Podcast Reviews

This page started as a blog post in December 2015.  However, I continued updating it and wanted to make it an easily accessible page.  I will add more reviews and more podcasts as I keep listening!

For reference, here is the initial blog post.

Rating System:

*** = Fantastic

** = Pretty Good

* = No Thanks/I Don’t Get It

N/R = Not Yet Rated (Come Back Soon!)

Running, Fitness, Health, and the Outdoors

  • *** Ultramarathon News, Podcasts, and Product Reviews.  This is a great podcast about ultrarunning, usually featuring an interview with awesome trail runners.  I find it to be really motivating on those long runs, and very inspiring to get out for some adventures!  Eric Schranz is perhaps the most enthusiastic person ever.
  • *** The Negative Splits Podcast.  Fun, running-focused show hosted by three running buddies (two are brothers).  Interviews with stellar guests in the running and ultrarunning worlds.  Guys are funny, self-deprecating, yada yada.  Often NSFW or kids.
  • **1/2 The Runner’s World Show.  This is a new podcast (as of April 2016) hosted by the Editor in Chief of Runner’s World magazine, David Willey.  This podcast covers stories and interviews about running — similar to the magazine.  This is a really high quality podcast, and because Runner’s World is so well-regarded, the guests have been really good so far.  Definitely add this one to the regular rotation.
  • **1/2 Marathon Training Academy.  These folks (a couple) are super earnest and relatable.  She’s a disciplined running coach chasing her 50 states.  He’s a marathoner but, as one episode explained, a bit of a “rebel” when it comes to training. They are experienced marathoners but still looking to learn and grow and acknowledge weaknesses.  Great practical tips for training, injury prevention and treatment, and race day.  I’ve enjoyed this one so far and plan to keep listening.
  • **1/2 No Meat Athlete.  Can’t believe I forgot these guys on my original list.  No Meat Athlete was actually the first blog I ever started reading, and I rocked the carrot shirt at my fourth marathon (and maybe some others after that).  Blogger Matt Frasier has expanded his vegan endurance running empire to podcasting and is joined by former local Doug Hay, aka Rock Creek Runner.  And yup, it’s good.  Science and practical tips and no judgment.  The episode about pre-race nutrition got me pumped for the Mississippi Blues Marathon!  Also I loved the episode with Sid Garza-Hillman.  Oh and the episode… OK, let’s be honest, I love every episode.  (Update November 2016: I feel like the podcasters have gotten a little lazy, and I don’t feel like they’ve been doing many of these topics justice.  If you’re going to do a podcast on a topic or take a reader question, maybe do a little research if you’re not sure of the answer?  Also, there have been moment of quackiness.  Lowering the rating to two and a half stars for now.)
  • **1/2 Katy Says.  This podcast has caused me a wide range of emotions.  Here my was my initial reaction: UGH this podcast!  The hosts (Katy in particular) are sometimes whiny and sometimes sanctimonious (including lots of judgments about what is “natural” or “nutritious”). The rambling!  Oh the rambling!  Every substantive tip or insight requires 15 minutes of mostly irrelevant backstory.  And sometimes after all the groundwork is laid, the podcast just references a blog post or book (as if that helps me when I’m out on a run).  A la Kramer on Seinfeld… Why don’t you just TELL me the pelvic floor exercises?  And inside jokes that I presume (hope) become “outside” once you listen long enough?  Annoying.  Oh, and the metaphors are tortured.  All that said, I’ll probably keep listening to this one because it has some pretty interesting (maybe revolutionary?) ideas about movement and I want to learn more…  A few days later, after I had listened to a few more episodes, I had a slight change of heart: OK, I’m converted.  I don’t take back what I said.  But I’m pretty into this one.  I’ve since talked about this podcast to anyone that will listen and bought Katy’s book for a family member, so I guess you could say I’m converted.  (Update November 2016:  This is another one that I feel has fallen off a bit.  Katy has a new book about movement ecology, and she’s been focusing on that.  It’s an interesting topic but the episodes have been more philosophical than practical.  I get the philosophy — give me the tips/info!  Lowering the rating to two and a half stars for now.)
  • **1/2 Ginger Runner LIVE.  Runner/comedian Ethan Newberry’s podcast.  He also has a blog and YouTube channel.  Great content and high-quality guests.  Occasional technical glitches.
  • ** East Coast Trail and Ultra Runner Podcast.  This one has the potential to be an awesome podcast, similar to URP discussed above, but with a focus on running east of the Mississippi.  I like host Ryan but co-host Sean is potentially the most annoying person east of the Mississippi.  He talks a lot of smack (including about other podcasts) and brags about how much he drinks (that stopped being cool when we all turned 19, Sean).  Oh, and he thinks he’s hardcore because he goes to races unprepared.  This one used to be a must-listen, but the schtick is getting old.  NSFW or children.
  • ** The First 40 Miles.  This podcast is about backpacking and camping, hosted by a nice couple.  Good practical tips for beginning backpackers, although — like a backpack — sometimes less useful stuff gets in there too.  Ignore Heather’s kindergarten teacher voice in the beginning of each episode — it usually subsides once she is unscripted.
  • ** Human Race.  The other podcast from Runner’s World, which focuses on a single story each episode.  Stories are usually pretty interesting.  I skip the ones that seem to0 sappy.
  • ** The Dirtbag Diaries.  A podcast about outdoor adventures of all varieties.  Short episodes.
  • ** Trail Talk.  This is a trail and ultra-focused podcast from one of my faves, Rock Creek Runner Doug Hay, who also participates in the No Meat Athlete Radio podcast.  Shorter episodes with varying degrees of usefulness.
  • *1/2 Run to the Top.  Thanks janerunswild for the suggestion!  This podcast is hosted by Tina Muir, an elite runner originally from England and now living in the U.S.  Lots of different topics covered relating to running, including some episodes with great guests.  (Update November 2016: This podcast got a little annoying for me, so I haven’t been listening as much.)
  • *1/2 The Marathon Show.  Basically, this podcast covers a bunch of different topics related to marathons, but most episodes seem to cover specific races (less interesting to me unless it is a race I’m running).  I started with an episode about the growth of marathons and slower runners.  It included a chat with Wall Street Journal reporter Kevin Helliker (who wrote this and sounds like little bit of a douche a times) got me through six easy miles.
  • *1/2 Approaching the Natural.  Hosted by distance runner and nutritionist Sid Garza-Hillman.  Sid has a great attitude and I really like his small steps philosophy and his ideas about restriction, guilt, goals, etc.  That said, the podcast could be better organized and more coherent.  Note that this podcast is really about Sid’s philosophy, and less about specific tips for running or nutrition.  It has more of a self-help/self-improvement vibe to it.
  • *1/2  Structural Performance Podcast.  Manny Aragon from The Rolf Workshop Center for Structural Performance shares biomechanics, nutrition, wellness, and athletic performance advice.  (“Rolfing” Structural Integration — which Manny practices — is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body.)  I’ve found this one to be hit-or-miss.  Manny says some things that sounds pretty accurate and informative, but on other topics, this can veer into quacky.  Oh, and I recommend skipping the first few minutes of every episode… it’s sort of rambling and usually less interesting than the rest of the episode.
  • *1/2 Greater Good Podcast.  This podcast from the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley appears to be off-air.  I listened to a couple of episodes (Myths of Happiness and Sex, George Clooney, and Other Pleasures) and it was just OK.
  • The Rich Roll Podcast.  From vegan endurance athlete Rich Roll.  Some interesting topics but ultimately a bit too quacky for me.
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness.  From triathlete Ben Greenfield.  As I set out for my run, I scrolled through the episodes for this one and wasn’t blown away by the topics.  Unless someone tells me this is a must-listen, I’m skipping it for now.
  • Bulletproof Radio.  Super quacky.  These guys are essentially pushing a ton of supplements as the solution to all of life’s problems (“biohacking”).  Drink your Soylent while you listen?   No, thanks.
  • Modern Farm Girls.  Recommended by Katy Bowman from Katy Says.  I listened and … No, thanks.  These women are paleo, which is totally fine.  But in the first episode I listened to they were… more than dismissive… let’s say “hostile” to “the vegans” — that monolithic group of illogical wackos who apparently accost the Modern Farm Girls at public events and who are, without a doubt, “going to get sick and will have to start eating meat again.”  I’m not a vegan but lumping all vegans together and making an absurd judgment about their health isn’t really opening my mind or enriching my knowledge in the way I had hoped this podcast might.  So I’m moving on.
  • The Gait Guys.  I was interested in expanding my biomechanics knowledge but found this podcast pretty difficult to follow if you aren’t a PT or don’t have a background in anatomy or biomechanics.  I think it’s aimed more at professionals.
  • N/R I’ll Have Another.  Not to be confused with the race horse.   Hosted by runner Lindsey Hein, this podcast focuses on women’s lifestyle and running.
  • N/R She Explores.  A newer podcast about women adventuring.
  • N/R TrailManners.  Another trail running postcast, hosted by dudes who run in Utah.

Business, Technology, Science, Law, and News

  • *** Serial.  Obviously.  The first season focuses on the guilt/innocence of convicted murder Adnan Syed.  The second season focuses on Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl — less compelling but still interesting.
  • *** This American Life.  The classic.  Lots of different topics.  Pick your poison.  Very high production quality.
  • *** Radiolab.  Similar to This American Life.
  • *** 99% Invisible.  In the spirit of random discovery pioneered by This American Life, 99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.
  • *** More Perfect.  A better law-related option than Amicus, IMHO.  From the makers of Radiolab.
  • **1/2 Planet Money.  Maybe I’ll learn something that will enable me to quit my job and play outside all day instead?
  • *Amicus.   I’m a lawyer until Planet Money changes that, but I don’t love this podcast.  Maybe I am too jaded?
  • N/R TED Radio Hour.  Thanks hungrytwenties for the suggestion!  Each episode pieces together clips from different TED Talks that relate to a single topic.
  • N/R Invisibilia.  NPR podcast.  Recommended by Dani Hemmat from Katy Says.

Literature, Arts, Comedy, and Advice

  • ** Dear Sugar Radio.  Because – true confessions- I LOVE ADVICE COLUMNS.  Also, Cheryl Strayed. I liked this one.  Cheryl and Steve are so smart, candid, and well-spoken.  GREAT episode about weight and relationships.  I listened to five episodes in a row on my long run and it got a bit tedious, so you might do an episode or two of this one and then jump to something else.
  • ** The Moth.  Short stories told by performers and amateurs.  All different topics and tones.
  • Wait… Wait Don’t Tell Me.  This was recommended by Runner’s World AND Daily Burn and is described as an “NPR quiz show.”  Allegedly funny.  I tried out a couple of episodes and I just don’t get this one.  Maybe I’ll circle back later.

Here they are saved in the queue in Overcast:

IMG_8654

Anything I should check out once I finish this list???  Would you rather listen to running and fitness podcasts while running, or podcasts about completely separate topics?  Other than podcasts, what do you do to occupy your mind during long runs or workouts?  (See, this is like my own little advice column, where I ask all the questions!)

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