YTD Mileage: 220 / 2017
(2112 miles / 2016)
During the 2009 Austin Marathon, I was running on the far right of the crowd, just inside the orange cones that marked the line between the runners and the traffic. An ambulance with lights and sirens blaring was creeping in the traffic lane just on the other side of the cones, impeded in its progress by a racer running on the traffic side of the cone. This runner, with earphones embedded in both ears, was completely oblivious to the commotion caused by his inattention to his surroundings. As the ambulance blared the sound of its presence, other runners were screaming at the unaware runner to move. Finally, one racer just inside the cones reached out, grabbed the inattentive runner by the arm, and yanked him back inside the cones and out of the path of the ambulance. About the same time, I read a few articles that warned women against running with earphones and music, noting that female runners throughout the country, listening to music as they ran and thus unaware of their surroundings, had been victims of assaults. Incidents such as these, in addition to my desire to immerse myself in the experience of my run itself, prevented me for quite a while from listening to music while I ran.
My strict rule against listening to music while running eased some when I bought my first iPhone in 2012. I discovered that I could hear the music from my phone without wearing earphones if left it in my running belt and had the volume turned up all the way. To keep from disturbing other runners with my music, I listened only when I was doing hill work in a local park. Increasingly, however, I pass by other runners and cyclists in more populated running spots who are listening to their audio devices without earphones, which means I might do the same without offending people. I never listen to music or a podcast during a race, however, so that I can respond to runners who speak to me while running, and so that I don’t annoy others racers by making noise.
Although I still prefer shorter runs without any audio accompaniment, I finally figured out what other runners figured out a long time ago. A lone long run passes by a lot more quickly when one immerses herself in music, a story, or an interesting interview. Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts. I used the podcast app on my phone a few weeks ago, to download some podcasts for long runs. I found I really like listening to podcasts more than I do listening to music.
One reason I like listening to podcasts better than I do music is that I learn a little something from every podcast to which I listen. My experience is not uncommon, of course. According to Dr. Chris Friesen, a clinical psychologist who specializes in sport and performance psychology and director of Friesen Sport and Performance Psychology in Ontario, evidence shows that people become more open to ideas and information while they run. Additionally, people think more creatively while running. Running comes naturally to humans, explains Friesen in the Washington Post article “Why Running is the Perfect Time for Podcasts,” so when we run we don’t have to think about what we’re doing. Using the “non conscious” part of our brains leaves the conscious part open to creative thinking. Friesen also points out that by taking advantage of the brain’s ability to absorb information and think creatively during a run by listening to audio books or podcasts, runners increase productivity; considering all their other commitments, they may not otherwise have time to read.
Listening to podcasts or audiobooks may not suit every runner. Many runners, instead of trying to increase productivity while running, run as a way to be alone, to get away from the world’s activity and demands. In addition to opening one’s mind to new ideas, Friesen states that running’s repetitive motions also make it an excellent activity for practicing what he calls “mindfulness.” People, while running, can train their brains to reject negative thoughts and “stay longer in the present moment.” Invariably, every runner has days when she seeks peace and solace from a run. On those days, either silence or music may be preferable to listening to an instructive or interesting podcast.
For the times I do want to listen to something inspirational or instructive while I run, I have podcasts from the following sites on loaded on my phone:
Ten Junk Miles This podcast is one of my favorites. The guests are inspirational, and the hosts are irreverent but down-to-earth. I also favor these podcast episodes because they are each about two hours long, which means one of these episodes lasts for an entire run up to about twelve miles (according to my slower pace).
The Unbeatable Mind This podcast, produced by retired Navy seal Mark Divine, is devoted to helping people develop mental toughness. I’m new to this podcast and listen out of curiosity right now. I would like to gain more mental strength.
A Taste of the Past These 45 minute shows have various topics such as “Handwritten Recipes and Marginalia,” and “The History and Origin of Coconuts and Their Use in Cooking.”
Around the Table These podcasts, produced by writer Jacey Verdicchio and dietitian / chef Maggie McDaris, discuss the balance between living a full life (in their words, achieving balance between living “purposefully without skipping dessert”).
Nordic Food Lab Radio (these are short podcasts but you can use the Up Next feature on your Podcast app to ensure continuous uninterrupted play of podcasts).
Father Spitzer’s Universe Father Robert J Spitzer, S.J. Ph. D., former president of Gonzaga University and current president of the Magis Center, examines questions about faith, life, science, suffering, and a wide range of human concerns.
Pints With Aquinas Matt Fraud, a Catholic speaker, poses questions to St Thomas Aquinas, than answers as Aquinas would answer (based upon the work of Aquinas).
After the Jump Tips and advice for people working in creative fields
The Food Blogger Pro Actually a closed group, but podcasts are devoted to information about using social media and monetizing blogs.
Michael Berry Show I have the Tunein Radio app on my phone and occasionally use that app to listen to Michael Berry’s show. Although he discusses the current political situation in America (from a Libertarian point of view), he also often has interesting guests on his show. He interviews writers of books unrelated to politics (on such topics as the history of beer in America, etc), as well as people who have succeeded in their particular field of expertise (such as restaurant owners, corporate executives, sports figures, etc).