I have been an avid listener of podcasts for quite a while now. I subscribe to about 25 different ones, which I listen to during my runs, cross-training and daily two-hour commute to work. The vast majority are related to running, general health and related fitness.
As I wrote in the first version of this blog post from about 18 months ago, when it comes to podcasts, I am looking for those that offer interesting conversation, thoughtful tips, and dynamic hosts and guests. I have removed three from the list, which I still listen to, and added five new ones that I find to be more engaging, useful and/or interesting to me.
What follows is my updated list of the best podcasts for runners and other endurance athletes. The first five were also on the original list while the second half have been added. They appear in the order in which I started listening to them, as best as I can remember.
If you haven’t already tried one or more on the list, I would recommend adding them to your playlists. Happy running, training 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 Marathon 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 former coaching client of Angie’s and have been a part of the MTA family for several years.)
Who would benefit from the podcast: Beginning runners primarily because 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.
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. 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.
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: As of this writing, Training for Ultra is nearly one year old. Since its 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 continue to push his own limits. It’s a journey I am very familiar with as I was the first to interview Rob about his journey long before the podcast was hatched.
Summary: Technically, Ginger Runner Live is a video broadcast on YouTube that is later repurposed into a podcast. The weekly YouTube show, hosted by runners and spouses Ethan Newberry and Kim Temisha, is perhaps the most timely of all the ultra podcasts. It is normal for the Ginger Runner to interview an athlete who won a major ultra from the previous weekend or just succeeded in another significant endurance accomplishment. Ethan’s tagline says it all, “Train hard, race hard and party the hardest.”
Who would benefit from the podcast: Similar to other podcasts on this list, anyone from a seasoned ultra runner to someone ultra curious would be find the content useful, inspiring and educational.
Why it’s a top podcast: The shows are well produced and include questions from the audience viewing from the YouTube channel. The one drawback to the podcast version is that they are not updated regularly. While the YouTube version can be watched live or immediately thereafter, it is common for a half dozen or more podcast episodes to be uploaded all at one time.
We Are Superman
Summary: In his early 30s, David Clark weighed 320 pounds and counted fast food, narcotics and alcohol among his addictions. He had a heart condition, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and two herniated discs in his back. He is now an accomplished endurance athlete, vegan and motivational speaker. But he focuses his podcasts on the inspiring journeys of others, usually everyday people.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Those looking for inspirational stories, usually from runners or cyclists, but other guests have included MMA fighters. This podcast won’t deliver training advice — there are plenty of those that do. But these stories of overcoming jaw-dropping hurdles related to addiction, depression and other issues, will serve as motivation during your workouts.
Why it’s a top podcast: While some podcasts on this list regurgitate the same guests and their stories, We Are Superman is always unique. And the stories will stay with you as you head down the trail, path or elsewhere.
Humans of Ultrarunning
Summary: Launched in November 2018, Humans of Ultrarunning is created and produced by ultra runner, race director and now podcast host Candice Burt. It quickly rose up my personal rankings of podcasts as it focused on the story-telling of amazing endurance athletes. Some of her guests are well known, others are not but all have been fascinating.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Endurance athletes looking for an in-depth interview to pass the time during a long run, drive to a race perhaps or to pass the time during taper period. The length of these podcasts are generally longer than others but they are rich on content and deep on substance.
Why it’s a top podcast: As a host, Candice conducts interviews that are conversations. Regardless of how often I have already heard one of her guests interviewed, I always learn something new from their appearance on Humans of Ultrarunning.
Summary: Filmmaker Billy Yang launched his podcast about the time my first list debuted. In that time, he has brought fresh perspective to athletes well known to many of his listeners. Guests have included Anton Krupicka, Ann Trason, Scott Jurek, Jim Walmsley and other elites.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Anyone who is interested in ultra running and likes to be entertained. Billy regularly travels to meet with his guests. Oftentimes, the listener feels like they are part of the conversation, sitting at the dinner table or lounging in a coffee shop with Billy and his guest.
Why it’s a top podcast: It should be no surprise that a gifted filmmaker produces an incredibly well produced and engineered podcast. Billy is a master at delivering strong interviews that come alive in a finely tuned listening experience.
For The Long Run
Summary: Host Jonathan Levitt has not been running — or podcasting — very long. However, in just five months since its February 2019 launch, For The Long Run has delivered consistent strong interviews from a range of guests.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Jonathan’s mission for his podcast is to explore the “why behind what keeps runners running long, strong and motivated.” There are lessons shared in these episodes that runners from beginners to middle-of-the-packers to those in the competitive ranks all could learn from.
Why it’s a top podcast: While the podcast is still fairly new, it presents a good balance of information, perspective and entertainment. The guest list is dynamic ranging from well-known personalities like David Roche, Sally McRae and Devon Yanko to those who are not well known but whose stories are inspiring just the same.
iTunes link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/for-the-long-run/id1453616436