Runners are always looking for ways to spice up their runs. Some do this by listening to music, recording data with a GPS watch, running with a partner, in fancy dress (charity runs and special occasions, like Christmas day parkrun) and some listen to podcasts.
One method of making running more fun, that I’ve warmed to recently, is listening to audiobooks.
What’s an audiobook?
An audiobook is a recording of a book, being read by voice actors or readers. It is typically accessed as a digital file on a phone, computer or laptop, though can be listened to via CDs or cassette tapes. Of course, as we’re discussing audiobooks for runners we’re going to be talking about the digital download format for phones.
What types of audiobooks exist?
Millions of audiobooks are available, in a wide variety of genres. From fiction genres like romance, adventure, thrillers and gothic, to non-fiction genres like cooking, sports, history and politics.
Whilst the selection of audiobooks is huge, some books aren’t available in audiobook format because nobody has arranged for a reading and release of a text.
Never the less, the selection out there is incredibly impressive. Whatever books take your fancy, you will be able to find an audiobook to suit you. Audiobook recordings are out there for a vast array of books, from Harry Potter to the Holy Bible. There really is something for every runner.
Where can you get audiobooks?
There are lots of ways to get audiobooks. Below is a selection of fantastic apps you can use to download audiobooks. Whatever your device, or preferred app style, there should be something to suit you.
Part of Amazon, Audible is the world’s largest and most advanced audiobook service in the world. It features millions of titles including exclusive books, podcasts, and a wide array of genres.
To use audible you need to download the app onto your device. Once downloaded, you have two options on how to purchase and download books. By subscription, you can pay a £7.99 (14.95$ if you’re from the states) monthly fee which entitles you to a free book a month plus 30 per cent off all other titles.
Alternatively, you can do it the old-fashioned way and buy audiobooks one by one. Audible is an option of choice for a lot of runners because of its simplicity and the wide selection of content.
2. Google Play Books
Apple has the fantastic Play Bookstore app to offer for runners who fancy an audiobook fix. The app is hugely popular and features a usage hub for different kinds of digital content. Including audiobooks, you can also download and enjoy comic books, textbooks and eBooks too.
A key benefit of this app is you can sync the content across other devices connected to your google account. This means you can start listening to an audiobook on a laptop and then continue listening once you’ve headed out for your run from where you left off. This is brilliant for runners.
There’s nothing more frustrating than spending painful minutes scrolling through an audiobook, trying to pinpoint the location from where you left off.
This app is run by a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts, creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet.
Librivox Audio Books Free is an android app which offers an array of free titles, in the public domain. This is a fantastic app for runners who are a bit strapped for cash but still want to enjoy a good book on the go.
However, the selection is relatively small on LibriVox compared to other audiobook apps because the recordings are in the public domain. If you’re in the states you can access thousands of more titles on this app than the free ones, but you will need to pay for them.
As the name suggests, this is a fantastic audiobook app that offers access to free titles and paid for best sellers. What’s not to like?
Audiobooks offer over 100,000 premium audiobooks with approximately 10,000 available for free download and enjoyment. A handy feature of this app is the ability to chat with an agent and get some customer service support. Handy for when you’re struggling to use the app, or if you just need a good book recommendation.
These are just four of the best audiobook apps that runners everywhere use all the time. Many other apps are out there, and the choice is yours as to which one you choose to use.
Without further ado, here are 9 benefits of audiobooks for runners
1. Increased productivity
If there’s one thing that difficult to find in the business of our everyday lives, it’s spare time. We have busy and chaotic lives filled with jobs, family and friend events, relationships, raising children, getting an education, and so on. The list is endless.
We’d all love the time to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy a decent book, but this is unfortunately not easy for lots of people. Running with audiobooks could be the answer.
Getting your crucial workout whilst simultaneously listening to an audiobook is a fantastic way to save time and make your runs more productive.
For increasing this productivity, increase the audiobook speed so you can get through the reading quicker on your runs. Most audiobooks are approximately 8 hours long.
Imagine if you could get through at least one every two weeks when out on your runs. That would mean 24 audiobooks a year, all whilst saving time and maintain a decent running schedule. Running with audiobooks is truly great for being more productive.
2. Learn more with educational audiobooks
It’s important that we keep learning throughout life. As the old saying goes, ‘the more you learn, the more you earn.’ Why not take full advantage of your running life by listening to educational audiobooks.
Millions of non-fiction audiobooks are out there and can be incredibly educational. You could learn the basics of the law, accounting, listen to historical accounts, discover the secrets of being more charismatic or having a more fulfilled life, or even learning a new language.
Listening to educational audiobooks when you run will do wonders for your life. Whatever you want to learn about, there will be an audiobook for it.
3. Entertainment whilst running
Runners who go on long runs can find themselves needing some entertainment to keep their minds occupied, particularly on a monotonous and repetitive route. A fiction audiobook is a perfect way to keep you entertained.
When you have a great audiobook reader, who really gets into character, your runs will be transformed.
Suddenly, you won’t be running down a dreary wet country lane in the middle of winter. You will be transported to the world of the book.
Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, Game of Thrones, The Shining, The Picture of Dorian Grey and Pride and Prejudice are some books I’d recommend keeping you entertained.
It’s a hard slog on long runs, so why not make them more entertaining with a good audiobook? Give it a try, you’ll see (or hear) what I mean!
4. Strengthen your listening skills
“Listening is a master skill for personal and professional greatness.” Robin S. Sharma
Listening should be included as a credible skill in CVs and lists of what people are good at. If you have two working ears, listening is one of the most important things you need to master in life.
Think of when you’re being taught how to do something, or when you’re sitting in a lecture hall, or when you’re being given directions in a foreign place. Listening is crucial to success in life.
When you listen to an audiobook, you are listening to what the speaker has to say. It is not a two-way conversation where you can interrupt or ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.
You are forced to focus on what is being said and attempt to absorb it. What a fantastic opportunity to become a good listener.
Listen to audiobooks on your runs. It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop some listening skills whilst enjoying one of the greatest joys of life, running. You will become a much better listener, your life will improve, and you can enjoy a good run. Jackpot, baby.
5. Spark new interests
Lots of runners want to listen to audiobooks, but ironically don’t have a clue what to listen to. That’s fine, and it’s more common than what you think. The great thing about audiobooks is that there’s so many of them.
There are non-fiction audiobooks on so many different topics, and millions of fiction audiobooks out there. However, all the choice can be a bit overwhelming for runners.
It’s like having too many options at a pick and mix selection, you don’t know where to start. You feel unsure on what sweets to choose. What do you do in this situation? You get a load of random sweets and try them anyway. You usually find you love some sweets, but don’t enjoy others.
The pick and mix analogy can be applied to audiobooks when running. If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, find an audiobook you like the look of and download it. Have a listen on your next run and if you found yourself engaged in it, keep listening to it.
Often, you find you really enjoy a certain audiobook totally unexpectedly and discover a passion for something. You could discover a love for cooking, real estate, charity, model aeroplanes, history, gothic fiction or even presentation skills, whilst listening to audiobooks when running.
Listen to audiobooks when running to spark new interests. Just one fantastic reason to listen to audiobooks when running.
6. Find a passion for reading
Lots of people don’t read books, and instead opt for easy fix entertainment like watching the TV, video games or mobile phones.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these forms of entertaining activities, but the tragic thing is a lot of people don’t even realise they would love reading until they give it a go.
Thankfully, audiobooks exist and give runners the chance to dabble with reading without taking the effort of reading a physical book. Often, when runners start listening to an audiobook on their workouts they find themselves enthralled by the story and decide to start reading physical books too.
When you discover a love for reading, it’s hugely rewarding and makes life much more interesting. If you’re a runner who isn’t interested in reading, give an audiobook a go on your next run.
You may find you start to enjoy the activity, and maybe even make reading a fundamental part of your daily life. don’t think you’re interested in reading, give an audiobook a go. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
7. Motivation to run more
One amazing benefit is having more motivation to run more. When you get engaged in a particularly good audiobook, you find yourself gripped by the story. You listen intently and become attached to the plot and the characters.
At the end of each run, you’ll find yourself thirsty to more. Wanting to know what happens next, and how the story develops.
This is good motivation to keep running. Because you listen to the audiobook when you run, you’ll be more driven to get into your shoes and out the front door to listen to the audiobook and find out what happens next.
To up the stakes, make a point of only listening to the audiobook when you’re running. That way, you’ll have to run to find out what happens next.
Particularly useful for runners who struggle with motivation, listening to an audiobook when running can be great for pushing you run more and be consistent.
8. Stress reduction
Running by itself is a massive form of stress reduction. Not only does running release a powerful cocktail of feel-good chemicals in the brain like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, it also makes you feel productive and positive that you’re getting stuff done.
Adding an audiobook to the already powerful stress relief from running, means you’ll finish your runs extra chilled and stress-free. Give it a try and feel less stressed today.
Listening to an audiobook when running is a fantastic form of stress reduction because your mind is focused on a story or an educational reading of a text.
Forgot all stresses, worries and concerns which are present in your mind. Make the run a time for listening to and enjoying a good audiobook, you’ll feel much better afterwards.
9. Vocabulary expansion
The more audiobooks you listen to, the more words you’ll gain exposure to. Eventually, the new words you’re exposed to will find their way into your everyday vocabulary, and you’ll be able to articulate and speak much better.
It’s important to express yourself with language in life, regardless of what profession you’re in. Knowing you can speak, and having the right words to say, can make you have greater confidence and a higher self-esteem.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than wanting to say something but not having the right words to say. It’s a real pain.
Audiobooks can help runners change that. Expand your vocabulary and get listening to audiobooks on your runs today.
What are some good audiobooks to download?
Fiction book recommendations
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 1984, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, Jane Eyre, The Book Thief, Lord of the Flies, The Kite Runner, Of Mice and Men, The Hobbit, Wuthering Heights, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Brave New World,The Secret Garden, The Hunger Games, Maze Runner.
Managing Oneself, How to Win Friends & Influence People, The Selfish Gene, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead, The Story of the Human Body, The One Thing, Think and Grow Rich, Getting Things Done,The Intelligent Investor, The Everything Store, Born to Run.
There you have it. 9 Benefits of audiobooks for runners. Happy listening, and even happier running!