As a result of my unrealistic desire to turn everyone into a runner, I’ve decided to share some tips about what helps me keep running. While I’m no expert, I’ve been running for seven years now, which, at the age of 29, is 25% of my life. Thus, I’ve accumulated a few ideas for how to go from running-is-miserable-torture to running-is-freedom.
These tips are in no particular order of helpfulness, and may not work for everyone. But I hope they help a little!
Tip #2: Listen to interesting things while you run.
Now, this is a controversial one, because there are a lot of people out there who say you should run just for the pure joy of running. Be in touch with your body, pay attention to your surroundings, listen to your own thoughts, and all that.
If you’re one of those people who can run this way, I am extremely impressed. Keep it up.
I, however, am not one of those people. I don’t like listening to the sound of my labored breathing, and I get so bored focusing on my mind replaying the day over and over again. When I don’t have headphones to distract me, I end up dwelling on little aches and pains in my body, or the extreme level of humidity, or any other excuse to stop running. Thus, I am a big proponent of bringing along your ipod (or whatever) and listening to interesting things to help you get through the run. Such as…
I make my own playlists, and always keep at least one playlist on my phone titled “Running.” The songs are usually upbeat, dance-y type songs, or else epic instrumentals that leave me feeling motivated. I also have playlists titled “Training,” (for really long runs) “Mellow,” (on those rare days when I can run to slow music) and “Life” (for nostalgic purposes).
Sometimes I listen to playlists that people have made on Spotify, like this one and this one. Also, Spotify just came up with a new program that tracks your steps per minute and makes a mix for you! I haven’t tried it yet but it looks pretty awesome.
I also love the podcast called Music that Matters, from Seattle radio station KEXP. They put out an hour of new music each week, and sometimes have ones called Runner Powered Podcasts. I love these and keep them on my phone even after I delete other episodes. The DJ plays perfect running songs and intersperses them with inspirational running quotes. The latest one is my current favorite!
It took me a long time to realize how genius it is to listen to podcasts while you run. It’s like reading, my favorite thing in the world, only you can do it while running! There are a million different podcasts out there, but I find the ones that work best for me to listen to while running are the story-telling podcasts. They keep me focused on the story, rather than my desire to stop running, and sometimes minutes (whole minutes!) can go by where I don’t think about how my body feels, but instead think about what will happen next in the gripping podcast story. Some favorites:
I also love ones that are more focused on teaching you something (rather than telling you a story), but are still engaging programs, like…
And last but not least, I often defer to my dad’s favorite show when I need some humor to distract me: Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
Okay so I had to include this, because it would seem logical that if I love podcasts, and reading, I would also love audiobooks. But for some reason, no matter how hard I try, I can NOT seem to get into them. I have successfully made it through probably five audiobooks in my lifetime, which is not for lack of trying. (My dad has an incredible list of hundreds of audiobooks that he has listened to, organized alphabetically, that puts me to shame.)
Anyway, I think some people do like running while listening to audiobooks, because it’s something to engage your mind on the trail. So I found some lists on the internet that seemed helpful. Who knows, maybe some day I will discover a latent love for audiobooks…
12 Audiobooks for Runners (these all sound awesome)
Listening to Audiobooks While You Do Something Else is the Ultimate in Multitasking
Alicia | Jaybird
One thing that keeps me motivated to go running (or even walking) is saving all my favorite podcasts for those times. I used to have a 2-2.5 hour roundtrip commute and would listen to hours of podcasts in my car every day, but now that I commute on the train, running/walking time is the only time I make to listen to them. I really like RadioLab too. Some of my other current favorites are The Accidental Creative, Dear Sugar, and 99% Invisible.
That’s so funny, I do the same thing! I did a ridiculously long ski race this year, and the only thing that got me through it is because I didn’t allow myself to listen to ANY Radiolab for months leading up to it 🙂 Also thanks for the recommendations! I love Dear Sugar but didn’t know the other two – I will check them out
I have an app called RockMyRun. I like it because it has playlists of different lengths (and bpm). My favorite feature is that it has DJ-like transitions between songs so there’s no silence. You can pay for mixes but I just get the free ones.
Oh that is awesome! I will have to check that out! That might be better than Spotify since you have to pay to not have ads on that… Thanks Emily 🙂