running while reading (with audio books!)

running with audio books
Meet Rebecca from our Winnipeg store! We heard about her running story and asked if she would  share with everyone. While many people listen to music while they run, Rebecca listens to audio books to get inspired when she hits the pavement!

It was the Police Half-Marathon in Winnipeg, 2007. I was nervous. I had never run 13.1 miles before and I didn't know if I could do it. When the gun went off at the start of the race, I pressed play on my iPod, and started running. Swept up in the excitement of my first race, I didn't realize until after a half mile that my carefully crafted playlist of Spice Girls, Massive Attack and the Village People was not playing. Instead, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, the audiobook I was listening to on my commute to and from work, was coming through my earbuds.

listen to audio books while running
About to hit the pavement with audio books.

As I ran along the course, I considered struggling to free my iPod to change to my race playlist, but discarded the idea as the narrative drew me in. It didn't take me long to realize the benefits of running to a book instead of a beat.

I was running the pace my body wanted me to run, instead of my knee jerk reaction to running with the music. Audiobooks are not so loud that they drown out the sounds of the runners around you, the cars driving by you. And somehow, listening to an audiobook makes my runs seem shorter than they actually are. It felt like I was only running for an hour - not an hour and fifty-five minutes - during that race.

While training for my first full marathon, I read eight audiobooks. Each one I associate with a different part of my training. Jack: Straight from the Gut, for example, was the book I read during the bulk of my hill training. Jack Welch wrote of his determination to succeed at General Electric, and I was inspired by his determination – and used it to fuel myself up the hill. The Lorax by Dr. Suess, at 15 minutes and 30 seconds in length, took me through warm-ups with a smile on my face. Below is an outline of the kind of workouts I do to audiobooks.

Which reminds me - I have a 45-minute easy run right now, and A New Earthby Eckhart Tolle is calling my name.

five reasons to run to audiobook

1. You run to your own beat, you are more in tune with your body

2. Self-development! Bettering your body AND bettering your mind.

3. Maximize free-time - I'm busy, and I love to read, but I don't always have time to.

4. Focus - I'm less likely to psych myself out of a run. Focusing on the book doesn't allow those "I'm tired" thoughts to cross my mind!

5. Safety - you can still hear what is going on around you.

some of my favourite books to run with

Jack: Straight From the Gut by Jack Welch - Hill training. Determination is required to get through your hill training, and Jack has determination in spades.

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt - Long story for long runs.

Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations by Kerry Patterson – While Kerry gives you the tools to have crucial conversations and confrontations, you can work out any superlative anger or frustration thinking about those conversations causes in speed workouts.

Blink and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – Great race books – full of interesting facts and fascinating theories, keeps you just distracted enough, but not too much!

Lorax by Dr. Suess – For warm-ups and fuzzy feelings (my brother used to read this book to me when I was a kid)

What book would be great to listen to?

read more related posts:


I do this too! Only I listen to podcasts while I run! Some great ones are :
– Bob Greenfield Fitness
– Lipgloss & laptops
– Hip Tranquil Chick.


Comment by Angela — December 23, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

I love listening to audiobooks while running. That’s what got me through my training for my first marathon since I trained completely on my own. I like mysteries and chick lit books (they’re light, fluffy and not too intense!). I have listened to some humor books, but sometimes it’s a little weird when you burst out laughing while running by yourself! :-)

Comment by Jill Will Run — December 23, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

I just started doing this the other day after running iPod free for over 2 yeras. Running without headphones just seems more pure and I can focus better, but I figured if I’m going to be running several hours a week, I might as well get some reading done. I got half way through Super Freakonomics on last week’s long run. Born to Run is also a great one to motivate you to be able to go the distance.

Comment by Brian — December 24, 2009 @ 6:21 am

Love this post Rebecca!

I’ve started doing my workouts at home and at the gym to Brian Tracy’s Psychology of Achievement and I am seeing the benefits for sure


Comment by Jenna — December 24, 2009 @ 9:04 am

I’m surprised that they wrote an entire blogpost about this–I thought I was the only nut who did this! I run while listening to podcasts from NPR. In particular, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me because it’s informative and it’s hilarious as well as Talk of the Nation because it keeps me up to date on the week’s news (and I have a soft spot for Neal Conan’s great radio voice!)

Comment by Dani — December 25, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

I love how many people run and read at the same time! I thought I was the only one, too! Can’t wait to download the suggestions everyone has made – I’m almost done A New Earth! -Rebecca

Comment by Rebecca — December 26, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

This is so awesome!
Since my kids were born, finding time to read has been quite challenging for me…this is perfect! Thanks for your always inspiring blog! <3 I’m off to down load some books…

Comment by Laurie — December 29, 2009 @ 11:57 am

I tell people this all the time but not too many people try them. I pick all of mine up from the library for free. I associate different parts of the trail with parts of books.

Comment by Lauren — December 29, 2009 @ 11:12 pm

I do this too! I have to admit that I listened too all the Harry Potter Books this way, but I love the idea of the development books too. Rock on… or rather Read on!

Comment by Aubrey Jane — January 5, 2010 @ 11:28 am

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