July’s Running Playlist

These aren’t all indie. These aren’t all fast-paced. Some are just ones I am feeling right now–like Johnny Cash. Something about being back in the USA makes me want to listen to Cash.

Wilco–California Stars

Velvet Underground–Pale Blue Eyes

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile–Over


Jenny Lewis–She’s Not Me

HAIM-That Don’t Impress Me Much

Arcade Fire–Put Your Money On Me

Ace Frehley–New York Groove

Jonathan Something–Fine

Jim James–Throwback

Johnny Cash–Remember Me

I leave this with you as I head out for a camping trip. I will be unplugged and in tune.


Favorite Podcasts

When I feel like learning something new, I listen to a good podcast. I find a lot of motivation in learning, so podcasts have been great for that. I have also discovered that I personally learn and listen better when I am running.

I put together a list of podcasts, which I broke into three categories–Educational, Running, and Ones to Try Soon.




This American Life This is probably the most popular podcast of all time. You probably already know about it. If you don’t, you should. It is so, so good.


Invisibilia Invisiblia is about the things we cannot see, but shape us–science and medicine told in interesting, attainable clips that come in under an hour.


Hidden Brain Like the title suggests, it talks about how our unconscious dictates human behavior, without us even realizing it. Most are about half an hour long.


Radiolab One of my favorites, Radiolab connects science and storytelling. You will learn something new and be captivated the entire episode, no matter which episode you choose.



Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History I absolutely love Malcolm Gladwell, so I am excited to dig into Season 3. The first two were great. He takes a closer look at some event in the past and analyzes it to see if we really understood it the first time. He makes the listener want to be better at thinking about what we have always been told.


Stuff You Should Know This is another one that you can’t really go wrong with. From Genghis Khan to anarchy to bullfighting, you find out how pretty much anything you are interested in works. They do go on slight side tangents, which end up being rather funny to listen to.



Criminal This one is great. My only beef is that they aren’t long enough at about 20 minutes an episode. They go back and look at crime that has happened in the past, some recent past some going back centuries, and discuss what happened, who was involved, and why it happened. They do a great job keeping it human, as opposed to sterile. I cannot recommend this one enough.


Freakonomics Radio If you liked the books, you will like the podcast. It talks about current topics that you most likely don’t know enough about, like the Trump tax cut and smart cities. They also discuss age-old debates, like does doing good give us license to do bad or the hot gluten conversation that just won’t die.



Serial (season 1 only) I seriously locked myself in my room and said don’t talk to me, the new Serial episode just came out. You will now have the luxury of binge listening to this because season 1 has been out a while. It follows a murder and the man accused of her murder.


99% Invisible This one is about how various things were actually created, like the fortune cookie or churches. You will learn something new with this one.


Love + Radio This one is winning awards for unique audio. It talks about the arts and sciences. It covers people and ideas. It is good, but a bit difficult to define because of its broad range of topics.




Another Mother Runner  This running podcast is geared toward women, as you could probably glean from the title. They cover all kinds of interesting running topics and seem like genuine people.


The Runner’s World Show This one doesn’t run anymore (see what I did there), but it is still good to go back and listen. They feature a lot of great runners on their show to hear their perspectives, but they also cover various running topics.


MoJo for Running Mojo for Running covers practical running tips and advice for all running abilities. It seems to have motivation at its core.



Run to the Top They are also for varying abilities. They interview experts in psychology, running, nutrition, science, and everyday runners to get advice and knowledge.


Ones to Try Soon:

RFK Tapes This one reexamines the assassination of Robert Kennedy.


Ear Hustle Stories from inside prison–sounds fascinating.



The Joe Rogan Experience I have been promised this is funny.


Trail Talk Examines ideas around running for both regular runners and ultra runners, with a focus on ultras, I think. Lots of training advice that appears to be for people who already know about running. I am putting it in my queue!



What is your favorite podcast?

“Let Your Mind Run” by Deena Kastor

 A Review by Tara G

I think I may be hard to please when it comes to running books. With that said, I did walk away with two useful tidbits from “Let Your Mind Run.”

One, if you run downhill harder than your hardest you will improve your fast-twitch muscle fibers. This was of particular interest to me because I related to her discussing how it felt like her lungs and mind could go faster, but she couldn’t get her feet to turn over any more than they already were. Her coach gave her the advice of running downhill at 110%. I also have this problem and feel that it was really useful implementing this into my own running.

The second piece of advice was less practical, but more of an eye-opening thought about racing. She talks about how if you are pushing yourself hard enough, any race is difficult, whether that is a 5k, 10k, half, or full marathon. That resonated with me. I have started to feel very comfortable in a half marathon and after listening to her audiobook, it made me reconsider what that means.

I have to say that Deena Kastor has found what works for her as a runner. She set records, continues to challenge herself, and inspires others along the way, so I don’t want to be too negative about her. But, I think what inspires her, makes me roll my eyes. The focus on mindset, positive thinking, and her journey aren’t wrong, but they seem a bit cliche. It seems like those concepts are already pretty well accepted universally. Basically, the writing wasn’t anything to write home about, but her running is extraordinary.

If I am being honest, she lost me when she said her drink of choice is chilled white wine.

I think that this book is certainly worth reading for a runner who enjoys race recaps, but temper your expectations and you won’t be disappointed.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

“North” by Scott and Jenny Jurek

A Review by Tara G

***spoilers ahead***

Scott Jurek is one of the best trail runners in the world, but you wouldn’t know it from his down-to-earth recount of his experience on the Appalachian Trail. It is incredibly difficult to write anything in the first person and not come of as an egotistical asshat, especially a really good athlete. There is very little boasting or self-accolades. He manages to be raw, reflective, open, introspective, and honest about his record breaking thru-run.

As soon as I started listening to this book, I knew I was going to relate. He references Chris McCandless’ idealism of leaving society and living off the land, Thoreau’s analysis of society, himself living as far from it as possible, and the “doing without doing” Taoist Wu wei philosophy–being natural, effortlessly being. These are ideas that I look up to, strive to make part of my life, and are major reasons I run.

Jurek writes about the give and take of life and how this can be found in nature. Trails can be brutal and how running trails can make one explore their reasons and strength to keep going. Balance. Life starts to get predictable for him, but also painfully real, so he seeks out a new trail, away from his stomping grounds and the familiarity of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Cascade Mountains, to the Appalachian Trail, to regain his gratitude for life.

Jurek wrote “North” with his wife, Jenny Jurek, which is an interesting approach. The spouse of any runner should definitely get a voice and applause for how much they have to support their racing significant other. When it comes to these huge distances the runner needs a lot of support, both emotionally and logistically. It is interesting to hear her much tougher approach toward Scott, or Jurker, as she calls him. She openly admits she is not as nice as husband. She is the one that tells him to get his ass in gear because she is giving up a lot for him. I respect that she tells him not to approach the Appalachian Trail half-heartily, in stronger language than I used. He must respect her too, because he spent a lot of time throughout the book writing about how much he adores her as a person, friend, and partner. As the reader peering into their lives, I couldn’t help but find their recount of their personal fears and struggles incredibly brave. One criticism I do have is I think she was asked to do too much, staying out in the middle of the woods solo and worrying about weirdos while recovering from a miscarriage.

Throughout the book he focuses on finding and restoring balance in his life. He talks about the give and take of nature and draws comparisons to the struggle of completing this thru-run of 2,189 miles. By the way,  he completed it in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes. <- Check out the Runner’s World link to see the map and more details. It isn’t a book you are going to find practical running tips and strategies, it assumes the reader already has those, but rather, it focuses on the why of running–the emotional journey and the perspective one can gain from struggle, albeit an elective struggle.

Audiobooks on the Run

Sometimes I don’t listen to anything, sometimes music or podcasts, but mostly, I listen to audiobooks while I run. I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Running can take up a lot of time, and consequently, my reading time. I decided I couldn’t sacrifice either and combined them.

I find myself listening to a lot of books specifically about running. They are tales of incredible feats of the human body and spirit, and through this, they offer a fair bit of motivation and inspiration.

I hear a lot of runners ask what books other runners are reading, so I compiled a list of 20 running books that I have listened to. I rated them. See if you agree or disagree. You may find  your next read or listen.

5 Stars


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington

North by Scott Jurek and Jenny Jurek

My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

4 Stars


Poverty Creek Journal by Thomas Gardner

The Long Run by Matt Long

Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes

Trailhead by Lisa Jhung

Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong

Running Man by Charlie Engle

Going Long by various authors

3 Stars


The Long Run by Mishka Shubaly

Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi

Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

2 Stars


Out There by David Clark

Run! by Dean Karnazes

Natural Born Runners by Christopher McDougall

Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.

Opinions of books are usually quite personal. If you have read any of the books listed, let me know what you think of my ratings in the comments. I am open to discussing any of the books!

Save 50.0% on select products from KUUFER with promo code 50KKV3G2, through 6/28 while supplies last.

May’s Top 10 Running Songs

I love finding new music to fuel my run. I am a bit of an indie rock junkie.

Keep it rad, moving, and enjoy these songs as much as I have.

Continue reading “May’s Top 10 Running Songs”