You know those runs when it takes everything you’ve got to will yourself to the finish? Music may help, but sometimes you need something even more engaging, like, say, a podcast!
An engaging podcast has a way of encouraging time to float by effortlessly, even amidst the most arduous of tasks (like cleaning the bathtub). It’s no surprise then that you’re likely to experience some of your best miles engrossed in one of your favorite podcasts. If that’s not enough to convince you to start listening on your next jaunt, consider this: you’ll spend your run learning something new.
As a place to start, here’s a quick list of some of our favorite podcasts for running and why:
Invisibilia.This podcast from NPR, which means “all the invisible things” in Latin, centers around the forces that control and shape human behavior. Hosts Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin expertly weave engaging real-life storytelling and science together in an approachable, conversational way. Full shows last between 45 minutes and an hour, a good length for most longish runs.
This is Love. Were you a die-hard Criminal podcast fan like the rest of us? If so, you might just like This is Love, a brand-new podcast from Radiotopia. Yes, we know it’s a totally different topic, but it comes from the same creators (Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer), and so they approach the topic (love), with the same investigative intensity. Plus, This is Love floats along with a cadence that matches well with an easy, breezy recovery trot. Episodes last between 20 and 30-ish minutes, ideal for a quick run.
Endless Thread. As you might be able to discern from the title, this podcast, hosted by Ben Brock Johnson and produced by wbur and Reddit, is an exploration into some of the strangest and most interesting stories on Reddit. The show is well-produced and polish-edited with music and dramatic background tones to keep you engaged. Plus, the topics are wide-ranging and riveting. No matter your interests (whether you like cute pictures of puppies or strange, twisted murder stories), Endless Thread surely has at least one episode you’ll want to hear. Most shows run between 25 and 40 minutes, so they land in the sweet spot for everyday lunch runs.
NPR Politics Podcast. Sometimes the work week feels so hectic it’s hard to keep up with what’s happening in the White House … or maybe you don’t even want to (understandable). But, don’t write off politics so fast. The NPR Politics Podcast offers fun, approachable daily and weekly political “round ups.” Plus, the hosts talk in such a way that you’ll feel part of the group. It’s easy to absorb the latest and find even the most monotonous of policy interesting. Who knew talking politics could be fun? Shows range from 15 minutes to an hour.
How I Built This. Another gem from NPR. This weekly almost-hour-long podcast hosted by Guy Raz, takes an in-depth look at entrepreneurs, their businesses and movements, and how they got to where they are today. Each episode offers just under an hour of inspiring content that's sure to make you pick up your pace a smidge.
Lore. We would be remiss to leave this crowd favorite, and critically-acclaimed podcast off the list. Lore, created, written, and hosted by Aaron Mahnke, explores the dark side of history or, as he says, “real life scary stories.” It’s published twice per month and runs about 35 minutes. If you spook easily, we recommend reserving this podcast only for morning runs (so you have the whole day to shake it off).