Every other day I run five kilometres. Sometimes I run ten kilometres but, when I do, I wish I was only running five. As I run, I imagine the days when I used to run 21 kilometres but I am only really writing that because I want to let you know that, before all of this, I used to run half marathons before work. And I am only writing that to remind myself that, before all of this, I used to work.
My five kilometre runs have changed in recent times. One reason is that, having moved out of my parents’ home, my once flat and delightful route has been replaced by a five kilometres whereby one and a half of those now takes place on a heinous incline that is equally as painful whether I push for a personal best or I take it easy. Why is that?!
Another reason is that we are currently navigating our way through a pandemic. Choosing to go out for a five kilometre run is now a live action whack-a-mole. The young and old pop out of gates, corners and car doors, only now the objective is to stop in your tracks, eyes wide, apologising profusely that you nearly invaded their two metre space, instead of pushing them back into the gates, corners and cars they came from. But I only found out the latter when my mum told me it’s not okay to pack your novelty mallet for a jog.
Just five weeks ago I was humbly lifting my hand, fingers tight together to signify to the incoming Possible Covid Carrier that I am happy to take on the burden of crossing the road. I was confident that I would only need to briefly look left and right before I could switch sides, potentially saving one of us from this dreadful virus.
Now, however, my chest is heavy and my heart rate quickened when faced with the imminent need to cross the road. My route is outlined by main roads and at least six cars will have driven by as I look, frantically, from left to right, trying to keep my feet moving beneath me. By the time I am able to step out into the road, it’s too late, and I utter a meek ‘sorry’, with my eyes, holding my breath with a tight smile.
Running in this climate can be pretty stressful but there are wholesome moments to be found; admiring dogs that aren’t phased by social distancing and saying ‘Thanks!” to couples who cross the road before I can obnoxiously assume it’s, yet again, my duty to step into the road. And whilst I am pretty sure my family and friends are playing a drinking game – ‘take a shot every time she recommends a podcast’ –, my absolute favourite part of any five kilometre run is the podcast that plays in my ears. So mum, line up the tequila; below I have compiled a list of podcasts that are generally 25-35 minutes long and therefore, for me, a perfect 5k companion.
My five kilometres podcast picks
- About Race: A very relevant podcast, both now and until racism is eradicated and replaced with education. About Race is a podcast from Reni Eddo-Lodge (author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race) where she explores voices from recent anti-racist activism.
- The Runner’s World UK Podcast: A podcast that varies in length; where the hosts discuss running and share running news and interviews. I like to think I look like I could be on the cover of their magazines as I run with their podcast in my ears but I have been told this is not the case.
- Costing the Earth: This BBC Radio 4 podcast covers all things that strive towards a cleaner and greener planet. As someone who never feels informed enough on environmental issues, I find this a really useful resource, especially when it comes to current environmental hot topics.
- Bryony Gordon’s Mad World: The Telegraph podcast where hilarious and honest journalist and writer, Bryony Gordon, interviews celebrities and asks how they really are.
- Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything: A podcast that begun near the start of the UK’s lockdown where Katherine Ryan gives us 30-minute podcasts that discuss topics such as pregnancy loss and cancel culture.
- Desert Island Discs: The BBC Radio 4 podcast where guests share eight tracks, a book and a luxury item to make up what they would take to a desert island.
*Considers running more ten kilometre runs just so I can hide a bunch more podcast recommendations in a post that looks like it’s about running.*