This past weekend, I ran two fun “local-ish” races – the Shark Tooth 10K and the Iron Girl Clearwater Half. I ran the 10K without a watch, but with music, and for the half, well, I changed it up and did it with a watch, but without music.
When I first began running, I felt like I NEEDED music – the cadence, the beat, the energy – it seemed NECESSARY for me to get my blood pumping and my legs moving. However, as time went on, I realized that for me, it was something that I could take or leave, depending on my mood or the type of workout I was doing. Sure, the idea of running on the treadmill with nothing to listen to me still does not hold any appeal, but now that we live in FL and I perform 98 percent of my running workouts outdoors, there’s just something about hearing nature and things around you on a run.
Likewise, I carry this philosophy into my races. The last few 5Ks I’ve run with music, but my 50K without. It’s kind of a toss up – looking back, I’ve never run a marathon completely without music (I often turn it on about 1/3 of the way through) but there’s not been any recent instances that I really felt like I made the wrong choice.
Now, I hadn’t really thought about it much lately, but when my friend Jen and I were driving down to Clearwater this weekend, she mentioned that she was sure to pack her headphones because, “silence is the enemy.” Now, that’s definitely an opinion I’ve heard before, and I can respect that. Heck, I remember that it felt like sheer agony during my first marathon when, at Mile 14, my sony music player crapped out and I had to face a windy bridge (oh, and 12 more miles!!) without any music pumping into my ears. However, it turned out okay, as the race featured a ton of DJs and bands along the way, and without music, I could hear people cheering me on!
I think it was then that I realized that there is no real answer as to which option is “better” – I mean, some races “strong discourage” the use of headphones, but unless you are blasting your tunes (which you shouldn’t do anyway) or planning on winning (rules often prohibit prize purse winners from using music devices, etc) I think that if you can do it safely, you should do whatever YOU are most comfortable with.
So, if you DO listen to music…
I’m curious! If you listen to music on your run, what do you listen to? Not necessarily what artists, genre, but, is it a specially designed playlist? Streaming Pandora? I know, in my case, I have a few playlists on iTunes, one named “Base Playlist” of some of the songs I most like to hear on my runs, then I pull from there to create different, customized playlists for specific training runs or races – and sometimes, I just go off theme and pick from whatever else is in my playlist (I have pretty eclectic/random taste) and go with it.
For the Shark Tooth 10K, I knew I’d be going watchless, but also had a ballpark goal of sub-50 minutes, so I pulled together a playlist that would end at 50 minutes – that way, Id’ be forced to NOT skip any songs, and, on random, I’d have to finish before the playlist did! That was kind of fun, and worked out, since I was a little over 49 minutes on Saturday. Here’s the playlist:
It was a random mix, but got the job done! 🙂
** Push it was the last song on Saturday, which was random, but totally appropriate!!
What are your thoughts on running with music?