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Updated on July 30, 2012
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Read While You Run

I do not run with scissors, but I do try to run with a book.

I have 5 little kids ranging from 7 to 2. I like to think I have time to read. It is difficult to balance the free time that I do have. Do I go to the store? Do I go to the gym? Do I clean?

A few years ago, Twilight was all the rage. All my friends were talking about how amazing this series was. I wanted to read it as well, but at the time, the kids were 4 and 3. I was not willing to give up what I was doing with my free time. I had 4 kids in 17 months. I like to think I am very efficient. Now, I needed to figure out how to get more efficient use of my free time hours.

At this time, I was running distance. Nothing significant but I might do an hour long run or interval jog/walk. I have a friend who calls this her ‘wog’. Was this an hour I could spend reading? Exercise was my stress reliever. I was not giving that up.

I found allowing me to download from over 100,000 titles to nearly all electronic devices.

While you can listen to books at any time, I have chosen to listen to them while I run.

Running And Listening To Twilight

I signed up for a trial membership and got my first book free. There are various membership rates including a basic package, $7.49 per month for the first 3 months, thereafter $14.95 per month. This package gives you one credit per month. One credit gives you, in most cases, one book regardless of list price.

I picked Twilight as my first book. I figured this was going to be my 'trial run' to see how well I could mesh my need to run and my desire to read. I downloaded to my Itouch and I hit the road. Within the Audible app, you can adjust the narration speed to 1/2 x, 1 x, 1 1/2 x, or 2x. I felt like Goldilocks! The normal talking rate, 1 x, was almost too slow for my run. 2 x was difficult to follow. 1½ x times was just right.

Twilight was a 13 hour book. I took off and found that I was not paying attention to my run at all. I maintained a comfortable pace, but my mind was not paying attention that I was only on mile 1. In fact, I never got bored.

My runs are usually cut short due to boredom and failure to maintain a good pace. The fact that the book was set at a constant narration rate, my pace was set. The fact that I was following a story instead of listening to a song for the 100th time my attention was displaced.

My Running Distance Increased

I was really getting into the book. I found that I wanted to run more to ‘read’ more of my book. I was extending runs to finish chapters. I was getting to the end of a chapter and debating on just one more. As a result, I was getting thru the book faster and I was getting more exercise.

Public Library

I mentioned my new method of killing 2 birds with one stone to a friend of mine. She said, “Why aren’t you just using the library?” The Library does have numerous audio books available via Overdrive. Consider checking out your local library’s website to see what digital downloads are available. This is an excellent, free alterative to

I however, decided that I was more interested in immediate, new releases and kept using Audible. Even though I was choosing to pay for my books, I was very excited at my increased productivity! I went from thinking about running to being very excited for my next read/run. On a rainy day, I would utilize the gym and just hit the track or treadmill.

My Library

I completed the rest of the Twilight series by running and reading. It was a 'run' down memory lane reviewing the titles in my Audible account. I recall finishing Angel and Demons by Dan Brown on a beach run during vacation after weeks and miles invested. A neighbor suggested Eat, Pray, Love by Liz Gilbert. I downloaded it and then hit the pavement. I told her a few days later that I was done and enjoyed it. She asked me, “How do you have time for reading? I see you with your kids or running/walking.” I replied, “I read when I run!” A niece suggested Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. By the end I wouldn’t stop running until I found out what happened. This was a lengthy book and I might have needed new shoes after that read. I had forgotten about The Help, The Ape House, The Nazi Officer’s Wife and multiple Jodi Piccoult books. This method has really clicked for me!


But, I will warn you. Be careful when choosing your books. I personally find Chelsea Handler hilarious. Steven Colbert is intelligent/ funny and I enjoy him as well. Sometimes they just makes me laugh out loud. Running and laughing can be viewed as odd to the cars passing by. Additionally, it can be counterproductive when you fall over with a cramp.

Taking Some Time Off From Running

I go through running spurts. I prefer to run outside and usually take a hiatus during winter. Changing up work out routines is great for both body and mind. Running is so mental and this break ends up making me eager to start back up.

I have followed the tradition this year and have spent more time at the gym. The pool will open in a few months and the kids having swim lessons. Unfortunately, I am not sure my gym time will stay the same. I might pick running back up.

Because I have taken a running break, I have cancelled my audible account. Pretty sure I will be signing up for that again. There are so many good books out there that I am ready to read. I have tried to run to music and it works for 2 miles. When I get back into my distance groove, audible books really are my saving grace.

Audible Books and Out The Door

A friend just sent me a .pdf with her book club’s calendar for the year. It is The List by Martin Fletcher. It is a 14 hour book and available on Could this be my next download? If I set my app setting to 1½ x and bust out my shoes, I will be done with that book in just over a week. Short season is coming up, too!

Time to get my athlete legs back!

Wish me luck!

© 2012 Karen Lackey

Do you listen to audio books?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Simply wish to say your article is as hnsisotaing. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Kiwi Max. I suggest a pillow and a book! Happy running!

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Twinstimes,

      This is a great idea! I have to take the bus to Uni and that takes about an hour in a half. So 3 hours a day I sit on the bus and stare out the window.

      I thought about brining a pillow, but an audio book sounds just as good now :)

      P.S. Loved the opening line haha

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for reading again, Michele. Even if you don't run, I feel like listening to books helps me save time. Thanks, too, for the vote up!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      OK, I voted no, because I had never thought of doing this before, but it is a great idea! voted up!!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Walking is a perfect use as well! Glad you found that part of it funny. I laughed writing it! Best of luck and thanks for reading!

    • hecate-horus profile image


      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      I think I may do this while walking. I LOL'd when I read the part about laughing and running and the odd looks you might get! Voted up and useful.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for reading, bdegiulio. It absolutely makes me run longer and takes my mind off of it. Try it out!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a great idea. Never considered that I could "read" while I run. I'll have to give it a try sometime. Bet it makes you longer and takes your mind off of the running?



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