During these last few months I have been doing most of my long training runs alone. I often like listening to music on shorter runs, especially hard and faster runs, but lately I have been enjoying listening to podcasts. Especially on long solo runs, podcasts can help pass the time and help make the running more enjoyable. Now, I am not interested in getting into a debate about running with headphones-- I'm not a purist that thinks that you must run with no distractions to fully benefit from the training and "listening to your body". I do not use my iPod during races or when I am running with other people, but when I am alone, especially on the longer runs or on the treadmill, I just find it much more enjoyable.
Podcasts are audio programs that you can download, usually for free, on iTunes and from other sites. Some started out as actual radio programs on public stations like CBC and NPR, others are produced by commercial broadcasters or associated with magazines or other websites, yet others are produced by amateurs with varying degrees of broadcasting experience.
I used to enjoy listening to talk radio, but the quality of programming on commercial radio has gone down to the point where I can not find anything worth my time. Public radio has some good shows, but station reception and scheduling make running with a portable radio less than optimal. Podcasts are not only a welcome substitute for talk-radio, but provide a wealth of content that radio can not come close to matching.
When I first started listening to podcasts, I enjoyed mostly the science-based ones like CBC's Quirks and Quarks, This Week in Science, Science Talk (from Scientific American Magazine), and NPR's Science Friday. Lately I have been listening to more running and triathlon based podcasts, including Phedippidations, RunRunLive, Candotri, Kelownagirl Tris, and Geeks in Running Shoes. I have included the links to blogs associated with those podcasts I mentioned, but they can also all be found by searching for the titles in the iTunes store. In the coming weeks, I will be reviewing some of my favorites of these podcasts, but in the meantime, I encourage you all to give some of them a try.