Lately, a lot of people have asked me if I run with or without music. And my first response was “Of course, I can’t run without it.” I always assumed the music kept me entertained or made the run go by faster; until I was forced to run in silence. I have gone through a lot of various mp3 players. Most of the time, they get water in them or just crash after years of use. While training for the Philadelphia marathon I was forced to run my long runs and weekly tempo’s with no music at all. I told myself it was temporary and that I would buy a $50 iPod shuffle a few days prior to the marathon to keep me entertained. (I didn’t want to chance breaking it during training.) After all, was it possible to get through a long run without hearing Rihanna sing sweet melodies in my ear?
So I set out on my 18 to 23 mile runs and found out it was…peaceful. I found myself taking in my surroundings and because I could hear the sounds around me, I focused on them. What pattern is that guy trying to mow his lawn in? Why are they putting a stop sign in on that street? Why are all of these dogs barking at the wind? The long runs felt good music-less. I started to enjoy it. This I saw as my benefit to having a broken iPod.
I still got that iPod shuffle for my marathon. And after the gun went off for my 26.2 mile run, I actually forgot to hit play. Soon, I was 2 miles in and just listening to the crowds and supporters everywhere cheer us on that I didn’t want to hear music. I wanted to hear them. I ran the first 13 miles with my earbuds in never hitting play. After the halfway point though, things got silent and my body got tired. It was then I decided I needed a change and motivation for the next 13. The next time I hit pause was at mile 26. I wanted to remember that moment, the crowds, and not the hit song at the time.
If you too think you can’t run without music, I recommend trying it once or twice on longer runs (not tempo’s, or fartleks, or speed workouts). Give it a try, you might surprise yourself.