The 38 best running podcasts recommended by runners
There are few things more comforting than sticking on a podcast and heading out the front door for a run. Unlike music, running to a podcast offers total escape and often you’ll find that you’ve completed your run before you know it.
That said, finding the right podcast for running is tough and constantly searching through the sea of choices can often result in giving up and turning back to your trusty old running playlist.
However, as with movies or tv series, a recommendation makes you all the more likely to give it a try. So, given a lot of us at Let’s Do This like running, I decided to ask around, and really get to the bottom of what podcasts people are listening to while running. Here’s our list of the best running podcasts, recommended for runners, by runners. We hope you enjoy it.
I thought it made sense to start a post about running podcasts, with podcasts about running. That might seem obvious, but of all the recommendations that came in only 20% were running podcasts. The other 80% fell into other categories of more general podcasts that people just love listening to while running.
Here, Coach Jason Koop tackles all the topics of the ultra running world, with no holds barred. On the list of running podcast recommendations, this came in high, with particular reference to Koop’s smooth voice and array of highly qualified guests.
Best for: The ultimate running coach podcast
Rich Roll is a plant-powered ultra-athlete and all-round inspirational figure. In his podcasts he connects with some amazing guests to take a deeper look into wellness topics.
Best for: Long runs, with episodes often 90 mins +
I love trail running, so perhaps I am biased. Admittedly, Don and Scott talk a lot about trail running and the amazing things people are doing within the sport. But there is plenty on there for all runners – so don’t be put off if you’re not a trail runner!
Best for: Well, trail running of course
There is nothing quite like listening to the tales of ultrarunners. Their stories are raw, their recants are honest, and there’s not a host in the world who is more passionate about running than Candice Burt.
Best for: Zoning out on a long run
Despite its name, this isn’t all running. The podcast centres on women within endurance sport and the outdoors more generally, in an effort to dive into the connection of mind, body, and soul.
Best for: Post or pre run
I have to admit, this one was a recommendation. From who? You guessed it, my mother. Having only just got into running, my mother finds the podcast informative, relatable, and inclusive.
Best for: Recommending to your mother
Run to the Top offers a broader overview of the running world. With 5 new episodes per week, you can expect to hear from health scientists, expert nutritionists, and the latest running news.
Best for: Unleashing your inner running geek
Runner’s World weekly podcast episodes are released every Tuesday and take a look at everything that’s going on in the world of running. The tone is friendly and informal, but the content informative and opinionated. If you’re here to learn more about running and its latest quirks, then definitely give this a try.
Best for: Short, sharp lunch time runs
Join Marcus Brown – commonly referred to as Marathon Marcus – in his weekly instalments which explore individual runner’s lives and what being a member of the running community means to them. I love this podcast for running, and at about an hour an episode, it’s ideal for a medium distance run.
Best for: Realising the similarities that all runners have
Of course, running podcasts are just the tip of the iceberg. . There are a whole host of general sports podcasts out there that can supply an endless stream of inspiration and entertainment while you’re running.
Joey Barton, English football’s eternal villain. If you’ve not heard of him, Barton is a love / hate type of figure. True to form, his podcast gives open and honest accounts of the successes and failures behind elite performance in sport.
Best for: Running a PB or training for an event
This one is niche, but we don’t mind that. If you don’t like cricket, then I’d suggest you keep scrolling. The Grade Cricketer is a comedy podcast about the broken dreams of young kids wanting to play high-level sport, but who never quite got there – I’m sure many of us can relate here.
Best for: Taking it easy on a cool-down run
From the producers of the 30 from 30 documentary series, the podcast is great for all sports fans. It offers an insight into how sports more generally have impacted society and the way we live.
Best for: Despite its name these are mostly ~ 1 hour in length – so a long-ish run
Former US football team captain, Julie Foudy, interviews a whole host of iconic sporting figures – delving into their sporting careers and how these intersected with normal life. Very funny.
Best for: A friday afternoon run
This recommendation came in from the audience. Described as chilled Welsh humour, with the odd bit of cycling the podcast is hosted by Welsh cyclists Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe.
Best for: Cooling down on the exercise bike after a tough gym session
Running can be hard, and often requires motivation. Often this motivation is fueled by your go-to pump up playlist. But trust me, the right podcast can inspire and motivate you while running as well as any playlist.
Desert Island Discs is THE podcast. Created by Roy Plomley in 1942, the podcast has since been hosted by Michael Parkinson, Sue Lawley, Kirsty Young, and Lauren Laverne. Guests share songs and stories about their lives, before being cast away with one song, a book, and a luxury.
Best for: Running (seriously, these are great for any run, any time, any place)
Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place speaks to inspirational guests about their lives. Not the regular day-to-day, but changes they’ve made to their own situations or how they’ve helped others to see the world in a new light. If you have to listen to one episode, I’d recommend Kirsty Young’s – where the tables are turned on the former Desert Island Discs presenter.
Best for: Stress relieving running after a long day
Perfect for when you need a positive pick-me-up and want to feel like you’re running with a friend. I could write an entire paragraph about Brene Brown’s credentials alone, but in short she’s a best selling author and researching with a gift for interacting with her topics and guests.
Best for: When you’re really low on running motivation
In running, sport, and life, failure is a regularity. We often shy away from the topic; Day does the opposite, celebrating failure and the lessons that can be learned from it.
Best for: Sustained running motivation
Conversations with entrepreneurs, athletes and actresses (think David Gandy, Chris Robshaw, Mindful Chef CoFounders) focused on mental health and success. This came in high on the recommendations.
Best for: Midweek running
Ever looked at a business and asked yourself the question, why didn’t I think of that? Well, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are a number of great podcasts which can explain precisely why you didn’t think of it and detail the stories behind the names. This category was extremely popular.
How I Built This gives you a closer look at how some of the world’s most well-known companies came into being. It’ll quickly confirm that it’s about a lot more than just having a good idea.
Best for: Running motivation to get back to your desk and start a business
Interviews with the founders of a variety of key startups like Shopify, Slack, Google, Bumble. Guests dive into challenges they faced, and how they overcame them to scale into the multimillion dollar companies they are today.
Best for: That billion-dollar idea in the shower after running
Get ready for 1-1 interviews with a number high profile entrepreneurs about how they built their brands. Highlights were Bloom and Wild, Deliciously Ella, Propercorn.
Best for: Running off the Sunday blues
No idea is a bad idea. Listen to two successful entrepreneurs – Shaan and Sam – having uncensored brainstorming sessions with a new guest each week. Importantly, these guys actually know what they’re talking about.
Best for: Scribbling down ideas while still you have runner’s high
Imagine Dragon’s Den, but a podcast. The Pitch throws you into the unknown and fascinating world of startups; taking a deeper look at what investors really want to see, and how entrepreneurs sell their dreams.
Best for: Weeknight runs – these episodes are addictive
Each episode takes you on a journey into the lives of corporate entrepreneurs and how they designed, built and scaled their companies.
Best for: Running your own business
Best of the rest
As mentioned earlier, the majority of podcasts I was recommended didn’t actually involve running. This last section is like a box of chocolates; some make people laugh, some bring the daily news, some simply offer new perspectives. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all recommended for, you guessed it, listening to while running.
These guys are great, and topped the ranks of best podcasts amongst the Let’s Do This team. Each week, Dan, James, Anna, and James (the writers of QI), give a run down of their favourite weird and wonderful facts from the last 7 days.
Best for: Lunch time running to take your mind off work
Imagine the worst written porno of all time… now imagine the author is your dad. This podcast is sheer comedy gold. If you’re ever feeling a bit down or demotivated for running, this is guaranteed to perk you up.
Best for: Weekend running when you have no worries in the world
Van Ness’ interview style is inquisitive and his positive energy infectious, making this podcast feel uplifting despite covering some important topics.
Best for: Learning something new while running
Produced by The Guardian and released every weekday, Today in Focus takes a deeper look at the major news story of the day. These short 20 – 30 minute episodes offer a wealth of information and perspective on important current affairs.
Best for: Morning running to get your daily news digest
These easily digestible 20 minute debates unpack 1 headline from current affairs each week. Topics like ‘What will Donald Trump do next?’, ‘Should we ban billionaires’ or ‘How soon can we go carbon zero’ give you a flavour of what this podcast is all about.
Best for: A quick 5k
New for lockdown, this is Theroux at his best. Louis unpacks the life stories of a number of high-profile celebrities, charting the inevitable ups and downs that come with fame. It’s worth listening to Louis Theroux’s desert island discs as well.
Best for: At ~ 1 hour these make for a good 10k
Join Jessie Ware and her mum at their dinner table for this light-hearted podcast. Touching on arts, music, family, and culture this podcast really does feel like you’re eavesdropping on dinner table chat.
Best for: Unwinding after a long run
In theory, this is a podcast about the internet, but in practice it’s so much more than that. Hosted by PJ Vogt, Alex Goldman, and Emmanuel Dzotsi, Reply All takes a deeper look at modern life during the age of tech.
Best for: Learning something completely new while running
We live in a strange world, that much is clear. Hosts Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser challenge predetermined views about how the world works, through provocative and investigative journalism.
Best for: Running a new route and broadening your horizons
Get ready for stories – well-researched, well-presented stories. I really mean that, these guys won the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show / podcast. This is 21st century journalism at its finest.
Best for: A slow, recovery run – you’ll want to pay attention to these
Heavyweight takes guests back to the one moment in their lives that they wish they could change. I have to say, this one comes highly recommended, and to quote the referee: ‘if you’ve not listened to the Rob episode you HAVE to have that experience in your life.’
Best for: A nostalgic run
This one comes from the producers of Radiolab (also recommended above). The podcast dives into the Supreme Court and the stories that lie behind its biggest decisions.
Best for: Running while learning
Struggling to discern fact vs fiction these days? If so, I’d give this a listen. The hosts dive into commonly held opinions, strip them down, bolster or bust them and finally, replace them with scientific facts.
Best for: not running away from the truth