A popular debate among running enthusiasts is what is the best thing to LISTEN to while running. Some swear by energetic music, while others like to focus on podcasts during their run.
In this day and age, we are fortunate to have LIGHTWEIGHT wireless headphones or earphones and a range of music and podcast streaming services at our fingertips.
We also have many great options on how to carry our phone while running (don’t carry your phone in your hand, it is cumbersome and can affect your stride).
Along with this, however, is a vast array of options when it comes to what to listen to. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most popular listening material for runners.
What Runners Listen to During a Run – Survey
1. Music is the Most Popular Choice
The most popular choice for many runners is music. It can provide motivation, and it can help maintain your pace.
According to a survey conducted by The Running Awards, 45% of runners opt for listening to music as they run.
Many runners put together a playlist of songs with the ideal tempo (BPM). They can even order their playlist so that the faster and more energetic tracks play towards the end of the run to provide a much-needed energy and morale boost.
Example on Spotify: Popsugar Fitness: Beginner Running Playlist
2. Listening to Nothing Was in Second Place
However, 33% of runners don’t listen to anything at all!
Or rather, they focus on the surrounding sounds, in addition to their own breathing. Some people find this beneficial, as the peaceful quietness can provide a nice respite for those with noisy, hectic home or work lives.
Many people find this relaxing, and it enhances the meditative aspects of running.
Not listening to anything allows you to focus on the task at hand; the run! It allows you to concentrate on your pace, breathing, and your gait.
Even if you do prefer to listen to something while you run, it is recommended that you try running in silence on occasion to allow you to focus on improving these details of your running.
3. Chatting With a Friend Is Third on the List
The third most popular thing to do while running is to chat with a friend with whom you are running. This is normally better suited for runs where you are not training so intensely, so you can maintain a conversation during cardio.
Once the anaerobic threshold has been crossed, it can be nigh on impossible to chat when you’re gasping for air!
Talking to a running buddy can be a helpful morale boost during a run or a jog, and it allows you to monitor how intensely you are running.
4. Podcast Listening Is on the Rise
An increasingly popular thing to listen to while running is podcasts. Today, there is an abundance of podcasts available to listen to through streaming services such as Spotify.
Typically, podcasts are best listened to on a long-distance and less intense run, as they are long-form conversations that can last an hour or multiple hours.
The Benefits of Listening to Podcasts While Running
Podcasts are informative: Podcasts can entertain and educate you on everything from history to true crime to the economy. You can exercise and learn something at the same time.
Podcasts are published regularly: Podcasts typically release new content weekly or monthly. You’ll always find something new if you listen to various podcasts.
Podcasts have engaging stories: A long story or narrative might be more exciting and interesting than a song.
If you want to try out listening to a podcast during your next run, but you don’t know where to start, we have some popular recommendations for you.
Here are our top picks for podcasts:
5 Picks for Podcasts to Listen to While Running
This audio-only version of ESPN’s hit series of sports documentaries makes for a great companion to your run. The 30 for 30 podcasts are just as effective as the TV series, and there is a wide variety of amazing sport-related stories to choose from.
In this podcast, you can learn all about everything from polar exploration to Olympic failures or even the scandalous story of yoga guru Bikram Choudhury.
If you love true crime, then you will surely enjoy The Sneak Podcast from USA Today. It tells stories of true crime in relation to sports, such as the story of Murph the Surf, the surfer turned jewel thief, con man, and eventually convicted murderer.
Both seasons of the podcast are as wildly engaging as they are interesting, but it makes sure not to glorify any of the awful crimes that it is retelling.
This series of lectures in podcast form from the world-renowned TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) features some of the most forward-thinking intellectuals around.
If you are interested in new ideas, concepts, and research surrounding the field of health and medicine, then you must check this show out.
This Morning Shakeout podcast from the famous running enthusiast and coach Mario Fraioli has gained a huge audience of listeners. They love his in-depth interviews with other running enthusiasts, writers, coaches, and more.
Highlights of this podcast include his interviews with Aliphine Tuliamuk and Alexi Pappas. New episodes are released every week, and they make for an excellent companion on your run.
5. Slow Burn
Slow Burn, produced by Slate Podcasts is an unbelievably interesting deep dive into stories you think you know all about, but really you’ve only scratched the surface.
Each episode is a fascinating and thought-provoking look into various cultural stories from recent histories, such as Watergate, the Clinton Impeachment, and the story of Biggie and Tupac.
With this podcast, you’ll be running extra far just to hear the conclusion of an episode.
The Bottom Line
According to The Running Awards’ survey, only 7% of runners opt for listening to podcasts.
However, we think listening to podcasts can be a great thing to do during a mid to long-distance run. It provides you with a good level of mental stimulation while you’re getting your cardio in for the day.
If you don’t know where to begin with podcasts, check out some of our recommendations above and see if any of them get you hooked.
Remember to stay vigilant whilst running with your headphones or earphones on. Maintain awareness of your surroundings, including traffic, cyclists, and other pedestrians.
Carry your phone safely. An armband is a typical choice for carrying a phone. Here you can find some options to run with a phone without an armband if you don’t like the bulkiness of an armband.
Bear in mind that you may not be able to hear an oncoming vehicle if you have loud music or a podcast in your ears, or if you have noise-canceling headphones. Stay safe out there, and happy running!