CONTROVERSIAL RUNNING TOPIC ALERT
Do you listen to music when you run?
Many runners swear by it – some can’t even run without it – and then there are those who have ditched the tunes & instead tuned into themselves when they run… I’ve been both.
I used to be one of those runners who literally could not run without my music. If my headphones, or my phone, died mid-run (which, if you know me, you know that they usually did – just check out the ALABAMA trip if you’d like an example). Anyways, I would go into an all-out panic if I didn’t have my jams. I relied on my music so much & would strategically create playlists that I deemed best for my performance. Until one day…
One day, upon arriving at the gym for my regularly scheduled 5 AM morning date with the treadmill, I noticed that, lo and behold, my headphones were – per usual – dead. Now, this usually wouldn’t be a big deal, since, well, I’m usually the only one at the gym at 5 AM & could blast my music out loud. But today there were TWO other runners there – what gives? Anyways, I couldn’t be that girl, so, I had to make a choice between my music and my miles. I guess I’d be going it without the tunes for today.
Anyways, fast forward through the remainder of the day (which was likely filled with children asking me questions all day long at work, racing to get everything done, and likely eating Doritos at some point) – to the next morning, when I found myself on the treadmill again, STILL with dead headphones. I had forgotten to charge them amidst the chaos of the previous day. But (this might shock you) I really didn’t mind. The day before, without my music, had been shockingly peaceful. It allowed me to just tune into my mind, my pace, but most importantly – my breathing.
I hadn’t noticed how out of control my breathing would get prior to ditching the headphones – but turning off the music and truly listening to, and focusing upon, my breath was the most beneficial thing I have done for my running-game thus far. But it’s not just me, here are a few other fun facts and comments from other runners who have given up music:
Alexandra Parren shares that music, “may make you sprint off faster than you intend, making you burn-out before the end of your training session or race. By not listening to music you are more likely to keep a steady pace and not rush off too fast.”
In a post on ACTIVE.com, Nick Clark shares how music impacts your running as he shares how music impairs your ability to engage in diaphragmatic breathing: “Without developing this style of breathing, athletes tend to breathe through their chest which is shallow breathing. Fast and efficient consumption and delivery of oxygen to the working muscles is crucial in endurance sports. Shallow or chest breathing will limit this process.”
While listening to music while running can definitely make it more enjoyable and increase your motivation, tuning into yourself, and your surroundings once in a while can be good for your focus – both internally and externally. It’s easier to think about your strike, your pace, your thoughts, and your needs on any given day when the music is off.
I know, I know…
It’s totally not for everyone. And honestly, there are TONS of reasons in SUPPORT of keeping the music up while running (sometimes I, too, put the headphones back in & enjoy the HELL out of some Lady Gaga during my entire ten miles). But growth is about trying something new every once in a while, and this was one change that – surprisingly enough for someone who LOVED the music/running combination – I have definitely found to be beneficial for my running journey.
So maybe give it a try just once. Or don’t. Or just keep your Lady Gaga blasting. This is your running journey – I’m just telling ya about the day MY music died you guys. So what do YOU prefer?! Do you run with music or no?! Take your side of the debate in the comments below!