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Monday, May 9, 2011

For the love of MUSIC!

The role of music in running is one of those topics that runners are passionate about. It is a common assumption that “real” runners don’t run with music. It is a natural thing, a rhythm thing, a ‘one with nature’ thing. Whatever it is, I want to know if YOU run with music and why? No judgment here; I am simply interested in your thoughts on the matter. 

Personally, it is a rare occasion to see me running with music – unless for some odd reason I am on the treadmill - I have to be pretty unmotivated and lethargic to put in the ‘phones. But this being said, I need music when I am lifting, practicing yoga, or confined to an elliptical. I LOVE music; it is an important and vital part of my life. Without music I would be one cold bee-otch. It engages my ‘feelers’.  

Perhaps, one of the reasons that I do not run with music is because I hear music everywhere – especially when running outside. My feet and my breathe keep the rhythm while the sounds around me make up the melody. The sound of dogs barking, cars roving, the river roaring, cows grunting, and even the silence make up the meat of my running songs. Then there are the days that I actually sing in my head or have that one, lame, annoying, yet motivating song stuck in my head – unfortunately, it is normally one or two lines of the song on repeat. Running is also my only real down-time where I am actually forced to get inside my own head and see what’s there; sometimes confusion but often unexpected clarity.

On the flip side of the no-music-runners, there are runners I know that won’t leave the house without their music device of choice. It is their motivation, their trusted running partner, even their timing device (run for 8 songs). They choose their races based on whether they are ‘music friendly’ or not – this shows the genius of the Rock n’ Roll race series blending race + music = insane popularity. 

Okay, your turn. Confess. Are you plugged or unplugged and why? If so, top 5. Rock on!


  1. I particularly like listening to podcasts when I run by myself. I think this stems from the fact that I like talking when I run with friends, and podcasts are more or less the next best thing.

    I'm definitely with you on the pre-race music though.

    Top 5:
    Thrice - Stare at the Sun
    Emery - Listening to Freddie Mercury
    LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
    The Audition - Approach the Bench
    Cascada - Everytime We Touch

  2. I think that head phones are one of the fundamental problems in our society. It separates us from what is actually going on around us. People become disengaged. We should be able to say something to someone without yelling at them so that they can actually hear us! I hate opening a door for someone with headphones and they don’t even look at me or acknowledge me because they have headphones in.

    But that’s not what you asked about! You may guess that I hate running with music from my previous comments. My reasons are somewhat similar. Running is what helps me to engage with a place, connect to a place, interact with it. The two times I have tried running with music I have felt suffocated and uncomfortable and took the music out within minutes, I’m not even sure I got through one song. It was not fun. I don’t own and iPod and don’t intend on buying one any time soon. I don’t often listen to music pre-race either.

    That being said, there is a time and place for running and music for me. That is on the dreaded treadmill which I avoid like the plague anyways. But without it I’m not sure I could get through my treadmill runs. And I can justify that because my surroundings in that situation are static.

    So, if I had a top five, I’d write them now, but I don’t. And I like it that way.

  3. It never occurred to me to NOT run with music. I always thought it was my motivator, but I am finding that I like to hear what is going on around me.
    It is better to not have music when I have Kona with me because I can train her better as well. We are more in tune with each other because we are paying attention to what each is doing.
    I certainly see a difference in the way she reacts and listens to me.
    You know how I have an issue with 'the breathing thing'?, whether it be yoga, running, anything that takes concentration ;). To focus on my breathe is not something that is always taken into consideration. I think I can do better without extra distractions while running.
    I'll give it a try! ;)
    (Plus, every time I try to listen to Shakira while running, I end up doing this running/dancing thing, so you know that can't end well...)

  4. Like I said, people have strong opinions on the matter. Especially if you are firmly one way or the other. Genny, you crack me up. Hatch, I like it. Colon, you are weird but we are converting you. :)