Some people run with music, some audiobooks, some podcasts, some nothing. I’d say I’m a mixture of all, but mostly audiobooks or nothing at the moment… So what do you listen to when running?
Can You Concentrate on an Audiobook During a Run?
Audiobooks have me in two minds. Currently my long runs are spent listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, and it’s great. As I’ve read the actual books so many times, I find it super easy listening material and I can always keep up with what’s happening. I mean I can pretty much recite them. Is that something to be proud of? (Well I am) Now I’ve tried another fiction audiobook and I just kept getting completely lost. Granted I tried this whilst commuting and not running, but it completely put me off fiction. Besides Harry Potter of course, for the above reasons…
Non-fiction books are completely different though. You don’t really have to listen to intently and keep up with a storyline, which makes it a lot easier in my opinion. I listened to Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley at some point last year and absolutely loved it. As a book based on personal experiences, it felt like I was just listening to a friend chatting. Would recommend that book actually as it had me laughing out loud many times!
Audiobooks are a definite no-no if you’re doing intervals or a tempo run or something other than easy and slow and I think most if not all runners would agree with that. How would you keep track?!
So What About Podcasts When Running?
I’d definitely put these in the same category as non-fiction books. Perfect for those long or easy runs. You could literally search for anything and there will be a podcast for it. I’ve got plenty of running related ones on the app I use (Podcast Addict) but I’ve also got TV series discussion ones (AfterBuzz), Serial, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Ted Radio Hour, The Black Tapes, Welcome to Nightvale and a few more. A good mixture!
The thing is, I do sometimes zone out whilst on my long runs. The audio is great as background noise and a distraction, but I guess it’s not a time where I want to be putting all my focus into listening. This makes podcasts perfect because honestly it’s mostly just chatter depending on what you’re listening to and it doesn’t matter if you miss a few sentences here and there. As above, I wouldn’t choose a podcast for any fast training run!
Use Music to Get Your Body Moving
This is where music comes in. If I’m honest, I can’t remember the last time I listened to music when running. (Shows how much I do intervals/tempos – that needs to change!) I don’t have music on my phone and I cancelled my Spotify premium so you know, I’ve just managed without. I actually headed out for a run on Tuesday after work. I was a kilometre in when I realised I hadn’t put any music or podcasts or audiobooks on. So used to running without now at Park Run each week!
So yes, I have a severe lack of interval/tempo/sprints and whatever else in my running training, but if I did motivational music has to be the way to go. All too often I’ve just put a random playlist on and then I’ll get a really slow song come on, and it just ruins your flow. You can find playlists on programs such as Spotify, or workout CDs that have music with a very specific tempo time. These are perfect for keeping you running at the pace your aiming for and I need to utilise them more.