The winter months may be a challenge for training, but watching a new show or listening to a podcast can make life easier for you while running or biking indoors. Check out these five shows and five podcasts to spice up your training routine and distract you from the stationary cycle and the “dreadmill.”
The Great British Baking Show (Netflix, Prime Video)
While watching someone bake might seem like a slow and lackluster way to spend your time, The Great British Baking Show has captivated audiences for 10 seasons with its sweet surprises and witty contestants. The show follows a group of amateur bakers who face off in a 10-week challenge, each hoping to come out on top and be named the best in the U.K. You’ll fall in love with the bakers and judges, and your heart will break for those sent home. What may be the best part, however, is the calm and gentle sensation that washes over you while watching — the experience is like getting a warm hug or being wrapped in a blanket, leaving you feeling both energized and refreshed after training.
A heads up: you might turn into an amateur baker yourself, and the show will definitely leave you craving sweet treats and warm milk. But after running that hard on the treadmill, you deserve sweet treats!
Black Mirror (Netflix)
Each episode of Black Mirror is a different, single story with new characters and a new plot. Every episode follows the theme of modern or near-future technology, and each story is unsettling in its own way. The shocking twists and turns will leave your head spinning, questioning everything that happened, but curious about what other thought-provoking episodes lie in wait. The series has five seasons, each with multiple episodes, so you can pick and choose what journey to take — some are more alarming than others. You can watch every single episode one by one, if you’re into that, or you can only watch one and then run and hide in your closet for the rest of your life. Season 3, Episode 4 may be a good place to start, with a more lighthearted and less off-putting plot that will introduce you to the world-building of Black Mirror. The show might make you angry, or sad, or scared for the future, but trust me, your wheels will keep spinning until it’s over.
A heads up: this show may leave you staring blankly at the TV when all is said and done.
Gilmore Girls (Netflix, Prime Video, Philo)
An oldie but a goodie, Gilmore Girls is a classic feel good show that will make you laugh and sometimes leave you feeling hungry. The mother-daughter duo is unlike any other, the pair drinking an average of 20 cups of coffee a day, while talking a mile a minute and always getting themselves into all sorts of shenanigans. Undeniably themselves, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore navigate friendships, family drama, town meetings, and love. The original seven seasons spanned across Rory’s high school and college experience, and were praised for their witty dialogue and successful mix of humor and drama. The return, a four-part series on Netflix titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, follows the women 10 years after the show last left off and doesn’t miss a beat.
A heads up: this show may lead to excessive coffee drinking and sarcasm.
The Blacklist (Netflix, NBC, Prime Video)
Looking for a crime show with never-ending plot twists? Look no further because The Blacklist has you covered. When Raymond Reddington, No. 1 on the FBI’s most wanted list, turns himself in, he becomes part of the FBI team. He leads the FBI to wanted criminals, but always has his own secret agenda in doing so. It’s not long before little truths are uncovered, and a web of unbelievable connections is revealed — but the truths aren’t always what they seem. Full of twists and turns, crime and arrest, action and drama, The Blacklist is a top tier series that will always leave you wanting more.
A heads up: you may find yourself questioning your morals and rooting for the bad guy when you get off the bike to pop some popcorn for the next episode.
Dead to Me (Netflix)
If you need a little dark humor in your life, Dead to Me will give you that uncomfortable darkness fix. The show follows Jen, slightly aggressive and overly sarcastic, and Judy, gentle and compassionate, down a twisted road of friendship. Jen is mourning her husband’s death when she befriends Judy at a support group, and the two women bond over wine and pity casseroles. The show is a perfect blend of humor, drama, and emotions — leaving you laughing at how shocking it is. It isn’t long before you realize everything is not as it seems, and it will take every ounce of will power to not binge-watch it all at once.
A heads up: cliff-hangers may be the death of you, but then again, you’re already Dead to Me.
Running for Real (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play)
Thoughtful, genuine, and down to earth, Tina Muir tackles a wide range of topics pertinent to running, focusing on the reality of the life of a runner. Her guests bring a variety of stories, expertise and perspective to the sport, helping motivate and focus runners on long term running goals. Tina tells an inspirational story, and aims to give her audience a takeaway — something they can use to become a better runner and person. The podcast, supporting with its name, intends to show the world of runners not only the highs and the dreams come true, but the nitty gritty realness of being human.
A heads up: forgiveness may find its way into your heart after a missed workout.
Crime Junkie (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Megaphone)
Crime Junkie is a podcast committed to giving you a weekly dose of true crime. Each episode is dedicated to its own case, uniquely its own story, and is always told with tickling suspense. If you can’t get your crime fix from Netflix, this podcast will give you more than you need. Even if you are running full speed on the treadmill, you will feel as though you are telling scary stories around a campfire with your friends. Intimate but ill-fated, these stories only get better. Get ready for the goosebumps.
A heads up: this may lead to you yourself becoming a crime junkie – it will always leave you wanting more.
Crushing Iron (Apple Podcasts)
If you need guidance, or even just some simple motivation from your everyday triathlete, Mike and Robbie have you covered. Twice a week, they give direct, honest advice about the ups and downs of the multisport lifestyle. They are positive but opinionated, fun but informative, and just simply relatable. Discussion of race prep, the podium, and all the day-to-day concerns of the amateur triathlete are laid out on the table, picked apart, and put back together with laughter and authenticity. Maybe all you need is a goofy amateur and a bearded expert to tell you you can do it.
A heads up: this podcast can help athletes of all skill levels improve with pleasure — though the sport can be spiteful, you can fight back with emotional stability.
Armchair Expert (Apple Podcasts, Spotify)
Dax Shepard claims not to be an expert on anything. He has a fascination with “the messiness of being human,” and his podcast is a deep conversation with a dash of humor. Honest and heartwarming, listening to Dax talk feels like listening to an old friend. He has on every different kind of person: actors, journalists, athletes, pro football coaches, and people involved in politics and religion. Each person looks into who they are and what made them that way in a fascinating and open conversation. Vulnerability and honesty drive the conversation, and it makes running on the treadmill a lighthearted and enlightening experience.
A heads up: a new armchair may find its way into your living room for conversations such as these.
Humans of Triathlon (Apple Podcasts, Spotify)
Athletes from around the world are presented in this podcast as “ordinary people with extraordinary passion.” The aim is to inspire the rest of the humans who are immersed in the sport, hosted by three former triathletes from three different continents. Different backgrounds and age groups separate the hosts and guests, but their real and genuine stories unite them and inspire every triathlete to dig for their passion. The show highlights diversity and inclusion and attacks every circumstance from logistics to bullying to big life changes head on and without fear. It’s a celebration of sport and athlete — but mostly of the humans who share in the reality of it.
A heads up: this one can be a real tear jerker; you might want to keep the tissues near the trainer.