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The Best Audiobooks to Listen to While Running

What are the best audiobooks to listen to while running? This is a question that could take me years to answer. It’s fair to say that my love for audiobooks spurred much of my motivation to train for the Boston Marathon this past year. Waking up before the sunrise, I would run through the forest in the dark, listening to the next installment of my psychological thriller. While this increased my paranoia about being murdered by a Sasquatch, it also made my long runs more enjoyable.

If you haven’t boarded the audiobook train, stop at the next station and be prepared to ride to an amazing land of learning, excitement, and fun. With companies like Audible and Audiobooks, there is no lack of titles to choose from. When I began listening to audiobooks during my runs, I saw the number of books I was able to consume skyrocket. No longer would I have to find time in my busy schedule to sit down with a book I’d never finish. With audiobooks, I was plowing through two books a week, destroying bestsellers faster than our town’s librarian. Did I mention I listen to them at double speed?

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Once you begin to explore the world of audiobooks, you’ll be overwhelmed with all of the amazing options you can choose from. It won’t take long for you to come up with a very long list of titles. While the best audiobooks for running are countless and always up for debate, this list consists of my top choices at the moment. To all of the audiobooks that follow, I want to say thank you for being best friends and motivation during my long training runs and never leaving me without entertainment when I need it most.

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Wow, this audiobook put me on the edge of my seat….or, shoes… This book, which is now a movie with Neil Patrick Harris, is about a marriage that goes wrong. Very wrong. What makes this audiobook such a good choice for runners is that the plot frequently makes 180-degree turns and is full of surprises. You’ll be hard pressed to stop a run short while engrossed in the carefully crafted twists and turns of Flynn’s work. If you love mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and drama, this audiobook is for you. I wouldn’t suggest running in the dark with this one though.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I’m not always a fan of audiobooks that use different narrators for different characters, but it is done very well here and goes far in adding to the experience. The narrators of this powerful work have made names for themselves in projects like 12 Years a Slave, Steel Magnolias, The Fighter, and many others. A strong story, paired with powerful narrators, makes this audiobook a homerun.

Stiff by Mary Roach

Mary Roach is a genius when it comes to describing the complex science of the disgusting workings of everyday life. Even though it’s packed with information, you won’t realize how much you’re learning when you fall into Roach’s hilarious storytelling. When Roach tackles a topic, she leaves no stone unturned, going as far as sticking her hand into a cow’s open fistula to discover the intricacies of human digestion for her book Gulp. Roach has explored many topics from space to ghosts, but Stiff may be a fun first choice for runners. There’s no better way to gain appreciation of your running abilities than learning about the science of dead bodies. When considering the best audiobooks to listen to while running, this one provides an entertaining deep delve into our own mortality.

There are times when you don’t want to deal with complicated plots or delve deep into controversial issues that make you examine your morals and character. When your legs hurt and all you can think about is the next mile, you don’t want to strain your brain more than you are already straining your body. It’s moments like these when I switch over to well-crafted romantic comedies. Sophie Kinsella is a well-respected name in this genre and produces works that are clever, relatable, humorous, and entertaining. Can You Keep a Secret? does a great job of being light and humorous, yet also having a plot worth caring about. It won’t take you on any intense emotional journeys, but it will keep you engaged when you need a pick me up during a run.

Offering a counterargument to dieting culture, Mann explores the science and research pointing to the reasons behind why dieting doesn’t work. She delves into the destructive nature of calorie cutting, why weight loss might not matter, and how we can change our behaviors to promote health. If you’re interested in health and fitness, Mann’s work will be a refreshing look at a dieting culture that may be missing the mark.

This is one of my favorite non-fiction books. In a society that strives for happiness, perfection, and success, this book highlights the importance of our less than ideal emotions and qualities and how they can be essential in the pursuit of a meaningful and productive life. Get ready to have your world turned upside down as you learn about the benefits of your anger, guilt, and selfishness. This book is a must-listen for any non-fiction lovers, or those who want to embrace their less than perfect sides.

We couldn’t finish this list without highlighting a great running book. Matt Fitzgerald is the author of a number of highly regarded running books and is quite an accomplished runner himself. What I love about this particular book is that it delves into the mental aspects of running that can so often derail us from our goals. Listen to this book while you’re running and put Fitzgerald’s strategies into practice.

This is only a handful of the many audiobooks you can choose from when considering the best audiobooks to listen to while running. When you beginning exploring your options, you’ll be opened up to a world of learning, entertainment, and downright fun. If you’ve been looking for a way to add some variety to your runs, pick up an audiobook you would never expect to enjoy. You never know what you could discover and learn. So, what do you think are the best audiobooks for running? Let us know in the comments section below.

4 thoughts on “The Best Audiobooks to Listen to While Running”

  1. where do you play your audiobook while running? I’m just curious because I wanted to do this as well while I brisk walk every morning. Thank you

    1. I play them through my phone! I like having my phone with me for safety purposes anyway. Audible has an app to host them, which is really user friendly and easy to navigate while running. People say I’m weird, but I hold my phone while I’m running. A good armband will solve that for those who like hands free. I also use Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones. They are my absolute favorites and have lasted me over 4 years at this point. I have a review of them here:

  2. I’ve read most of Sophie Kinsella’s books and I’ve liked them all but this one has to be my favourite. A book hasn’t made me laugh as much as this one did in a long time! Emma’s a young woman who spills all her secrets to a man she meets on a plane who turns out to be her boss! It’s romantic, funny, sad at times and…just fab! If you love romantic comedies, you’ll love this!

    1. Yes! So many of Sophie Kinsella’s could have made the list, but that one is one of my favorites. Just what you need when the miles get tough!

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