I think I am in the minority here, but let me state this publicly, I rarely listen to music when I run. At one point I did pop in earbuds whenever I laced up. One day I was challenged to try running without them and use that time to just focus on me, to think and to decompress. I tried it and I began to notice things around me, I was more aware of not just my surroundings, but of my body and my performance. For awhile, I started unplugging on my short runs, using only one earbud during longer runs, but that eventually faded into a rarity. I feel like it has gotten to the point that people look at me funny because I don’t use them.
I do know some runners who carry their earbuds with them and use music as a reward on extremely long runs. This seems like a happy medium, I’ve never tried it so I can’t knock it.
Then there are the people who still listen to music, just not with headphones. They happily tromp along, blaring their music. On the surface this would seem safer since they could hear traffic and their surroundings better, but most are just an annoyance to those around them.
Here are the reasons that I choose not to incorporate music into my runs:
1. Safety- We all know that wearing anything that impairs your hearing while running or walking is dangerous, but some people have the attitude that it can’t happen to them. Well it can happen to you and your loved ones, it has happened.
2. Connect with my surroundings-One can enjoy the views and surroundings much better without the distraction of music. We spend for too much of our lives connected to our phones and other devices, we need to disconnect sometimes. For me, its during my runs.
3. Focus on my breathing-Lately my attention has been focused on my breath. Rhythmic breathing may sound odd to some, but give it a try. It can help take your mind off the discomfort of running.
4. Connect with my running partners-its much easier to get to know someone without the earbuds in. It just seems unsociable to have an earbud in while running with someone else. How are you suppose to encourage each other if you are wrapped up in your own little world?
5. Mental break from the world-may people use their training runs as a break from the daily grind, so why would you add static to this break?
All in all, I like some silence in my life and during my run is when I get it. I won’t look down on someone who chooses to have music, its just not for me. Some favor one brand shoe over another, I favor the sounds of nature and the voices of those around me more than prerecorded noises.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do listen to classical music when writing. A high school art teacher of mine would occasionally do this when we were working. For some reason I have done it for creative purposes since then. It seems to help me write, so I understand where a person would want to listen while they run.