I listen to a ton of podcasts while I run. For me, they are just the ticket to getting through those solo long runs. I started listening (so many years ago) when I finally accepted that my musical taste isn’t runner friendly. Icelandic ambient post-rock doesn’t really mesh well with a strong 135 BMP running tempo.
Now I load up my little iPod shuffle with podcasts and head out the door.
Note: Boo Hoo! Apple has announced they have stopped making the Shuffle. Get one now while you still can – trust me, they are perfect for podcasts on the run. The Shuffle makes it so easy to fast forward through ads.
Best Podcasts For The Long Run
I was originally going to put all my favorite podcasts into one post, but there were just too many.
So a series it is!
I broke my list down loosely into categories:
- Favorite Pop Culture and Entertainment
- Favorite History and Factoids
- Favorite True Crime, Mystery, and Unexplained
- Favorite Business, Productivity and Self Help
- Favorite Running Podcasts (coming soon)
Business, Productivity and Self Help Podcasts
I love these genres of podcasts, but I sometimes find it hard to listen to them on the run.
Why? I so often hear ideas and tidbits of information that I want to remember, but on the run is the only time I don’t carry a pen and paper to capture thoughts.
I very often have to relisten to parts of self-help podcasts when I get home so I can take notes.
Accidental Creative is a podcast for those who need to be creative on-demand (whatever that means to you). The tagline of the podcast is how ‘to be prolific, brilliant, and healthy.’
The podcast covers topics like productivity, dealing with comparison and other creative pit-falls, and how to be happy and fulfilled with the work that you do.
It was as interesting to me when I worked at a non-creative desk job as it is now that I work in a non-traditional, creative, and on-demand environment.
Usually one new episode a week
How To Be Amazing
How To Be Amazing is hosted by comedian and author Michael Ian Black. He features guests who, in his words, have ‘found a way to make their essential selves into a career’ (we should all be so lucky). The result is a really interesting and eclectic mix of guests.
I was only vaguely familiar with Black’s work when I started listening, and I must say I’ve been really impressed. He has a way of asking questions that sound very simple but are actually very complex and layered.
One new episode every two weeks
Motley Fool Money
Motley Fool Money covers business, money, and investing. It may seem like an odd choice for me as I don’t really invest in individual stocks, yet I listen to it every week and always find it interesting since they discuss business and stocks at a level even I can understand.
I feel smarter after listening each week.
This is an especially good podcast to listen to if you have to fake your way through business-related small talk at cocktail parties or networking functions.
One new episode a week
I’ve listened to Planet Money since it first started as a special episode of This American Life during the 2008 financial crisis titled ‘Giant Pool of Money’ (worth a listen in the TAL archives if you haven’t heard it).
Planet Money covers complex economic issues and it explains them simply and clearly. I can’t say I care all that much about economics, but as I’ve mentioned before, well-told stories are well-told stories and are worth a listen regardless of genre.
Two new episodes a week
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is the podcast version of the NPR news-quiz-comedy show.
I find that I can’t listen to all that much ‘real’ news lately, so WWDTM fills me in on what is happening without stressing me out as much as the real stuff does.
One new episode a week
In the past few years, a whole subgenre of podcasts has sprung up around radio shows, many of which tie back (directly or indirectly) to Ira Glass and This American Life.
I’ve listened to all of these shows from time to time and really like them all, but I find myself listening to them less as they are becoming indistinguishable from each other as they cross-pollinate producers and talent.
They share too much DNA for my taste, but they are all high-quality shows: