Image by Oliver Lavery via FlickrMy Ipod Nano is an essential companion on my training runs (I generally don't use it in races), and I love mixing up what I listen to from day to day. Besides music, I often listen to free podcasts downloaded from Itunes (Phedippidations, Fitness Rocks, This American Life, and NPR Science Friday are some of my favorites), as well as audiobooks. Nothing passes time on a long run as well as a good audiobook, and part of my reason for writing this post is to point out that Audible, Itunes, and Amazon are not the only places to get digital audiobooks. If you haven't already done so, check your town's public library website - they often have a site for downloadable audiobooks that are free if you have a library card number. The selection is not as large as you might find on Audible (it's still pretty good), but I have access to enough that I haven't had to buy an audiobook in quite some time. This is a great service (free is always good, especially since audiobooks are expensive), and one that I don't think many people know about. So check in with your library and see if they subscribe to one of these digital services. The one hitch is that some of the file formats are not Ipod compatible, but with a bit of creative Googling you can find file converting workarounds for this (my librarian actually suggested this to me!).
The other source I've been pulling audio from a lot lately is the NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered Podcast. You can find this on Itunes, and the podcast features free live concerts from a whole range of bands. For example, I downloaded recent shows from Neko Case and The Decemberists, the former of which got me through the first half of my 20-mile run today (Neko Case is incredible!). Below are some links to my favorite live shows from NPR:
Neko Case: Middle Cyclone Tour (4/10/09)
Neko Case Live from Disney Hall (11/21/07)
The Decemberists: Hazards of Love Tour (3/19/2009)
Radiohead: In Rainbows Tour
Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (5/10/2007)
The National Live (6/20/2007)
There are now 100+ concerts posted on Itunes - check it out and I'm sure there will be something that you like. You can also visit the NPR All Songs Considered Live Concert Page for more info and downloadable music.
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