Listening to Audiobooks While Working Out & Running

Hello readers!

I’ve been quite terrible at keeping up with my workout schedules lately, but I’m still running about twice a week, and hopefully now that things have quieted down in my personal life, I can go back to kicking ass regularly!

I’m not the best multitasker ever, as I’m more of a focus-on-one-thing-at-a-time kind of person, but I loved the idea of listening to a book while working out and getting TWO things done at the same time, so I tried it out – here’s how it went!

The first book I listened to while working out was Skin Deep, which I listened to while on the treadmill. If you don’t know, I love running but I suck at it, and I’m pretty new to it, too. My main issue back then, and even now, is endurance – running for a sustained period of time. When I started, I did mostly walking at a fast pace and short periods of running in between, on the treadmill, and even that can be challenging for a beginner, so I thought Skin Deep helped keep me distracted, and I was so tense I ended up doing more running between walks than in other days. So, success!

Generally, however, I don’t find that I can listen to books while running. I like listening on speed x1.0, and that is a too slow rhythm for me to run to. So for running I no longer listen to books, because it slows me down instead of hyping me up and making my blood pump. If I decide to train for a half-marathon, which is a 2h-long or more kind of run, perhaps the book will be a good idea, but for my short and (somewhat) intense runs, I prefer upbeat music.

For working out, however, specially if I am planning on a longer practice (say, 1h or longer), listening to books works pretty well! I almost exclusively listen to thrillers in that case, because I find the narrations work well and they’re naturally more fast-paced than other genres. If I’m going for a 40min training, then music keeps me going faster and I’m done much quicker with my workout.

So, conclusion: personally, I find motivating to have a book playing while I’m at the gym for an hour, an hour and half, but for more short & intense sessions, and especially for running, I think it makes me slower and affects my performance. I especially like going on foot to the gym listening to a book, because then you do a few more steps, a few minutes of warming up before actually starting the workout, and it goes by really fast when you’re concentrated. This is a pretty personal experience though, so it’s possible that it works completely different for you.

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Books I’ve listened to while working out and recommend:

(aka. books that are intense AF and will keep your blood pumping)

skin deep liz nugent an anonymous girl greer hendricks sarah pekkans Behind Closed Doors B A Paris

Skin Deep, by Liz Nugent / An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen / Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris

lock every door by riley sager my lovely wife samantha downing

Lock Every Door, by Riley Sager / My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing


13 thoughts on “Listening to Audiobooks While Working Out & Running

  1. Interesting! I like listening to podcasts at 1.5x while running (back when I was doing it), because it distracts me. Fast music gets me pumped up, but I also get bored since it doesn’t really provide me anything to focus on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is really interesting! I think I’m just a cheap ass who tries to stretch her audiobooks as long as possible, so I like listening to them at 1.0x. Too fast and I can’t concentrate on them so well anyway… but I totally see the point of it distracting you. I love more or less singing along (not out loud because — people) so I’m fairly entertained with music alone. ALSO I use the Zombies Run app which is fun and keeps me focused when I forget to speed up etc…

      But it’s always cool to hear from other runners, especially bookish ones – I don’t actually know anyone aside from me and my boyfriend who’d even consider listening to a book while running at all.

      Do you have any favorites btw??

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh, that makes sense! I just typically don’t have enough time to even get through them on top of podcasts, so listening fast is quite practical for me. 😛 Sleeping Giants is incredible on audiobook!


  2. I also love the idea of multitasking and listening to audiobooks while I run, but I find watching something on my phone to be more effective at distracting me from how much I hate running. I don’t listen to a ton of music, and it doesn’t occupy my brain enough when I’m running like an audiobook or show does.

    While I prefer watching something, I do listen to audiobooks if I’ve found something I’m really excited about or that’s more engaging. Like, I just listened to Jonathan Van Ness’ memoir at the gym the other day because I was excited to listen to it, and Amy Poehler and Anna Kendrick’s memoirs were perfect for the gym, too, since they’re so funny. And I was so invested in the narration and mystery of the Royal Spyness series that I listened to a lot of those while running. I second the rec for the Sleeping Giants audiobooks, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those sound like awesome recs, I’ve wanted to listen to Anna Kendrick’s book forever!

      I haven’t tried running watching something, I think I’d be afraid of falling on my butt. So you like mainly using treadmill?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I have a gym in my apartment building, so I run on the treadmill there. The treadmills have a nice ledge to set a phone or iPad so that it stays secure, and it’s up high enough that I don’t feel like I’m looking down too much. I do make a point to use wireless headphones, though, so I don’t accidentally send my device flying if the cord gets tangled up in my arm, which has happened more than once! But yeah, I watched a lot of Jane the Virgin at the gym before getting so hooked that I had to watch it 24/7

        Liked by 1 person

        • I see! Wireless headphones is definitely the way to go – I’m always terrified I’ll be the person who falls on her butt on the treadmill in front of everyone, so I couldn’t possibly cope with headphones with wires.

          I haven’t watched Jane the Virgin! I’ve heard it’s amazing, though!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah I’ve found that if I’m working out for a longer period, I can listen to an audiobook, but I do find it doesn’t work so well if I want to go faster/do more. I also listen to it on 1x speed, mostly because I get them on overdrive and can’t speed it up on that app 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Blog Post Ideas for Book Bloggers | Naty's Bookshelf

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