Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Running with Podcasts

I got a new ipod for Christmas! WoooHOOOOOO! It's tiny! It's awesome! I love it! Because though I love a certain amount of time alone with my thoughts, I can’t handle one-on-one Mollie time all the time.  (The rants! The inner monologues! The panic attacks! Sometimes I’m just too much…)
I prefer to run with people, but if no one’s willing or able I’ll substitute some electronic distraction. There are so many great workout songs out there. Good music, bad music, fun music and ridiculous music – but don’t worry, I won’t subject you to my amazing taste right now (that’s for another post).

Instead let me tell you about my favorite thing to listen to: podcasts. They sound so insider, but once you get them you’ll never go back!

They work kind of like a blog – some podcasts are updated daily, some weekly. Like Google Reader (or any RSS feed), new episodes are automatically updated in your itunes. And then when you plug your ipod into your computer, you can sync your library and get the new episodes onto your ipod. (If this is too obvious, sorry. Just take this moment to feel technologically superior. I recently introduced my mama to the glory of podcasts and she needs all computer knowledge in the super-simplified version.)

Back to running. Why podcasts instead of music? Because they’re completely distracting (in a good way). I would never listen to anything during a workout, but on a mileage run I need someone or something to keep me company. When I’m listening to a podcast I’m totally engrossed in the story I’m listening to, and running becomes an automatic and almost secondary activity.

WARNING: Don’t listen to anything too loud. Especially if you’re running in sketchy or traffic-heavy areas it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Safety first!
Most podcasts are free, and I subscribe to few. My favorites are both NPR. I love The Moth. It’s dedicated to the art of story telling: basically, once a week you get a 5-20 minute story about anything told by writers, comedians, or professional story tellers, and sometimes audience members. They are fantastic. You must subscribe.

My other favorite is NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Because I am a liberal news-loving nerd. This show is hilarious! Think of a cross between the Daily Show and a quiz gameshow with different celebrity guests every week. And it’s 50 minutes long – about the amount of time it takes me to run 5 miles and cool down. Perfect. I’m not even kidding, this podcast makes me laugh out loud while running. Subscribe here.

Do you listen to podcasts? Any recommendations for me?


  1. I love to run to podcasts, too (although I always run slower than I do with music). Did you get a shuffle? My ipod nano just died, so I need to get something new.

  2. Meeee too. Love the podcasts. Definitely love The Moth. Some can be tricky if they are news-related (like WWDTM, all the Slate ones) because they don't make as much sense later, or aren't interesting.

    Also: This American Life (as long as it's not too sad of an episode), Slate stuff (sports podcast Hang Up and Listen; the Political Gabfest; Culturefest), StoryCorps (they are short, often will make you cry btw), New Yorker Fiction, Fresh Air, PRI: Selected Shorts, and segments of my former NPR member station with hosts that I like.

  3. I listen to podcasts on long runs or in the car. I totally love Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I also subscribe to Only a Game (Charlie Pierce who is on Wait Wait is also on this.), It's All Politics, Iron Brandon, Pop culture, Story of the Day ****, Running with the Pack. Hope one works for you. I am off to subscribe to The Moth to try it.

  4. LOVE podcasts while running! Also perfect for getting ready in the morning and driving to work. My all time fav is Radiolab. GET IT. Each episode is an hour, though their 20-min shorts are pretty good too. The stories are so addictive.