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Run With Music or Without?
Have you ever thought about ditching the ipod and just running free, listening only to the sounds of your breathing or the birds, or the song that may be stuck in your head? We all love running to our favorite music, and the beat of the music can even help to pace your run, but if you have never tried going without the tunes you are missing out on a wonderfully cathartic experience.
The first time I tried it, I had my reservations. I thought the sound of my breathing or my feet pounding would prove distracting, but after I got past all that I started to let my mind go where it wanted to and a mile or so in I was in such a meditative zone that I scarcely noticed the world around me. I don't know if it is the endorphin rush or just the solitude, maybe a little of both, but my description of the experience hardly seems to do it justice. Some people have their yoga, some just meditate, but something about running puts you into a meditative state all by itself.
Most runs I prepare by strapping on my Garmin then making sure the ipod is charged. I strap on both before heading out and between glancing at the Garmin to check my pace and changing songs on the ipod things can get a little frantic if not less than enjoyable. The pressure of always trying to beat my time can alone rob any joy from the run, except the celebration after the fact if I have kept a good pace or set a pr on a training run.
Some runners say they would never run without their tunes. I shall not judge them as I used to say the same thing. But let me give you a few more reasons you may not have considered and then you can decide if you want to go free.
Depending on were you run, you may or may not be effected by this one, but there was one time when having made the decision to ditch the tunes might well have saved my life. It was near dark, one evening and I did not see any cars so I started to cross the street. I heard a car approaching, so I stopped and not a moment too soon. Had I waited until I could see the car I am almost positive it would have ended badly that evening. I truly believe that if I had have had my Ipod on and with me, I would not have heard the car approach.
If that last one was not reason enough, there is the social factor. If you have your music loud and another runner says good morning or mutters a breathless hello it is nice to be able to hear them and return the greeting even if all you can manage is a grunt or a headnod. If you come up behind a runner who has their music blasting and you are on a narrow trail or path how do you let them know that you would like to get past? I guess you would call this one courtesy, but if you run in an unpopulated area than obviously you don't have to worry about this.
Music or no Music
Do you run with an Ipod?
Still not convinced?
I am not sure without having tried it that you could understand the whole "in tune with your body" feeling that comes from running free of distraction. I just know that for me personally, listening to my breathing, tuning in to my thoughts, makes me feel closer to God and is so liberating that I hate for it to end. This solitude gives way to quiet prayers or songs of praise depending on what is going on in my life at the time. Something about running, the increased blood flow, lungs taking in more air, heart pumping, just the rush of it all makes me feel so alive! Why lessen that experience with music or cords to get tangled in? I'm sure you have your reasons and I would love to hear them. Please share your thoughts on this. Thank you.