I've started listening to books on tape during my long runs. I don't let myself listen to anything on runs that are 5-6 miles or shorter, but longer than that and I find that my mind has a tendency to turn on me. I wish I were more comfortable with just being alone with my thoughts, but I count it a success that I can at least do 45 to 60 minutes without outside distraction... it's the beginning of a good discipline.
So the top 5 reasons I love listening to books on tape when I run:
1. It keeps me distracted enough to not be noticing every ache and pain in my body. But at the same time I can turn them off if I find my mind wandering and turn them back on when I'm ready for another distraction.
2. I value any excuse to enrich my mind and get lost in books. And it's free for me -- I borrow them from the library and put them on my iPod.
3. I find that on my long runs (9 miles so far), even music doesn't keep me distracted enough at times.
4. As running consumes more and more of my time (it's seriously becoming a part time job), I lament the fact that I don't have time for doing some of the other things I love -- reading being on the top of that list. Now I can "read" at the same time. If only I could find a way to "play piano" while I run... ;)
5. I only let myself "read" the books on tape when I'm running -- so it becomes its own incentive to run... (You want to know what happens next in the book? Well, starpilgrim, you're just going to have to put on some running shoes and run more than 5 measly miles...)
I just finished The Constant Gardener today (a very good book, by the way), and I'm on to The Hobbit next. I'm so glad I thought of this!!