I have found that audiobooks are a great way to pass the time and keep the brain engaged during long runs. In an hour long run you can get through several chapters of a book that otherwise would have gone unread. I love reading, but with my training regime I am not getting enough reading in.
I alternate between easy to listen to fiction and more engaging non-fiction. The last book I finished was a historical treatise on the forming of Kurdistan. It actually was very easy to follow and didn’t seem too long if you’re into that sort of thing. I know there aren’t many like me out there that like this sort of reading.
Now I’m listening to Nelson Mandela’s autobiography which is very long and detailed. The problem with audiobooks is that when you are browsing for them, you do not get an idea of how long a book is. I have listened to 9 hours now, and I still have 11 hours to go. It takes much longer to listen to a book than to actually read it. If I had seen this book on a shelf in a library, I likely would not have dared pick it up – it is over 650 pages long. Luckily many audiobooks are abridged versions.
Our local library has thousands of books that I can download so I am set for many years (and many ultra-marathons) to come.
Running long hours means being inside my own head for much of the time. Getting out of that and into something engaging helps me pass the hours.
But if I need to push the pace, or need a tempo run, audiobooks are not the solution. Focus on the effort is more important then.