Tunes: Podcasts for Your Run

This Tunes post is going to be a bit different.  Instead of giving you a Spotify playlist, I’m going to share my fave podcasts.

It took a long time for me to get into podcasts.  Most of them are at least an hour long and I have very few hour-long periods where I’m doing nothing and can pay full attention to the people speaking.  It doesn’t work for me to listen while I’m just sitting around the apartment as an alternative to tv.  I can’t get engaged so my eyes dart around the room and I lose concentration.  My commute isn’t even long enough to get through a full podcast.  And then there’s the fact that when I have that sort of free time, I’d rather just be reading a book.

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But I’ve discovered why podcasts were invented, at least for me.  It’s for running.  I used to think I needed catchy music to keep me motivated on a run.  While that’s great (and a tactic I still often employ), I’ve found that I can start listening to a podcast and all of a sudden I’ve run several miles.  It’s amazing.  Running is the one time I can’t occupy my time with a book (that would be dangerous), but podcasts afford me the same escapism.

There is truly a podcast for everyone – any possible topic is covered.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Bitch Sesh: I don’t get a lot of podcasts that just feature the hosts…talking.  I keep waiting for them to get to the good stuff.  These ladies are so funny that them chit chatting IS the good stuff.  Casey Wilson (of SNL and Happy Endings fame) and Danielle Schneider (fellow actress and funny person) spend the first half of this podcast talking about their weekend and the second half dishing about the latest Real Housewives episode.  It’s exactly like gossiping with my girlfriends.  Since it’s pure fun, I totally lose track of time while I’m running.
  • This American Life: You probably don’t need me to tell you about this one, but it’s worth repeating: great podcast.  Each week, Ira Glass tackles a wide range of topics, told in first person, in several segments.  I’ve listened to episodes covering everything from being overweight to final words before death.  This one really gets you thinking.
  • Hidden Brain: Like This American Life, Hidden Brain comes to us from the NPR folks.  It explores the science behind behaviors and our subconcious.  Episodes delve into subjects like subliminal racism in the Airbnb rental process.  The episodes are about 25 minutes each, which is perfect for getting me through a 2.5-3 mile run.
  • Freakonomics Radio: This one is similar to Hidden Brain, but runs a bit longer (about 45 minutes/episode) and is more socioeconomics than science.
  • EW’s Binge: Two Entertainment Weekly editors sit around and analyze a series with a snarky tone.  This first season dissects Harry Potter, and we listen to them gossip about the series (“Let’s face it, I’m a Slytherin”) and interview people from the movies.  The first episode includes an interview with director Chris Columbus who provides some fun behind the scenes tidbits.
  • Modern Love: Another super popular podcast that I’m sure you’ve already heard about.  This podcast brings to life the Modern Love column from the NY Times (one of their best weekly features, IMHO).  First, the original author reads her Modern Love piece and then they do a little where-are-they-now interview.
  • I Tell My Husband The News: Each week, a USA Today journalist fills her comedian husband in on all the news he missed over the week. I’m not so great about keeping up with the news and this is short enough for me to absorb news without getting bored.  I can soak up a newsy tidbit or two to share at a dinner party so I don’t sound too stupid.   It’s great because the episodes are quick (most are 15 minutes or less) so you can listen and then move on to something else.  Switching up the style of the podcasts I listen to helps keep my run exciting.