The beautiful thing with running is that you can listen to audio whilst you do it. You don’t just have to run with the sounds of your environment to keep you company, there are options. If you like, you can listen to audio books whilst you run.
What’s an audiobook?
An audiobook is exactly what it sounds like. A recording of somebody reading a book which you can listen to instead of reading. For example, an audiobook of The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald will be a word for word reading of the text by a professional audiobook reader. Instead of reading the words, you listen to the words.
Why would a runner listen to an audiobook?
Runners listen to audiobooks rather than read them for a very simple reason. When you’re running, your entire body and focus is engaged on moving through your environment. Attempting to read whilst you run would be dangerous and probably end in disaster.
Audiobooks, on the other hand, allow you to multitask. You can listen to an audiobook with headphones whilst you run, meaning you can get the benefits of a physical workout whilst reaping the mental benefits of a good book. It’s a win-win situation, wouldn’t you agree?
So why bother listening to books in the first place?
There are many benefits associated with absorbing the content in books. Novels and non-fiction alike. Some include:
Increasing knowledge – When you listen to an audio book, new information fills your head and you start to learn new things. The more knowledge you have, the more equipped you are to have a successful life able to overcome more obstacles whenever they arise.
Non-fiction books are particularly good for improving your knowledge with lots aimed at bettering your professional worklife. It’s like the billionare Warren Buffet says ‘the more you learn, the more you earn.’ Listening to audiobooks can increase your knowledge and subsequently your skils meaning you’re able to have a more successful career.
Reducing stress – There’s nothing quite like losing yourself in a good book. Whether your on the Pequod in Moby Dick, the workhouse in Oliver Twist or standing with Dorian Grey in the Picture of Dorian Grey, books transport you to another world. They have the power to take your mind off worries in life and allow you to relax. Some of the best moments in my running life have come from losing myself in a fictional world whilst coasting at a casual pace.
Better focus – In the modern world, there are thousands of things fighting for our attention every second of the day. Advertisements, social media, the radio, family, friends, work and so on. It can be difficult to switch everything else out and focus on one or two things at a time. If you’re unable to focus, you will not be able to undertake a project and see it through to the end. Even if you do complete it, it will likely be done to a poor standard unless you were able to focus.
Listening to an audiobook whilst you run means you have no choice but to focus on the sound coming out of the headphones. The words being spoken, the story being told, the information being communicated. Try listening to audiobooks and you will find your capacity for concentration in other areas of life like in business, in relationships, at work, in music and so on, improve drastically.
Stay mentally stimulated – When we’re running, it can be difficult to focus on moving forward when we have nothing else other than the run to focus on. Listening to something, like an audiobook, means your brain can focus on something different.
If you’re listening to a book you won’t be focused on how out of breath and tired you are. Instead, you’ll be focused on the words being spoken and you’ll be mentally stimulated during your run. Might not appear to be a benefit to some people, but for runners in the early stages of long runs and marathon training the option to mentally focus on something different is a god-send.
Improve your vocabulary range – Having a wider vocabulary goes a long way in life. Running with audio books means exposure to more and more words, and you will pick up new words you’ve never even heard before. It won’t be long before they find their way into your daily dialogue with friends, family and colleagues.
Having a wider vocabulary means communicating better, articulating your point well and also boosts your self-esteem. Knowing you have the right words to describe how you feel or a situation is a wonderful feeling. Listen to audiobooks whilst you run and your vocabulary will expand.
Where can I listen to audiobooks whilst I run?
Let’s look at a few apps runners can use to listen to audiobooks. Though there are hundreds of different apps, I’m going to quickly mention three of the most popular.
Google Play Books – Google Play Books is an ebook digital distribution service operated by Google. Users can purchase and download ebooks and audiobooks from Google Play, which offers over five million titles, with Google claiming it to be the “largest ebooks collection in the world”.
Audible – Audible is a seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming on the Internet. Audible sells digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers.
Librivox – LibriVox is 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.
Top 16 audiobooks to listen to whilst you run
Without further ado, here’s 16 of my personal favourite audiobooks to listen to whilst I run.
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is the story of eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby as told by Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner who lives on Long Island but works in Manhattan.Gatsby’s enormous mansion is adjacent to Carraway’s modest home, and Carraway becomes curious about his neighbour after being invited to one of his famous parties.
This is my personal favourite book of all time. It explores decadence in society, corruption, the dark side of glamour and how dangerous ambition can be. I truly love this book with all my heart. It makes for a great running companion.
2. Moby Dick by Herman Merville
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is an 1851 novel by American writer Herman Melville. The book is sailor Ishmael’s narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the white whale that on the ship’s previous voyage bit off Ahab’s leg at the knee.
Like The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick looks at how dangerous ambition and passion can be. Captain Ahab’s obsession with finding Moby Dick to get revenge ultimately leads in disaster. Well worth a listen whilst your pounding the pavement.
3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird. Lawyer Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
An American classic which deals with social inequality, racism, bravery, the law and justice. A beautifully written book which will interest you on any run.
4. 1984 by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English writer George Orwell published in June 1949. The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda.
Another one of my personal favourites, Orwell’s It’s themes are totalitarianism, government surveillance, desperation and brainwashing propaganda. A terrifying novel which makes you think about the world we live in. Hear the main character, Winston’s, story as you clock up miles.
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein tells the story of gifted scientist Victor Frankenstein who succeeds in giving life to a being of his own creation. However, this is not the perfect specimen he imagines that it will be, but rather a hideous creature who is rejected by Victor and mankind in general.
A bone chilling Gothic horror, Frankenstein will terrify you with an inch of your life. You’ll be scared and motivated to run faster to escape the monster, listening to this audiobook.
6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the story of one beautiful, innocent young man’s seduction, moral corruption, and eventual downfall.
Wilde’s only novel, this book will captivate you as you run. It explores evil, corruption, making the wrong choices and what happens when you sacrifice your morals.
7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Captain John Yossarian, a World War II bombardier, is stationed on the island of Pianosa. He is an individualist who seeks to protect his own life by fleeing to the hospital, since a “catch-22” in the Air Force regulations prevents him from being grounded for illness or obtaining a leave.
A unique blend of comedy and satire, Catch-22 will entertain you on the move. Listen to it as you run, laugh and think about the themes in the novel.
8. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Drought and economic depression are driving thousands from Oklahoma. As their land becomes just another strip in the dust bowl, the Joads, a family of sharecroppers, decide they have no choice but to follow. They head west, towards California, where they hope to find work and a future for their family. But while the journey to this promised land will take its inevitable toll, there remains uncertainty about what awaits their arrival .
1.Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich was written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, promoted as a personal development and self-improvement book. Hill writes that he was inspired by a suggestion from business magnate and later-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
This book tells you what things you need to do for success in life. Some people are cynical about these kinds of books, but Think and Grow Rich is different. Napoleon Hill spent over 20 years writing it by interviewing some of the most successful people on the planet including Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. Listen to it while you run and your life will change.
2. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan b. Peterson. Over the years, (former) Harvard and (current) University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has developed what he believes to be a definitive set of rules for leading a successful and fulfilling life.
This is one of the most valuable books I’ve ever read in my life. Jordan B Peterson makes you think about the world in a totally different way. It’s unbelievable. Run with this playing in your ears and you will be a changed person. For the better.
3. The Self Gene by Richard Dawkins
The Selfish Gene is a 1976 book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, in which the author builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams’s Adaptation and Natural Selection.
A fantastic book for understanding how humans have evolved and why we behave like we behave. Fascinating, eye opening and guaranteed to make you think.
4. Influence by Robert B. Ciadlini
Influence: Science and Practice is a psychology book examining the key ways people can be influenced by “Compliance Professionals”. The book’s author is Robert B. Cialdini, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University.
Being able to influence people is crucial in life. In business, getting a mortgage, convincing your children to do chores, and so on. People that can communicate better tend to get their way and this book shares the secrets of how to influence. Give it a listen as you run.
5. The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman
In The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman, Professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard, shows how we need to change our world to fit our hunter-gatherer bodies
This ground-breaking book of popular science explores how the way we use our bodies is all wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, if normal is defined as what most people have done for millions of years, then it’s normal to walk and run 9 -15 kilometres a day to hunt and gather fresh food which is high in fibre, low in sugar, and barely processed. It’s also normal to spend much of your time nursing, napping, making stone tools, and gossiping with a small band of people.
6. The One Thing by Gary Keller
YOU WANT LESS.
You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what’s the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller pay cheques, fewer promotions-and lots of stress.
AND YOU WANT MORE.
You want more productivity from your work. More income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.
This astonishing book argues that we spend too much time dilly dallying with countless distractions in our lives. With our divided attention, it’s difficult to focus on something and complete it to an excellent standard. The One Thing teaches you how to maximise your results by solely focusing in on one task at a time. Run with this in your ears and you’ll think twice about constantly checking social media or reading the newspaper whilst the TV is on.
7. Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenneger
Total Recall is the unbelievably true story of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life. Born in the small city of Thal, Austria, in 1947, he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 21. Within ten years, he was a millionaire business man. After twenty years, he was the world’s biggest movie star. In 2003, he was Governor of California and a household name around the world.
An inspiring true story which will push you to run harder, faster and better than you have ever done in your life.
8. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare — poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes.
The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.”In Can’t Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.
There you have it. 14 of my favourite books to listen to whilst I run. I hope you found this article interesting and will now expand your horizons with the power of listening to audiobooks whilst you run.