Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Running with Podcasts

Do you remember what the Internet was like in 2004?  America was evenly split between those who used broadband and those who still "dialed up."  Facebook was still just a bunch of Harvard students.  YouTube didn't even exist. 

But there was this brand-spanking new technology called . . . podcasting.

I remember in those early days, scouring the web for interesting podcasts.  At some point, though, my interest died, and for years, the thought of listening to podcasts never flitted through my mind. Until last weekend.  I was headed out for a long run (2-1/4 hours) and I wanted something to listen to.  But I was tired of the same music over and over.  Somehow, I started looking for podcasts.  Once my iPod was loaded up, I hit the road. 

After an hour of boning up on some current events, I switched over to The New Yorker's fiction podcasts.  Holy crap!  The New Yorker has a huge archive of short stories that been published in the magazine at some point in the past, being read by other famous authors.  Now  normally, I'd rather read a story myself than hear someone else read it, but what a way to pass the time when you've settled into a long-distance pace.  My favorite was listening to Ben Marcus read "A Village After Dark," an older story by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Just outstanding.  I also very much enjoyed David Means reading "Chef's House" by Raymond Carver. 

On future runs, I am looking forward to hearing some short stories by Denis Johnson, James Salter, John O'Hara, and perhaps even some authors I am not yet familiar with.

Do you listen to anything other than music on your runs?  If so, what do you enjoy?

Related posts:
Running and Listening to Music


  1. that's interesting!

    do you find that you get too engaged in the story and can't concentrate on the run (from someone who falls a lot, it's important that i at least somewhat pay attention to where i'm putting my feet)?

  2. This is amazing. I was in the process of typing up a post about this very thing. On a road trip this weekend, I listened to five of these podcasts. Two weren't very good, but I REALLY enjoyed Orhan Pamuk reading Vladimir Nabokov's "My Russian Education", Salaman Rushdie reading Donald Barthelme's "Concerning the Bodyguard", and Tobias Wolff reading Stephanie Vaughn's "Dog Heaven." I'm hooked! (It also made the 3.5 hour drive just FLY by.)

    As for listening while running, i'm curious to see how this will work. Between paying attention to the run, and listening to the story over loud traffic, I figure it might be problematic, but I plan on giving it a try during my next morning run.

  3. I didn't mean to steal your post - but how cool that we're on the same wavelength!

    I will say that I was running at my long slow pace, on a paved loop with no traffic. In other words, I didn't need to pay attention to the run, other than checking my form and my pace every now and then. I'm not sure if I would have the same experience if I was running a different course (or pushing a faster pace). But, there are other podcasts that I think would demand less attention.

    I'll add those particular stories to my list! And, do check out the Ishiguro story. It's creepy and suspenseful and cool.

  4. I listen to a lot of podcasts!

    Sword and Laser
    SFF Audio (I'm sometimes on it)
    KCRW Bookworm
    The Incomprable Podcast
    Writing Excuses
    Geek's Guide to the Galaxy