Running to audiobooks

Tried and tested


When I ran the London Marathon last year I devised a seven-hour playlist - just in case. It featured the most feel-good, up-beat running tracks I could find and I turned it up loud. As well as the crowds, music really got me over the finish line after 26.2 miles.
I’ve now signed myself up for a 50k Ultra marathon (yes, I am crazy) but my playlist is tired and inspiration has faded through repetition. I started to think I might need more than music to get me through the training mileage expected for a 50k event.
Some fellow runners had mentioned that they needed to listen to a podcast or an audiobook for any run longer than 40 minutes - otherwise they get bored – so I decided to give it a go.
I won’t prolong the suspense; things did not go well.
I had a 15k run scheduled and chose a short story - Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost. After about 2k I knew there was no way I was running for any longer than 10k to the monotonous sound of the reader's voice peppered with irritating silences. I arrived back at my house completely underwhelmed.
I persevered, deciding to try a completely different book: Philippa Gregory's The White Queen. No disrespect to Emilia Fox - who read the story - but it wasn't any better.
I enjoyed the book much more, but not in the context of trying to get a 15k under my belt. The sound of her voice became a sort of lullaby. I felt myself becoming more and more sluggish. I even walked a couple of times and fancied sitting on a bench to listen without distraction. I didn't get past 13.5k.

There's a lot to be said for running to a beat, particularly when that beat changes every few minutes with the tune of a different song. The regular change in track rejuvenates you in a way that an audiobook cannot, for me at least.

So, I revamped my playlist and spent way too much money on itunes downloading a whole new batch of great running tracks. Who wants to listen to War and Peace during an 'ultra' anyway?
What do you listen to on a long run? Let us know @ELLEUKrunning

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