Since you’re currently using the Internet, you’ve probably heard of Serial, the wildly popular true crime podcast that recently finished its first season. Podcasts have been around for nearly a decade, but thanks to Serial going mainstream the entire medium is having a moment. The number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled over the last five years to 75 million, with many people downloading their favorite shows to abate the boredom of their daily commute.
But what about those of us that run and ride to work? Most people think of exercise as time spent on the body, but workouts are also excellent opportunities to expand the mind. Mix a few podcasts into your favorite running playlist and suddenly you’re multitasking while you sweat. Here are some of our favorite shows—great for catching up on the day’s news, delving into a new subject, or simply zoning out to a great story during long runs.
Roman Mars | 99% Invisible
99% Invisible: This show features stories about design and architecture that is all around but rarely noticed. The episode list is a goldmine for the continually curious, as host Roman Mars (yes, his real name) makes the mundane fascinating and the small profound. If you’re interested in the history of rebar or find yourself in search of urban stairs to run, play this program in your earbuds.
Hardcore History: Hosted by Dan Carlin, an amateur historian and expert storyteller who is a master at explaining the most important and complicated events in history. He examines world-changing moments from multiple angles, leaving no stone unturned. Some episodes last as long as four hours, but they’re fascinating throughout. Make a pact with yourself to run every day until you’ve finished the show’s five-part series on the Wrath of the Khans, and by the end you will have greatly increased your lung and brain power.
NPR Hourly Newscast: This feed refreshes at the the top of every hour with a new five-minute summary of the biggest current events in the world. It’s the safest way to read the morning paper while you run.
Tim Ferris | The Tim Ferris Show
The Tim Ferris Show: Called “the world’s best human guinea pig” by Newsweek, Tim Ferris is a bestselling author known for his pursuit of life’s shortcuts in his bestselling books “The 4-Hour Workweek,” “The 4-Hour Body,” and “The 4-Hour Chef.” In his show, Ferris "dissects the excellence" of everyone from billionaires to comedians. He's highly personable, self-aware, a great interviewer, and his guests are always interesting. Highly recommend.
The James Altucher Show: James Altucher, an entrepreneur who has founded over 20 companies and written 11 business books, interviews fellow entrepreneurs and public figures about their careers and life philosophies. These are the conversations you’d have if you ever found yourself seated next to Mark Cuban or Marc Eckō on a cross-country flight.
Ben Greenfield | Ben Greenfield Fitness
Ben Greenfield Fitness: Performance and nutrition advice from Ben Greenfield, an ironman triathlete and former National Strength and Conditioning Association top trainer in the country. The show includes interviews with fitness and health professionals and is loaded with tips and motivation for leading a healthy lifestyle.
Zombies, Run!: Not technically a podcast but an app that turns your interval routine into a game of life and (living) death. Listen to your own music playlist interspersed with prompts to outrun hordes and collect supplies. You’ll never know how far and fast you can go until you’re running for your life!
Hrishikesh Hirway | Song Exploder
Song Exploder: In each episode, a musician deconstructs one of their songs layer by layer to tell the story and inspiration behind each track. Discover new music for your mix (we recommend the episode on The Album Leaf’s “The Outer Banks”) or listen to old favorites in a way you never have before.
Podrunner and Podrunner Intervals: Think of this podcast as a functional replacement for your usual running playlist. The Podrunner feed is made up of hour-long tracks of house and trance mixes sorted by tempo so you can dial in your pace and get lost in the rhythm. Podrunner Intervals features shorter mixes with varying tempos to fluctuate the pace of your workouts without needing to keep an eye on a timer. Simply pick your fitness level and keep in step with the beat.
Michael Davies & Roger Bennett | Men in Blazers
Men In Blazers: It can be tough to keep up with soccer news in the US and this podcast offers a weekly crash course on the English Premier League and US Men’s National Team. Hosts Rog and Davo, both British expats, are as insightful as they are hilarious, with each episode giving the impression of talking football at the pub with your two best mates.
ESPN PTI: This is the audio feed from Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon’s popular ESPN show that covers the wide world of sports through lively debates. The 21-minute episodes and fast pacing make the show perfect for catching up on the highlights during short runs.
For more fitness tips, inspiration, and more, be sure to follow @mylesapparel on Instagram
Images ©: 1. Myles Apparel; 2. Bert Johnson — East Bay Express; 3. Tim Ferris — fourhourworkweek.com; 4. Ben Greenfield — bengreenfieldtri.com; 5. Hrishikesh Hirway; 6. Vanyaland.