Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Running To The Beat

Most people that I know who run insist they need their iPod to run.  I can understand why too, I use to be on of the people who said that.  I now run without music and I think it has helped me improve as a "serious" runner.  I am not saying that you can't be a serious runner if you listen to music, but I feel that when I run without music I am more in sync with my body, and I can focus in more on my running.  In this post I felt like figuring out the pros and cons of running with and without music.  I think I will write it in a paragraph form to go more in depth with my reasoning, but then I will just do a bullet point pro/con list for you skim readers ;)

With Music:

First I will start with running to music.  I use to always, always run with music.  If my iPod was dead, I wasn't going to run until it charged.  It was very inspirational to run with upbeat songs that sung about perseverance , and I will admit that it helped keep me going when I would want to quit.  Another example is some running routes are boring.  Mind numbing boring.  The music would help me keep the focus of the path and on the songs.  The only problem is, I would be a slave to the beat.  I would run at whatever tempo the song was because my body would sync to it and I wouldn't even notice.  I would end up spending more energy running a mile than I meant to because a really fast tempo song came on or the complete opposite would happen and I would run a slower pace than intended.  Now on to my list!

- Motivating
- Distracts from running boring routes.
- Pumps up.
- Beat dictates pace.
- Takes away from paying attention to run.
- Distracting (cords, iPod itself)

Without Music:

This is the way I have been training lately.  No strings(or wires) attached.  While it is a little harder to run without music on those long grueling runs, I find it to be refreshing to go out, just me and my legs.  I find it a lot easier to focus on a certain pace and I am able to push myself without having to split my focus.  I can just go.  The downside is that when it gets really tough and I want to slow down/walk I have to encourage myself to keep going.  We all know the hardest person to motivate is ourselves sometimes.  I can easily rationalize why I should slow down, but with music I can just focus more on it and keep going.  But that's why I think that it helps me become a more serious runner, because I become accountable for my running and getting across that finish line.  To the list!

- Focus on running.
- Run at pace set by runner.
- Become more disciplined.
- Less motivating.
- Easier to quit(in my opinion).
- Having to be accountable for self(can be really hard some days)


Now that I compare and contrasted the two, I can go into a little more depth on what I do.  While I no longer run with music, I do listen to music that gets me pumped up right before I run.  That way I can get hyped up to go do a good workout, yet I can focus more on my running than my music.  Now I would like to hear from y'all!

- Do you run with or without music? For training? For races?
- Have anything else to add to my list?
- Do you agree or disagree with me? Why?

Well my race is tomorrow, so I am going to go get some sleep :)



  1. I ran with music until I lost my iPod charging cord. I haven't really had too much desire to start running with music again since. I do pretty much the same thing, mostly listening to K'Naan before running to get pumped. As far as motivation goes, I've found that running with other people is both far more fun and motivating than running alone.

  2. Sometimes I take my music, sometimes I don't. When you're on a 2-3 hour long run by yourself, it's awfully hard to stay occupied without some kind of stimulation. I usually listen to audiobooks. If I'm running on trails or with someone else, I never take music (same goes for busy streets, but I hardly ever run on those).

    For races, I think music is an absolute no-no. Why ignore all the people who have come out to cheer you on? It's one of the rudest things a runner could do in my opinion.

    But all those things being said, it's a personal choice. It's not wrong to run with music nor is it wrong (or more superior) to run without it. To each his own!! =)

  3. I used to always run with music. It was a nice way to forget about work and turn my brain off while I listed to cheesy punk songs.

    I would race w/my Shuffle, but i learned that seldom would I actually notice or remember anything that I'd heard during the race.

    I stopped using it in October 2009, when my main running route became this very hilly, windy route along some busy country roads near my house (the horrible route I ran yesterday, actually). On this route, since many of the roads are narrow and there's poor visibility, I really need to be able to hear cars. I got used to running w/o it, and didn't use it for the half marathon that I was training for then.

    I enjoyed running that w/o it, because it allowed me to really appreciate the moment, and now that I'm used to running w/o music, I rarely do.

    I do wish I'd had it for the marathon. When I hit the wall at mile 21ish, it might have helped me if I could put the tunes on. I'll bring it to my next one to have in reserve like that.

    There's still two 5Ks I use it in every year, because I know the scenery is really boring. One is in a tunnel under the Chesapeake Bay (which is neat but boring scenery once the novelty wears off) and one is just in a corporate park.

  4. I've never run with music and can't see that I ever will. I don't even own any form of MP3 player. I like to be in sync with my body and the surroundings.

  5. Also, good look at the race!

  6. Danielle - I do like the idea of an audio book for those long runs. That way it wont dictate the beat/pace you run at.

    Brian - Yeah that's why I initially stopped listening to mine, because I was running at night and needed to focus more on my surroundings, then I found all the other benefits, and thanks for the good luck! I had a ton of fun.

    Johann - I agree with being in sync. I just feel so free without the music, even if the workouts are a little more difficult some days.