fables, and folk stories you grew up with. Fair warning, though: these are not the kid-glove versions you may know and love, but rather tend to be quite dark (those authors of days past had tough lives—we’ll cut them some slack). For example, I bet you don’t remember the story of Thumbelina being about a tiny girl having to fend off a menagerie of creepy animals who try to force her into wifedom. Not to worry—the insanely soothing voice of narrator Vanessa Richardson more than makes up for the tarnishing of precious childhood memories.
Crime podcasts are all the rage, but I will preface this by saying that true crime is not everyone’s cup of tea….and true crime comedy even less so. But I promise it’s not as crass as it sounds. Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff have built an incredible following of “Murderinos” who tune in multiple times a week to hear NSFW stories of infamous murders (or miraculous survivals) you’ve definitely heard of, as well as those that fell through cracks and haven't been as widely publicized. At its core, it’s a show that encourages safety and empowerment in the hopes that smart choices lead to one less potential victim. And not to instill too much paranoia, but I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea for solo runners to keep murder-prevention advice at the forefront of their mind. It’s a crazy world out there, ya’ll!
*If you like true crime, but prefer it be delivered in a more serious (and less profanity-laced) manner, Criminal and Serial are the investigative reporter-style podcasts you’re looking for. Or try The Thing About Pam, Dirty John, and Dr. Death for especially intriguing cases involving some pretty awful swindler-types.
Malcolm Gladwell has written multiple amazing books that delve into what influences the way we view our world. Referencing history, culture, and scientific studies, he has a unique ability to turn your thoughts on their heads and illuminate little-known facts that have the power to completely change your perception. If you're looking for something that can stick with you for a full marathon, we'd recommend giving some of his audiobooks a try! But, on those shorter run days, his podcast is the perfect choice. Revisionist History takes a look at the past at different angles to evaluate if our longstanding assumptions about that past topic actually hold any water. Are you a critical thinker seeking some deeper knowledge on eclectic topics? This one's for you!
If you prefer your podcasts to be less like school and more like hanging out with your friends, give this one a go. Husband and wife duo Chris and Samantha have amassed an impressive movie collection over the years and each week, they select one to chat about and rate. The movies range from blockbuster hits to obscure delights that make you wonder how exactly some people became filmmakers. Whether the movie of the week is one you love, hate, or never even heard of, your hosts--with their unique brand of audio antics--will guide you through some of the most absurd, hilarious, and poignant scenes. Thanks to the hosts' seemingly endless well of movie knowledge, you'll finish each episode having learned some amazing bar trivia nuggets to keep in your back pocket. At the very least, you'll laugh; and an improved mood is just the ticket when it's taking everything in you to push through those last few miles. This is also a great pick if you're looking for off the beaten path movie recommendations, though it is arguably far more fun to check out the movie first so that you can nod along knowingly with the commentary or scream your outrage when they inevitably pan the childhood films on which the foundations of your entire adult personality are built.
Pro Tip: If you send them a movie, they HAVE to watch and review it for the show. There's nothing more engaging than a podcast that engages back!
Though it certainly wouldn't be in the top lists of podcasts to listen to while running, Get Sleepy is arguably just as valuable! After all, you can't expect to give it your all when you're hitting the trails on only 4 hours of sleep. This podcast tells slow, soothing stories in deeply comforting tones meant to lull you into sleep quickly. A good night's rest means a good day's run, so give it a try if your body tends to reject a healthy bedtime, as so many of ours do.
This is by no means an exhaustive list—the sheer amount of podcasts out there is mind-boggling. But once you find your preferred shows, you’ll be looking forward to those long runs for a chance to get some episodes in! And with a no-slip, durably constructed Armpocket, it couldn’t be easier to listen. The touch-thru window allows you to easily play, pause, rewind, or speed up your podcast, all without even breaking stride! Give it a shot and let us know which podcasts for running are your favorites!