I’ve always been a fast, hungry, eager reader. As a kid, making time for reading was easy since my only obligations were going to school and playing a couple sports. I devoured Harry Potter books within a few days, usually right after their release. If you know how long Harry Potter books are, you are totally wowed right now!
Now as an adult I still enjoy reading but, thanks to the corresponding adult obligations, I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like. I also need time to work, write, and, of course, run. I’ve figured out a way to kill two of my priority birds with one stone and now I read while I run!
Since I don’t always have time to read my favorite literature and log a solid training week, I began my relationship with audiobooks. I can even do it on the cheap! My local public library allows me to reserve and download audiobooks with my library card, and then I can listen to them on the device of my choice.
I use Overdrive, which is an audiobook app on my iPhone that doesn’t require WiFi or data. Here are the books I’ve tried; not all are conducive to running, though. I’ll explain.
The first book I tried was The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I listened to it on a couple long runs, and it was a terrible experience. I thought that since I loved The Great Gatsby, that I’d be wild about this too. No. I wasn’t into it, and the terrible narrator sealed the deal. A man narrated all the voices, including the female characters, and it sounded like a book full of drag queens. Don’t get me wrong, I love drag queens. But I couldn’t get past the bad narration. I didn’t even finish it. My new hobby made a bad first impression.
Takeaways #1 & #2: The book has to be interesting and the narrator(s) have to be excellent or you will want to throw your phone in the ditch.
The second book that became available was David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day. Even if you don’t love reading, you will love this book. An excellent storyteller and a hilarious narrator, Sedaris had me rolling on my runs; which wasn’t the greatest thanks to, oh you know, the need to breathe while running. I listened to him on the track and the trail, and I was cracking up often. I don’t suggest comedy for running! I imagine I looked pretty crazy running around the track, giggling. I do suggest this book for a long drive though!
Takeaway #3: Leave hilarity for long car rides unless you want to look like a lunatic or don’t need to breathe on the run.
The third book, and a new favorite, is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I began listening to the book on a trail run. The book is a memoir about the time Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone and it just felt right to be listening to it out on the trail. The narrator’s soothing voice sounded so real and the story itself was inspiring, suspenseful, thrilling and raw. It is such a girl power book, seriously; read it if you can! I could have zoned out on the trails, keeping my eyes peeled for loose rocks and roots, and run for hours listening to it. Every time my Garmin reminded me that it was time to stop running, I was devastated because I didn’t want to stop the story either!
Takeaway #4: Thrilling suspense and girl power make for excellent audiobook listens on the run!
So far I’ve only “read” three books while running. Do you listen to books while you run? Which audiobooks are your favorite to run with?