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14 best long-format podcasts to listen to when working out

By Lily Valette 24 June 2024

Header image courtesy of juan pablo rodriguez (via Unsplash)

Picture this: You’re setting off on a run or a hike, getting warmed up for a particularly long session at the gym, or about to get your 10,000 steps in for the day, and you’re in desperate need of a good podcast to either motivate or distract you. You open your audio-streaming app and are faced with endless options of podcasts to choose from. For those one-hour-long workouts, here are some of the best long-format podcasts to listen to.

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Photo: Monocle (via Spotify)

The Globalist

The Globalist is a weekday one-hour news podcast suitable for listeners who struggle to stay on top of current affairs. Helping to complete the quick, continuous flow of information we are faced with on social media with more substance, The Globalist delves deeper into the whys and wherefores of international events. Although it is London-based, the hosts and editors offer a diverse worldwide perspective. In each episode, you can expect a quick overview of the global news, deep dives into three to four subject matters, a review of European journal front pages, and the input of journalists posted around the world.

Photo: The Guardian (via Spotify)

The Audio Long Read by The Guardian

Finding time to read in this fast-paced world can be arduous, and when it comes to reading the news, don’t you sometimes wish someone could just do it for you? Well, The Guardian has answered your wish with The Audio Long Read podcast. Each episode consists of one long article that falls under culture, politics, and new thinking. With episodes going up to 55 minutes in length, you can expect thorough analyses, and the readers deliver each story so that it loses none of its impact. The Audio Long Read makes you feel well-read.


Photo: Earwolf (via Spotify)

How Did This Get Made?

On How Did This Get Made, the hosts break down the worst movies ever made. It is undoubtably one of the funniest podcasts on this list. During a long workout, we often feel that laugh-out-loud entertainment helps with motivation, and it makes time fly by, too! Beware if you are on a run or a hike outside—you will burst out laughing when you hear Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas’s hilarious bad-movie-watching podcast where they ask themselves: “How did this get made?”

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Photo: The Complete Works (via Spotify)

The Complete Works

The Complete Works is a multi-season podcast examining an actor’s entire filmography, one movie at a time, in chronological order. Nicolas Cage, Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Yeoh, and Roy Scheider’s anthologies are examined with a fine-tooth comb. As these actors have had lengthy careers, it gives the hosts of The Complete Works the chance to talk about the good and the bad, the world of cinema, and its genres through the eras. And the hosts really do mean it when they named their podcast The Complete Works—the fact that Michelle Yeoh has one futile scene in The School of Good and Evil means the hosts must watch and comment on the entire film. There are many episodes to go through, and the podcast is diverting and informative—our favourite sort of entertainment.


Photo: iHeart (via Spotify)

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Although we sometimes felt ultra-bored in history class when we were teenagers, as adults, we willingly look for all the history trivia, never mind how absurd or niche. A 45-minute episode solely about the last witch of Scotland? Sign us up!

In Stuff You Missed in History Class, hosts Holly and Tracy delve into weird and astounding stories that no one taught you about. The show started airing under a different format back in 2008, so you’ll have to look for the longer episodes in the mix. If you need a few recommendations to start, give a listen to “Levi Strauss,” “Mindy Johnson and the Women of Disney,” “The Beheading of Sir Walter Raleigh,” “San Francisco 1906–The Great Quakes and Fires,” and of course, “Helen Duncan, (Not) Scotland’s Last Witch.”

Photo: iHeart (via Spotify)

The Last Soviet

Admittedly, The Last Soviet is a bit of a niche find. Did you know that a member of NSYNC was trained as a Russian cosmonaut? Neither did we. On a break from tour in 2002, Lance Bass trained as a cosmonaut in Russia. Although he never made it to space, he did learn of an unusual tale. In an eight-episode ensemble, Bass looks into the incredible story of Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who was compelled to remain alone in the International Space Station during the USSR’s fall in 1991 while he was on a mission in space. Krikalev ended up staying in the station for 313 days. Hear all about the gripping space story in The Last Soviet, as well as learn more about the logistics, emotions, and politics of astronomy.

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Mental health

Photo: Griefcast (via Spotify)


Everyone will agree that taking care of your body is essential to living a healthy life. Try talking about mental health, however, and the conversations get much harder. Fortunately, we are overcoming the stigma, and there are a few podcasts to show for it, Griefcast being one of them. In each weekly episode, host Cariad Lloyd interviews a new guest about their experience dealing with the grief of a loved one. The premise might seem grim, but the outcome of the podcast is not to make you feel sad, but to offer enlightening views on grief.

Photo: American Public Media (via Spotify)

The Hilarious World of Depression

The Hilarious World of Depression is a light and essential listen about clinical depression. Started on the basis that everyone is affected by depression, whether you suffer from it or know someone who does, the podcast’s conversations are honest, realistic, funny stories about the disease. Four years’ worth of episodes await, having opened up the discussion around mental health.

Pop culture

Photo: If Books Could Kill (via Spotify)

If Books Could Kill

If Book Could Kill, the podcast that debunks “the airport bestsellers that captured our hearts and ruined our minds,” is a laugh-out-loud, though-provoking podcast by hosts Peter Shamshiri and Michael Hobbes. We have all read at least one “airport book,” i.e. non-fiction bestsellers, and in this podcast, the hosts take it in turn to read and debunk such books, such as Atomic Habits, The 4-Hour Work Week, The Game, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Freakonomics, and more, in substance and in form. The end result is enthralling, and you’ll probably end up binge-listening to all of the available episodes.

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Photo: Sounds Like a Cult (via Spotify)

Sounds Like a Cult

Just as it is suggested in the title, this podcast is not about actual cults. Some of the topics at the centre of discussion are trad wives, Lululemon, K-pop, Catholic school, reality show Love Is Blind, Stanley cups, and podcasting itself—all things that we as a society can get overly obsessed with. The podcast has been running for six seasons now. Each one-hour episode makes for a great distraction, and a little bit of introspection!


Photo: ESPN (via Spotify)

30 For 30

Chances are, if you’re working out, you have some interest in sports. Podcasts about the sports world are a dime a dozen, but most of them are focused on sports in America. For a wider view on the world of sports, there are 30 For 30 podcast documentaries. The standalone, mini-series episodes delve into sports, competitions, incredible feats, and scandals, always with a journalistic approach. All sports are fair game in 30 For 30, appealing to hardcore sports fans and curious minds alike.

Photo: The Running Explained Podcast (via Spotify)

Running Explained

Running Explained is like having a personal coach plugged to your ears, but not the pushy, aggressive kind. Coach and podcast host Elizabeth started running at the age of 29 and struggled to find informative content to help her out. She therefore took it upon herself to answer the questions that runners might have. Through lengthy interviews and research, episodes speak to new and experienced runners, and is particularly motivating when you are out on a long run session. The episodes go up to one hour and a half, and four seasons have been recorded already, offering plenty of material for when you need to train!

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True crime

Photo: The New York Times (via Spotify)


Although it needs no introduction, Serial has a natural place on this list for its enduring, gripping storytelling. You won’t be thinking about how long your workout session feels like, but most likely completely focused on the crime at the centre of the episode you’re listening to (it goes without saying that you should stay somewhat focused if you’re running or hiking). Serial redefined the true-crime podcast genre since its release in 2014, with its first episode “The Alibi” still a favourite among listeners. The podcast is still running, with its latest season focusing on the history of Guantánamo prison.

Photo: Pushkin (via Spotify)

Death of an Artist

Death of an Artist’s first season, hosted by Helen Molesworth, opened up the conversation about Ana Mendieta and her untimely death. Ana Mendieta was a Cuban-American artist, now celebrated for the massive influence she exerted in her field. What we don’t talk or hear about as much is how she died at the age of 36 after falling from the thirty-fourth-floor residence she shared with husband and fellow artist Carl Andre. Despite being a suspect in his wife’s, Andre was acquitted in court. A second season about Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner’s story is being released throughout 2024. Death of an Artist is a thought-provoking podcast, ideal for those who like some food for thought while they train.

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Lily Valette


Born and raised in the French countryside, Lily arrived in Hong Kong looking for an adventure. Passionate about books, she spent some time in Parisian publishing houses and is the author of an illustrated book about hair. Life in Hong Kong for her entails looking for seaside places to eat and a lot of hiking.