With an average of four weekly training runs and a daily two-hour commute to work, I have ample time to listen to podcasts. Right now, I am subscribing to 21 different podcasts, the large majority of which are dedicated to running.
I have also listened to at least another half-dozen running or fitness related podcasts that I have dropped for one reason or another.
When it comes to podcasts, I am looking for those that offer interesting conversation, thoughtful tips, and dynamic hosts and guests. Of all of the running and fitness podcasts that I have tried, my top eight podcasts are listed below. They appear in the order in which I first started listening to them.
If you haven’t already tried one or more on the list, I would recommend adding them to your playlists. Happy running and listening!
Marathon Training Academy
Summary: Hosts and spouses Angie and Trevor Spencer encourage runners and wannabe runners to chase their goals. Angie is a certified running coach, Boston Qualifier and registered nurse. Trevor is a runner and regularly leads the interviews with well-known runners, fitness trainers and health experts. (Disclaimer: I am a coaching client of Angie Spencer’s.)
Who would benefit from the podcast: Beginning runners primarily as the advice is geared toward those starting out. A frequent tagline to the show is, “You have what it takes to run a marathon and change your life.”
Why it’s a top podcast: The value of the MTA brand goes beyond the camaraderie of the hosts, the essence of the guests and the quality of the information provided. The podcast aligns nicely with MTA’s social media presence to create a community for all runners that is welcoming, positive and tight-knit.
Trail Runner Nation
Summary: Hosts Don Freeman and Scott Warr guide listeners on weekly podcasts featuring some of the most high-profile and influential trail runners today. Regulars such as Andy Jones-Wilkins, Michelle Barton and Candice Burt join them for a fun-filled, informative hour that is devoted to sharing knowledge and advice to the trail running community.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Basically anyone from beginners to pros will benefit from the advice from Trail Runner Nation.
Why it’s a top podcast: TRN is the pre-eminent podcast for the trail and ultra world. The hosts and guests offer tips and discuss topics from race nutrition to pacing strategy to mental focus and much more. The discussion regularly dives deeper to get beyond basic information that many other endurance podcasts dish out. Even better: TRN does not have an agenda, other than to deliver practical, usable and scalable information to its listeners. Among the podcasts I have dropped was one that clearly pushed a particular training method ad nauseam.
Summary: Self-proclaimed middle-to-back-of-the-packers and cheese curd aficionados Aric Manning and Joel Hatch are your hosts, usually recording from Studio 78 (a 1978 Volkswagen bus). They offer two weekly podcasts, the main one titled Trail Manners generally features a guest who is from Utah or the surrounding area. The other podcast — called Singletrack — is a collection of snippets: promotions, upcoming events and contests.
Who would benefit from the podcast: The podcast focuses on runners and races from Park City, Utah; around the Beehive State and other nearby places. I live roughly 1,500 miles away and basically at sea level, but I still enjoy the tales of mountain ultras, epic trail jaunts and more from the west. Anyone looking for an entertaining take on ultra running with fun hosts and entertaining guests should take Trail Manners for a trial run.
Why it’s a top podcast: Aric and Joel are the fun guys at the bar who everyone wants to hang with for good conversation and jokes. But they hold court often inside Studio 78, rather than the local watering hole. But their podcast goes beyond trail talk and humor. It offers more contests for listeners than any others I’ve heard; prizes have included race entries, sweet running gear and more.
Ultra Runner Podcast
Summary: Ultra Runner Podcast traces its origins back to early 2011, about the same time my running journey began. Through the years, URP has brought ultra runners interesting interviews, expert advice and gear reviews. Eric Schranz is the host and is often joined by co-host Sarah Lavender Smith. Gear review editor Ben Zuehlsdorf makes random appearances to give honest feedback on products he tests — from sneakers to packs to whatever else grabs his attention.
Who would benefit from the podcast: The show has a decidedly California flair. However, the thoroughness of the show makes it relevant to anyone interested in the latest in mountain, trail, and ultra news and information. The guests and information presented are very timely and almost always resonate with runners from throughout the U.S.
Why it’s a top podcast: The URP podcast is an interesting mix of news, information, gear reviews and additional chatter about topics like beer and music. In addition to the URP podcast and social media channels, Eric distributes a daily newsletter full of interesting and informative links for those following the ultra and trail community.
Summary: Hosts Tim Murphy and Julie Montag take listeners on a weekly journey on running, their adventures and much more. Other BibRave staffers Jessica Ni Murphy and Andy Wallace appear regularly. The podcast is a blend of their active running adventures, interviews with elite athletes, and health and fitness experts. (Disclaimer: I am a BibRavePro. For more information about this ambassador program, click here.)
Who would benefit from the podcast: Runners interested in the social aspect of the sport, as well as those looking for beginner to novice tips on races, gear, fitness and more. It is primarily focused on road racing up to marathon distance.
Why it’s a top podcast: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get,” as a well-known fictional endurance runner once said. The BibRave podcast varies in content from week to week, but the result is regularly entertaining. A weekly BibChat Twitter (Tuesdays at 9 Eastern time) and the BibRave Pros Ambassador program round out the platform. Followers can receive discounts on race entries, gear and more.
Southeastern Trail Runner
Summary: Four trail runners and friends — P.J. Pethalsky, Shannon Bryan, Clinton Lewis and Alex Vibbert —talk about trail and ultra running while focusing on the southeastern United States. They escort listeners on a journey to learning more about runners and races primarily in the southeastern U.S. The camaraderie of the friends is a big part of the show’s charm. And if you listen close enough you will hear a beer or two being opened up during the show, often taped at one of the host’s kitchen tables.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Anyone interested in learning about races and runners from Kentucky, where the show is based, as well as other nearby states.
Why it’s a top podcast: Just like other close friends, these guys tend to poke fun at each other at every opportunity. It’s a laid-back podcast, one well worth listening to as entertainment, especially as an escape from a long run or commute.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/southeasterntrailrunner
East Coast Trail and Ultra Runners
Summary: Hosts Ryan “Dad Bod” Ploeckelman and Sean “Run Bum” Blanton give listeners a weekly episode filled with easy conversation, lots of trail talk and plenty of humor. Each episode features interviews, usually more than one, with trail runners who are tearing it up east of the Mississippi.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Any aspiring or current trail and ultra runners looking for quality entertainment who aren’t queasy about an occasional F bomb. Ryan and Sean readily drop useful information on listeners along with doses of innuendo, dick jokes and cursing.
Why it’s a top podcast: Ryan is a strong interviewer who engages with elite ultra runners, average Joes and Josephines, and the Run Bum with ease. As someone who has lived his entire life east of the Mississippi, this is my favorite of all the running podcasts focused on all or part of that admittedly large geographic range.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/EastCoastUltraRunners
Training for Ultra
Summary: Training for Ultra is the newest of the podcasts on this list, debuting at the end of July. Since the launch, host and ultra runner Rob Steger has rounded up a who’s who of ultra runners to interview on the show, including Camille Herron, Zach Miller, Chris Mocko, YiOu Wang and Zach Bitter. The show is usually set up with a long interview with one guest and then several quick-hit segments, generally about race recaps from well-known athletes or Rob.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Ultra runners wanting to hear from and learn about top endurance athletes. The elite athletes are open about training tips and advice in the interviews that seldom, if ever, feel like they go on too long.
Why it’s a top podcast: It’s inspiring listening to not only the elite athletes but Rob’s quest to run 100 miles, which he completed at this year’s Javelina Jundred.