Many runners and triathletes use music, audio books, podcasts, or other audible media to help them through their workouts. These can provide a necessary distraction from the drudgery of long workouts. For some reason though, I actually don't use them at all. For a long while now, probably several years, I stopped using headphones. It may have been in part because they are actually banned from triathlon events for safety reasons (seriously, don't wear headphones while you are riding your bike), but I just haven't really needed them. Instead, I consume my podcasts when driving in the car, while washing dishes, and during low-intensity stretching.

I'm relatively new to the podcast game, but I've gravitated toward a few select podcasts that I wanted to share. These recommendations are all (but one!) fitness- and triathlon-focused, and I've found they help me stay motivated, focus on racing and the sport of triathlon, and, in the case of Purple Patches, think about the bigger picture of balance in life.

Triathlon Taren Podcast

Triathlon Taren (as he's affectionately known) is a Canadian former professional curler, and a social-media consultant turned "amateur" triathlete. I put amateur in quotes because the sport of triathlon really is his job, though he focuses on producing YouTube videos and a weekly podcast about the sport, rather than winning on the world stage. I initially found his stuff on YouTube while training for triathlons last summer. I was looking for tips and tricks for swimming and biking. Since then, he has been the number-one way I get most of my triathlon news and follow what professional triathletes are up to.

Each week he produces a podcast with his wife, NTK (No Triathlon Kim). They interview professional athletes and industry professionals, as well as some age-group triathletes with awesome stories. They also discuss interesting topics such as female representation in the sport. I highly recommend this podcast because they are enjoyable to listen to and are pretty relatable.

Purple Patch

Purple Patch podcast comes from coach Matt Dixon, who is one of the top triathlon coaches in the world. He has several athletes in his system who have won half Ironman and Ironman races. Dixon's approach is all about finding balance, being consistent, and avoiding fatigue by listening to your body.

His podcast can initially come across as a little bit self-help-y, but the message he brings to the table has helped me pump the brakes, focus on the details, and get my consistency back, all while trying to balance training as a "time-starved athlete," which he argues is most of the people taking on triathlons.

Tower 26: "Be Race Ready"

Tower 26 from coaches Gerry Rodrigues and Jim Lubinski is a swim-focused triathlon podcast that discusses everything from proper swim technique to strategies for training. They also interview a number of triathletes. This is where I first learned that chef Gordon Ramsay is a triathlete and marathon runner.

What I like about this podcast is that it is swim focused, so they break down certain aspects of the swim. For instance, episodes have covered why they use percent effort in their workouts and how that's helpful for a coach to vary up a swimmer's perceived effort level.

Global Triathlon Network (GTN) and Global Cycling Network (GCN)

While not a podcast, I'm a huge fan of the GTN and GCN YouTube channels. These two channels combined cover nearly everything you need to know about triathlon and cycling. Videos vary in length, but the content is always high quality. They break down swim techniques, cycling techniques, tech reviews, race etiquette, and many other topics. They also produce nearly daily content, so there is always a new video to watch. The presenters are also accomplished athletes in their own right, having completed at the professional or Olympic level.

There you have it! My current list of podcasts and YouTube channels I am currently watching on a consistent basis. For some non-fitness-related media that I often listen to, some of our favorites are:

  • Lexicon Valley: a podcast about words
  • Gastropod: a podcast about different foods and their science and history
  • Savor: another food podcast (we love food)
  • Make Me Smart: a Public Radio International podcast with Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood
  • Grammar Girl: Because Ellie's an editor and we both love words