Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or just taking a walk around your neighborhood, it’s always more fun—and often more motivating—to do it with a friend. However, life can get in the way, schedules don’t always align, and let’s face it: your friends might not have the same active lifestyle as you do. So is the only other option going it alone?
Thankfully, human ingenuity has saved us from perpetually lonely workouts. Since the advent of the Walkman in 1979, athletes have been able to carry music with them. Yet while music can get you pumped, sometimes what you really want is a true distraction, entertainment, or maybe even encouragement. That’s where podcasts can really save the day.
Grab your smartphone, don your earphones, and check out the following shows for inspiration and motivation. We find these podcasts to be full of some very wise life (and sport) lessons.
Personal Record: A podcast initially conceived to explore the question of “why runners run,” this show—hosted by NYC firefighter and former professional triathlete Timothy Clarke—has expanded to include a variety of athletic guests across the endurance sport spectrum. Tim’s admiration and respect for his guests shines through, no matter if he is interviewing a professional bike fitter or a professional marathon runner, a full-time meteorologist or a full-time triathlete. Some of the interviewees’ most notable feats include running and cycling across the United States, completing 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 states in 50 days, and winning the Boston marathon . . . twice.
Work, Play, Love: Former professional runner Lauren Fleshman and current professional triathlete Jesse Thomas are a married couple in their thirties who have two children, a small business, and a passion for sport that just won’t quit. In each episode, they recount challenges and triumphs from their own daily lives and answer listener questions both big and small about—you guessed it—work, play, and love. Tune in to hear advice on everything from how to launch a snot rocket to the safest way to return to sport after injury.
The Morning Shakeout: Mario Fraioli, a full-time running coach and former professional journalist, dedicates his podcast to interviewing runners, many of whom are decorated full-time professionals. His guest list has included 2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden; the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in triathlon, Gwen Jorgensen; and U.S. half marathon record holder Ryan Hall, among many others. Hearing the ups, downs, and everyday lives of these phenoms can really help put your own athletic pursuits in perspective.
Running for Real: While the title of this podcast implies that it’s only for runners, Running for Real will appeal to a variety of athletically inclined listeners for the range and depth of its expert interviewees. Former professional runner, busy mom, and incredibly friendly host Tina Muir interviews a wide range of professionals, including professional athletes. Many of her guests are indeed runners, but she also hosts nutritionists, psychologists, physiologists, coaches, authors, and more. This podcast is chock-full of advice—if you have a sports-related question, you can probably find an episode with an answer!
The Forward: No matter your feelings on Lance Armstrong, he brings some pretty incredible people on his show, athletes and otherwise. In fact, he develops such a strong rapport with his guests that you wind up feeling like you’re sitting in a coffee shop eavesdropping on two very smart, very accomplished, very confident people. The podcast’s recent roster has included NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, professional rock climber and documentary star Alex Honnold, and presidential candidate John Hickenlooper Jr., just to name a few. Inspiration is the name of the game on this show. Prepare to be impressed.
The Ali On the Run Show: If you’re looking for a friend to chat your ear off during your run, Alison Feller has created the podcast for you. With her bubbly personality and willingness to get personal with her guests, Ali comes off as less of a podcast host and more of a really curious teammate . . . who happens to have a degree in journalism (which she does!). Whether she’s interviewing a legendary marathoner, a social media personality, a medical professional, or someone in her community, Ali brings a special kind of joy to the conversation, so running really seems fun—which, if you’re running with this show in your ear, it is!