Katherine Hopper: Running To The Sound Of … Books On Tape

That might not be music Katherine Hopper is listening to. Photo: Katherine Hopper

Some days, nothing beats the freedom of a silent, Garmin-less run. Other days, it can be very relaxing to listen to a podcast or book on tape while running. I also have days where all I want to do is space out while listening to music. It all depends on how I’m feeling!

Sometimes when I come home after a long and exhausting day of class or clinical in the operating room, the last thing I want to do is go for a run. All I want to do is crawl into bed. It seems impossible to be productive. Oddly enough, I’ve found that the best way for me to recharge my battery on days like this is to head out to the trails for a silent run. After a day of sensory overload, the sound of my shoes on the trails is so refreshing. It also makes it much easier to hear bikers or other runners approaching, so I feel safer as well.

On my typical solo road run, I enjoy listening to books on tape or podcasts. It’s incredible how quickly the miles tick by when my mind is occupied by a good story. My library has a great system where you can download books on tape for free, so there’s a seemingly endless supply of material. My favorite podcast to listen to while running is Freakonomics, an awesome radio broadcast that explores the hidden side of everything and includes episodes with titles like “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” It keeps my mind occupied and time flies by.

If I’m doing speed-work or running a race, I have a couple go-to playlists that give me an extra little boost of energy. The playlists are mostly made of electronic, high-tempo music with some catchy pop songs thrown into the mix. Over time, I’ve come to associate all of these songs with pushing the pace, so if I ever hear any of them (such as Macklemore and Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us”) outside of running, I immediately start to think about racing.

For me, it’s nice to save music while running for races because I think it helps me get into a racing mindset. However, I completely understand that some people enjoy music more for their daily runs. If that makes running more of an enjoyable experience for them, I believe that’s a good thing.

The majority of my runs are with friends or folks from my running team so I don’t have a huge need for listening to music/podcasts while running because conversation makes the time fly by. However, I do believe that music can play an important role by serving as a distraction and helping boost energy levels!

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit 26Strong.com.

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