12 ways to make your run less dull

Sometimes, running can be dull. There I’ve said it.

When you begin running for more than half an hour or so, you need external stimulation to keep you from stopping.

This could be the stunning scenery around you, the athleticism of those running past you and sometimes even friends/colleagues can prove a diversion from the tedium.

This approach works less well if you are running through an industrial estate on your own on the edge of a small town; in these cases, you need something else.

I used to listen to music but found that I would end up running to the pace of whatever track popped onto my generic MP3 player.

The amount of times I found myself sprinting along to Slipknot midway through a long run where I really needed some Beach Boys meant I had to find a new way.

So in absolutely no way copying from a post written very recently by housemate Melissa, here are the things that I now choose to listen to when out and about.

Please drop me any suggestions into the comments section at the bottom as I’m always looking for new things to listen to.

These are in no particular order, just as I look through my phone (all apps and pods are available on iphones, not sure about android etc.) and do be warned, it is quite a long list so you may want to get a cup of tea first:

Podcast: Fighting Talk


This is humorous take on the week in sport with panellists including comedians, journalists, broadcasters and athletes.

Podcast: Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (RHLSTP)


“The unattractive one from Lee and Herring” interviews some of the biggest stars in entertainment (Stephen Fry, Tim Minchin, Harry Shearer) in his own irreverent fashion. This is not a podcast for the faint-hearted but has often had me grinning like a goon as I run through London’s busy streets.

Podcast: Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews


Please refer to Lissy’s post. If you haven’t heard of this and aren’t involved in the world of wittertainment you really are missing out. Hello to Jason Isaacs by the way.

Podcast: Headspace

Headspace is a meditation tool which costs a nominal amount for the monthly subscription but the podcasts are free. They are good for getting perspective on issues you may have in life and generally chilling out. It’s also nice to hear a British voice on a health/wellbeing podcast.

App: Metronome


OK you have to be a special kind of crazy to get involved in this. There is some evidence to suggest that running with a cadence (footfall) of 180 per minute (each foot touches the ground 90 times in a minute) is the optimum in terms of reducing injuries and improving performance. To do so, simply set your metronome to 180bpm and every time there is a click, one of your feet should be hitting the ground.

There are plenty of apps out there which feature metronomes so just experiment. I would go for a free one if possible.

App: Podrunner Shift


A much more civilised version of the metronome. Podrunner Shift and Podrunner (the free version) involve dance music matched to specified cadences. I personally only ever run to the 180bpm tracks of which Speedfreak is my favourite (it uses Handsaws, windup clocks and Marine cadence in the mix). The mixes are an hour long which is perfect for a lunchtime run.

App: Audible


Although this is an app, the boundaries are almost limitless. Download an audio book and listen away as you plough through the miles on your long runs. You can obviously listen at other times too. Newbies to the site can also claim a free audiobook.

Currently I am listening to The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters and am amazed how much of it relates to me and my current state of mind.

Real life: Your feet


This doesn’t work so well on long runs where you do actually need something to distract you but on short runs, listening to how you run actually can help to see whether you may have a problem in your running style that might turn into something more in the future. Things to look out for include shuffling feet (not getting enough lift), heavy landings (over-striding) and one foot louder than the other (perhaps suggests an imbalance in the muscles).

Podcast: Rich Roll Podcast (RRP)


A former ultraman, vegan and well-being advocate, Rich Roll (real name) interviews a wide-range of athletes, entrepreneurs, artists and leaders in their fields about wellness and lifestyle.

Podcast: The Tim Ferriss Podcast


Tim is the writer of The Four Hour Body, The Four Hour Work Week and The Four Hour Chef. He is the ultimate in lifehacking and finds tips, tactics and tricks that you can use in fields ranging from sport, health, investing, art, languages and productivity. I find his style sometimes grates but there is no doubting the advice is sound.

Podcast: Londonist Out Loud


A podcast about London covering all aspects of the city and presented by the gravelly voiced N Quentin Woolf who once ran a creative writing course I attended. I’d recommend to Londoner’s and non-Londoners alike for a different take on this incredible, diverse city.

Podcast: As It Occurs To Me (AIOTM)


Always save the best to last. AIOTM is another podcast brought to you by Richard Herring. This is honestly the funniest thing I have ever listened to and definitely NSFW. I have listened to the three series at least three times through and intend to download them again. I don’t even know where I would begin in describing the actual content of the podcast but it has already accompanied me through my 50k experiment and I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with the motorcycle clothing shop, tiny Andrew Collins and The Moral Maze.

Day 21

Total words: 6759
Total miles: Work in Progress



5 thoughts on “12 ways to make your run less dull

      1. I’m sure you will, and you’ll probably like one it’s relatives…Talk Ultra. I’ve yet to listen to that one but I hear it’s good. Enjoy your celebrations tomorrow. You deserve it all.


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