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Is It a Good Idea to Run With Music?
To Run with Music or Not?
Since the development and widespread use of the classic MP3 player and various iPods, the question has been asked, "is it a good idea to use headphones and listen to music while running?" There certainly seem to be advantages and disadvantages to running with music. On one hand listening to music while running can make a person less aware. This could be dangerous, (if running on roads) or just plain rude (if in the gym and others are in conversation). However, music has an incredible ability to motivate people and push them to achieve more, especially when going hard in a workout.
How About You
Do You Run With Music?
Music Can Fuel the Mind
About three years ago I was ready to quit running. I had been running for seven to eight years prior, but I was finding it difficult to continue getting out every day to run. I was not motivated and I did not know how I would get through the summer months of my training. That's when I thought, "why not start listening to music when I run?" The idea captivated me and after considering it briefly, I purchased an iPod Shuffle. Because of its size and simplicity, the Shuffle is perfect for running. I was able to load roughly 250 of my favorite songs on my 1gb Shuffle, which was plenty for me (I could change the songs as often as I wanted).
I quickly found that listening to music made a huge difference in my running. I started to look forward to the chance I would have to hear some of my favorite tunes. Running was still work, but music made the work fun. As I have listened to music over the years, especially when running, I have come to realize that music has the ability to influence the human mind. Think about the last time you heard a very sad song or a song that was upbeat and cheerful. Did the song have any influence over your emotions or state of mind? I believe that the right music can help fuel our minds when we run and help us perform at a higher level.
In regards to safety and attentiveness, I try to always keep the volume low enough so I can hear and have a good level of awareness when running. I always want to be able to hear traffic when running on the road. Safety is my number one priority.
While I do enjoy music, I do have a few "rules" for myself. First, I will never run with music when I am running with others. This is very important to me. Having headphones while being around others can appear quite rude and can take away from valuable time for relationship building. Second, I like to set aside certain runs where I do not listen to music. I have found that on occasion it is good to just unplug and enjoy the quiet or take time to listen to God while running. Third, I never listen to music while racing. A race should be motivating in and of itself and there is somewhat of an unwritten rule among many runners to leave the headphones at the starting line. Finally, if I feel that listening to music is jeopardizing my safety or simply "getting in the way," I make an effort to cut it off. While music and the related technology can be an incredible tool, I believe it is critical not to let it control my life.
In conclusion, running with music can be amazing, but be sure to keep everything in perspective. Always consider your safely first and have respect for those around you. Remember that a run without music can still be amazing, so don't let it be a bad day because your MP3 battery is dead!