Do you run faster when not listening to a podcast?

I think I do.

Unless it’s an especially good day with the wind at my back, running a good time takes a degree of concentration to stay right at the edge of a manageable pace. That is to say, running at the threshold requires effort.

I also wonder if paying attention to a podcast burns more energy than simply “being” while you run – that is, there’s an energy cost as well as a concentration cost. If anyone has any data on this, I’d love to hear about it – I’ll post any links I come across below.

In conclusion, my feeling is that posting a good time is harder to do while (happily) distracted by a podcast or audiobook – so these are better saved to be enjoyed on easy runs.

I leave it to you to find applications of this to your work, or to life in general.

Happy running.

Here’s something from the Guardian on running with music:

Professor Andy Lane, a sports psychologist from the University of Wolverhampton (and a three-hour marathon runner himself) undertook a project seeking to understand the effectiveness of music to help (1,100) runners regulate their positive and negative emotions. The findings showed motivating music helped improve performance.

In another research project at John Moores University, 12 people rode an indoor bike at a pace they could sustain for 30 minutes while listening to a song of their own choice. In the second trial they rode again with the tempo of the music variously increased or decreased by 10% without the subjects knowledge.

The findings showed riders’ heart rate and mileage decreased when the tempo was slowed, while they rode a greater distance, increased their heart rate and enjoyed the music more at the faster tempo. Though the participants thought their workout was harder at the more upbeat tempo, the researchers found that when they exercised to faster-paced music: “the participants chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort”.

Professor Costas Karageorghis from Brunel University, a respected authority on the subject, says: “in some instances we have seen performance benefits of up to 15%. As well as enhancing performance, music lowers the perception of effort. It dulls or masks some of the pain associated with training.

Running with music: the case for and against

I guess spoken word is like listening to music with a slow tempo, with additional demands on concentration.

1 thought on “Do you run faster when not listening to a podcast?”

  1. Interesting post about running slower when listening to a podcast or auio book. I always listen to a podcast whie I run. I’ve never thought about it before, but perhaps will test the theory soon!

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