I didn’t intend for my list of top podcasts for runners to turn into an annual event but here we are. My podcast subscriptions have increased to about 30, mostly related to running and fitness.
As I wrote in the first version of this blog post from two-and-a-half years ago, when it comes to podcasts, I am looking for those that offer interesting conversation, thoughtful tips, and dynamic hosts and guests. I updated the list almost exactly a year ago.
And a few days ago, I realized another update is necessary for two reasons. David Clark, host of the We Are Superman podcast, recently died from complications related to spine surgery. I will miss his inspirational podcast terribly. Additionally, another one on the 2019 list has been discontinued due to issues that emerged related to one of the co-hosts. But in its place a new, fun podcast has arisen.
So here is my third version of this the top podcasts for runners. I’m interested in hearing your recommendations and suggestions. 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 among the coaches for MTA and a former coaching client of Angie’s.)
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 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 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. and beyond.
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: 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.
Training for Ultra
Summary: Training for Ultra’s host and ultra runner Rob Steger has rounded up a who’s who of ultra runners to interview on the show, including Camille Herron, Matt Daniels, YiOu Wang and Zach Bitter. Rob will also share stories from his epic runs, including the Triple Crown of 200s, and bring on non-elites who have interesting and inspiring stories to share.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Ultra runners wanting to hear from and learn about top endurance athletes, as well as mid- and back-of-the-packers. 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 him about his journey long before the podcast was hatched.
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, Courtney Dauwalter, 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’s podcast is regularly longer than others but that is because he goes on a mich deeper dive with his guests – and it is worth it. 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, since its February 2019 launch, For The Long Run has delivered consistent strong interviews from a range of guests. And notably, during the stay-in-place orders amid the pandemic, Jonathan has revved up his output, often posting multiple podcasts in the same week.
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
The Adventure Jogger
Summary: Host Ryan “Dad Bod” Ploeckelman created this new podcast from the ashes of the East Coast Trail and Ultra Runners podcast. The former podcast, which I included on this list a year ago, was immediately canceled when Ploeckelman learned of alleged sexual harassment by his former co-host.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Ploeckelman’s tagline to the podcast — Running should be fun — says it all. It’s a podcast open to everyone, which deviates from the previous podcast. But fans of the previous podcast will appreciate appearances by some familiar names such as Andy Jones Wilkins, Jeff Stafford and others who will be on The Adventure Jogger from time to time.
Why it’s a top podcast: Ryan is a strong interviewer who engages with elite ultra runners, average Joes and Josephines, and others with ease. While the podcast is still in its infancy, it shows a lot of promise.
Summary: Longtime endurance coach Jason Koop launched his KoopCast podcast at the end of 2019. The weekly podcasts often focus on training, nutrition and other similar aspects. While the material may seem dense to some, Jason and his guests are able to bridge that gap easily with thoughtful takes that are aimed at the average runner on the trail, not a research scientist in the lab.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Koop’s knowledge and science-backed opinions are valuable to all runners looking for an edge in their training and racing. Those who geek out on data, research concepts and current trends in health and fitness would especially like this format.
Why it’s a top podcast: I’ve listened to a few other podcasts that are in this niche. Most others cater to advertisers or sponsors, while others are extremely dense and difficult to follow for those of us without a formal education in health and nutrition science. Koop brings a fresh approach with keen insight to these important topics for runners.
Tortoise and The Hare
Summary: Hosts Patrick Reagan (the hare) and Mike Nadeau (the tortoise) launched their podcast toward the end of 2019. Since then, they have interviewed a variety of guests, including elites like Karl Meltzer, Ian Sharman and Sabrina Little. The podcast is unique in that an elite athlete and mid-packer work together each week to produce interesting and informative interviews with their guests.
Who would benefit from the podcast: Podcast listeners wishing for a different perspective would find this format interesting. Instead of an elite interviewing other elites, or an average runner chatting up elites, the combination here works really well. The conversations are lively and offer a wide range of views that most runners would benefit from.
Why it’s a top podcast: There were several contenders for the final spot on this list. Many of those appeared similar in concept to others that I placed on the list. But Tortoise and The Hare stood out to me because of its format, engaging conversation and potential it has as the hosts continue to improve the new show. (Note: If searching for the podcast, there is one very similarly named that bills itself as a comedy podcast. You want the one that starts with “Tortoise.”)