- General

The Problem With Listening to Podcast Lectures While Working Out

As a long distance cyclist I know I can go on a 150-mile ride and listen to 13-14 hours of lectures, which is about how much space my iPod holds. Indeed, I have to listen to the lectures which do not have video because that eats up the amount of play time the device can maintain – remember I need the full 13+ hours to finish my ride. Yes, I have a small back up iPod but it only has music on it, which is good to finish up with in the last 50-miles anyway, but that time one is half bonked especially if there are lots of hills to travel over.

When running a 50K workout (31 miles) the lectures will have you clicking by the hours without feeling all the pain, and that is a good thing. Well, truth be told, it’s not all-good. Let me explain some of the draw backs to listening to lectures while doing endurance workouts or races, I have three main gripes:

1. Lead-In
2. Monotone
3. Paying Attention
4. No Visual Aids to Look At

First, the lead-in, this is where they introduce the guest speaker, many traveling lecture series, and really those are often the best, spend the first 5-10 minutes introducing the academic institution, then the provost, then the speaker and his or her long resume. Come on already, just give me the information and a shortened Bio of the speaker, that shouldn’t take more than a minute or more.

Second, some speakers have heavy accents and while you are running it makes it tough to follow along, nothing wrong with foreigners who have the knowledge base, just that it is difficult to understand them and you don’t know until you start. If you can’t listen you have to stop and skip to another lecture, which breaks your rhythm.

Third, sometimes the topics, for instance quantum physics is hard to follow and pay attention, remember when trail running you have to watch for rocks in your path, cadence and pay attention to the trail so you don’t face-plant, ouch.

Lastly, when listening to lectures on an iPod without video, often the speakers reference power points, short videos and pictures, pictures that you cannot see, and obviously cannot look at while cycling at 22-25 mph, and you certainly cannot look at anything but the trail on a trail run – face-plant!

It’s best to try to find speakers who talk in pictures and use few visual ques. Ted Talks are good for this, so too are authors giving speeches or book review talks. Please consider all this and think on it.