Our favorite jogging podcasts

I will start off by admitting that it was very hard to not write “jogcasts” instead of “jogging podcasts” in the title – the duck had some serious convincing to do. With that out of the way, let’s get to the actual post:
Two weeks ago, the duck and I credited the power of our running podcasts for our uncharacteristic endurance in completing our slow jogs.

Today, we want to share a list of our top five fiction podcasts that have kept us engaged distracted enough to not give up in the middle of a jog. Maybe there are one or two among them that you’d like to listen to yourself. Be it to accompany your most dreaded* exercise or your chores, daily commutes, relaxing sessions, or anything in between:

The duck and my top five fiction podcasts for distracting us from how unfit we are

After graduating to jogging without walking breaks, the duck and I started listening to fiction podcasts to distract us from all those times our lazy brains tell us to just stop and, ideally, teleport straight into bed. In general, we listen to various genres of fiction and non-fiction podcasts. When it comes to the podcasts we listen to on our jogs, we are a bit more specific. We need something that’s engaging enough to keep us going. Engaging not in the When Harry met Sally… way, but: When Harry dashed down the stairs mere seconds before the building exploded, he realized he had to fight a crime syndicate to clear his name in Sally’s murder… When we select our running podcasts, the duck and I tend to choose dark or murdery ones because they seem the most immersive and engaging. Therefore, I will precede our list with a warning that most of the podcasts mentioned deal with topics and scenarios that are for mature listeners only:

#5 LifeAfter/The Message
Strictly speaking, The Message and Lif-e.af/ter are two separate stories set in the same world. The Message deals with a mysterious alien transmission and its effects on the cryptologists that try to decipher it, told through the recordings of a podcaster. Lif-e.af/ter follows an FBI clerk who mourns for his deceased wife by obsessively listening to her social media voice recordings. When he faces the deactivation of her profile, he finds himself involved in a mysterious and dangerous plot.
It took the duck and me a while to get involved enough to forget how much we dread jogging, especially because both seasons of the podcast are a bit slow at times. A few episodes into The Message, the duck and I started to wonder how the story would unfold. Lif-e.af/ter, however, had us hooked once the plot became more sinister and is the reason this podcast as a whole made it onto our top five list.

#4 From Now
In 2060, a spaceship deemed lost 35 years ago returns to earth. The only surviving crew member looks like he did 35 years ago and claims he was only gone for a few hours. What begins as a simple reunion with his identical twin brother, who is now an old man, turns into a dark and dangerous journey to solve the mystery surrounding the spaceship’s dis- and reappearance.
The duck and I picked From Now for the space travel aspect (which is funny because thinking about space too deeply has made me physically sick in the past). We stayed for the world that is built within this dramatic podcast. The pace could be a bit faster (solely from a distraction-from-jogging standpoint), but overall, we enjoyed listening to how the story around the dissimilar identical twins unfolds.

#3 Children of the Stones
This adaptation of the 1977 British children’s TV drama of the same name follows young Mia, who is forced to move to the village of Milbury when her dad gets a job researching the local stone circle. For her science podcast, Mia, together with her new friends, also recent newcomers to the village, investigates the locals’ mysterious mannerisms and soon finds out about Milbury’s unsettling history.
The duck and I had not heard of the TV series before listening to this, but we can imagine it’s just as weird and creepy as the podcast based on it. Even though it is slower than From NowChildren of the Stones and its enchanting soundscape kept us immersed enough to forget our surroundings for a while. It’s good that we never jog at night and that we’re not actual children because this podcast would have had the potential to feed at least a decade of nightmares.

#2 Blackout
Blackout follows a radio DJ and his family as they fight for survival in the chaos that ensues when the small town they live in experiences a mysterious power outage that turns out to be a permanent nationwide blackout.
Out of the podcasts in our top-five list, this was the first one the duck and I listened to. Coincidentally, we listened to the beginning of the first season around the same time of year it is set in, which made for an extra immersive listening experience. The blend of action, thriller, and mystery elements and the generally swift pace of Blackout is just what the duck and I are looking for in a jogging podcast. We particularly like the radio broadcast element in the first season.

#1 The Cipher
The Cipher follows 16-year-old Sabrina, who becomes obsessed with a cryptic online puzzle that initiates a mysterious journey to find a murderer and the truth about herself.
This podcast is one of our more recent discoveries. Honestly, the duck and I were surprised at how much we love this as a running podcast. The story is intriguing, and the pacing perfectly fits our jogging needs. But I think it’s how you learn new information, wondering what to believe, together with Sabrina, that makes this such a fun (and disturbing!) experience. There are quite a few unexpected turns in this (especially for our jogging brains); we must have been a delightful (or scary) sight, scrambling up a hill and mouthing “no, they didn’t” in disbelief on numerous occasions.

But wait! There’s more!

While these are our five favorite podcasts that we’ve listened to while jogging, there are two more that deserve an honorable mention:

Bonus: The Walk
In The Walk, you are mistakenly tasked with delivering a mysterious package. When an electromagnetic pulse stops all traffic, you must complete the journey from Inverness to Edinburgh on foot without being detected. Through an earpiece, you stay in contact with Charlie, your operator, who helps you navigate your mission.
The duck and I thought a fiction podcast where you, the listener, are the protagonist who has to walk a great distance to deliver a mysterious box would be perfect for beginning our running adventure. But, somehow, we found it a bit hard to stay engaged throughout. I’m not sure if it’s because we listened to The Walk when we had just started jogging (and were suffering even more than we are now) or the pacing that made us zone out from time to time. It just wasn’t as distracting as we had hoped it would be. The duck and I still love The Walk, especially the setting and the being in the story, and we’re glad that it accompanied us for the first few months of our jogging journey.

Bonusbonus: The Truth
The Truth is an anthology fiction podcast that features beautifully produced audio short stories of various genres.
The duck and I actually started listening to The Truth back when we would observe joggers through our bedroom window, and think it would be cool if we could run for just ten seconds. Some of the episodes we listened to back then took us on an adventure even though we were standing at our window, inside a crowded train, strolling around the neighborhood, or lying in bed. Because of that, the duck and I have made it a habit to start off our lengthiest jog of the week with a new episode of The Truth whenever there is one. Most of the stories are self-contained, so we never know how well they will work for our jogging purposes (therefore, we didn’t put The Truth in our actual top five). There hasn’t been an episode that didn’t at least create a refreshing change of mental scenery after having jogged to the same podcast throughout the week.

Of course, this list only considers the podcasts the duck and I have listened to in the past year. We regularly add new running podcasts to our podcast machine, so we might compose a part two once we have collected enough new favorites (if we manage to keep up our jogging habit, that is).
We hope this list gave you a few ideas or simply a starting point for finding some fiction podcasts you might want to listen to.
Do you have a favorite fiction podcast or audio drama?

*P.S.: Even though I write about suffering and dread a lot, the duck and I actually get excited before most jogs. It’s usually midway that our feelings drastically change. So, I guess you could describe our relationship with jogging as love-hate.

5 thoughts on “Our favorite jogging podcasts

  1. Nope, Not Pam says:

    I never knew there was such a variety of podcasts. I’ve always avoided them because I thought they were all about others telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. I might give one of these a try. Thanks for the suggestions 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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