Sharpen your brain by training your legs!
Updated: Feb 28
Do we say "read" or "listen"?
I am not sure if you are familiar or not with the concept of audiobooks, but basically it is a voice recording of someone reading a book to you. The reading is extremely clear and distinctive and the reader takes the time to pause when necessary. They really are a great experience, in a way that, they are always quiet and peaceful. It really gives you the atmosphere of being in a park, reading a book on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. Ok, maybe I am a little bias because I love audiobooks, but you got my point. Some people don’t like to read at all, for them, audiobooks are a great answer because people usually don’t like the experience of taking a book in their hands and focusing on every letter, word, etc.., but if they could relax on the sofa with their headphones in, while they are “reading” a book, they might change their opinion.
Audiobooks are a great way to make any transportation better. Public transport obviously, lots of people would prefer listening to audiobooks in the subway versus carrying with them a heavy big book. Car-trips would also be really good while listening to audiobooks, and the difference between audiobooks and normal books is that the audiobooks can be shared, you can listen together to the same book. When reading together the same book is kind of unpractical.
“Ok, thanks Jeremy, audiobooks are great, but what about running?”
Story of my 2 first weeks of Marathon Training
When I achieved my 2nd week of marathon training (Paris Marathon 2020). I went on Strava and started to look at the statistics. This is why a database like Strava is extremely useful. By the way, you can see why I like Strava so much here. You can analyze each individual running session of course. But you can also see a larger picture of your week for instance, or a month, etc.. When I looked at these 2 weeks, this is what I saw:
4h09min the first week and 4h24min the second week… A total of 9h35min just in 2 (out of 14) weeks of training. I realized then that I had to use this time that was given to me in a productive way. I had always been running in silence, listening to music or to a football podcast. Which is great don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed not listening to anything too. It made me think and develop my imagination. But the truth is, listening to audiobooks has developed my imagination even more.
Why not podcast?
I am quite a bit of a podcast guy. I used to listen to them a lot and I still do. But since I discovered the power of the audiobooks I have suddenly become much more selective with the source of the podcast I am listening to. I listened for more than 10 years to a football podcast. It is a great podcast, they have live info, they always know before others what is going to happen and they have a great sense of humor. It is really pleasant to listen to them. The only thing is, after 10 years of listening to them I haven't learned a single thing… It might sound a little depressing said like that but other than keeping me informed of which player is going to sign in which club, or what should this team have done to beat their rivals tactically, I haven't learned stuff that I could translate to my own life. Even worse, I am not capable of remembering most of what they have said yesterday, I am not paying attention anymore it is just automatic and the information gets through me without making any difference. This podcast is within my comfort zone now. For this reason, I decided that I had to learn something new every day! So my advice would be, yes, listen to podcasts but choose wisely and be ambitious about what you spend your time with.
You might feel that with all the free content you can find in podcasts, why paying a fee to buy an audiobook instead? The answer is quality. When you buy an audiobook you buy a book. You buy the content and the knowledge of an author who worked on it probably for a full year or more. And thanks to the magic of audiobooks, this knowledge that the author created for a year will be yours in 10 hours. How great?!
Music runner vs Audiobook Runner
I really don't want to criticize people who listen to music while running. Running is a great source of pleasure and it should always be seen as such. Please do not change your habits just because someone wrote about it in a blog. Do what works best on you and you will be doing the right thing. But let's compare what could change in your life if you would change to start listening to audiobooks.
I am going to take a rough guess with a runner who runs 3 times a week, for 1 hour. Pretty average I would say, it would be more if you are training for an event and less if you are in a more relaxed mode at the moment. So, 3 hours a week will make this runner spend 156 hours per year running. An audiobook has an average time of 9 hours approximately. Some would be short (around 6 hours) and some are longer (around 12 hours) so I think 9 hours is a pretty decent average. In 156 hours the runner will have read 17.33 books, ok I will round down to 15 books because I need to consider vacation and maybe some time off. But still, how many times over the last years have you read 15 books in a year? Now imagine, you also start doing it in public transport, while cooking or while driving to the office. This could open the door to so many new knowledge and new passion that you will discover!
Back to running. It will even give you a boost effect. One morning when I was in the middle of the book Jog On of Bella Mackie (You will find an article about it here very soon), I realized that when the alarm rang at 5 am in the morning I woke up straight away, and the reason wasn't only because I wanted to do my training, it was because I wanted Bella Mackie to keep talking. Because yes sometimes the author herself/himself is the one reading the book. It gives so much more power to the content of the book. You will go for a run to hear the end of the story, and be at peace to listen to the story. You will wake up just to hear another story about the Tarahumaras, or another race of Scott Jurek, etc...
Which platform to choose?
Hmm I'd say: all of them. I listed only listed 2 here, they are the ones that I am using, so I will give you a little tour. But to be really honest, I don't think they matter very much, as long as you find the book you want to read in one of the platforms then go for it. At the end of the day, it is just an audio file that you will be listening to. It cannot be bad or good, it will just be what the book is. Plus all of these platforms have some welcome offer which will give you 1 or 2 (sometimes even 3) first audiobooks for free, so really no reason to only stick to one!
I will start with the one I started with. This platform is great, it is easy. That is why it has become so popular these days I guess. It is a subscription against a fee (7,99£in the UK weirdly it is 14,99$ for the US, not sure why you guys in the States have to pay more, might be worth opening an account in the UK anyway since the library is the same). With this subscription, you will get 1 "credit" each month. A credit gives you the right to buy one book of your choice regardless of its actual prices, every month. So, basically, you have the insurance of always paying books for a smaller amount as audiobooks tend to be over 10-15£ or 15-20$. It is linked to your Amazon account so after you have created your Audible account, you can just go onto any books in their library and buy it, either with your credit or if you have already used it you can buy the book in audiobook format. Sometimes you also have a special offer to buy credits, like 3 credits for 18£ which gives you 3 books at 6£, a pretty decent bargain. So you buy a book with a credit or with your money if you haven't got any credit anymore and then sends it to the device you want, most likely your phone so you can run while listening to it. The book is downloaded the first time, so you don't need internet access or anything on your phone to listen to it when you are outside. It is from far the best platform and the one which offers the more books I would say.
If you wish to register, you can click here. you will get a Free ebook, and even a second one if you are already an Amazon Prime member. I will let you browse through it now and let me know in the comment if you think Audible is the best platform or not. You can just sign off for the free trial for a month to try. What is the worst thing that is going to happen? You might enjoy it, who knows?
That is the second platform I would recommend. The subscription works the same way as Audible. But it is even better since you get 2 books for this subscription every month. One book you can choose any books and the second needs to be part of their VIP list. I think the deal is pretty good, and the choice of books is really large, so chances are that you will find what you are looking for! If you want to give a try to Audiobooks.com, you can have a look here. Have fun!
Personally I have become such a big audiobooks consumer, that the combination of both subscriptions actually is what works best for me, for less than 16£ a month I can read at least 3 books, plus some additional offers, every month. The audiobooks are quite trendy these days and sometimes the editors are too much aware of it. Some books are sold 15£ for the hardcover and 22£ in audiobook format, which is a bit much I must say. That is why those subscriptions are really good deals I think. Let me know in the comments if you would be interested in a full guide on how to connect and use both Audible or Audiobooks.com and I will make it happen.
If you don't believe that it could improve your running life and even your life in general, please don't believe me, and prove me wrong! By trying it and testing it. The first month is free on both platforms so zero risks. Only after, you could come back and tell me that it doesn't work on you. Meanwhile, take action and start now. Ready, Set, Go!
I am really curious to get your opinion on what do you like to listen to while running? Did you already listen to audiobooks? Are you going to try now? What are the best audiobooks that you have ever listened too? Leave a comment on the section below and let's discuss it!