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Run With Music or Without?

Updated on February 24, 2012
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Running Free

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?

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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.

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    • asherruth profile image
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      asherruth 5 years ago

      Hi Debbie, interesting that you don't turn the music on. Maybe just the security of knowing it's there if you need it? You are so lucky to live by the beach, that would be awesome. I envy you! I know what you mean about the mood, sometimes you just have to have the tunes. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      I too run with my Garmin and mp3 player, but I don't always turn my music on. I've even been known to head out of the door with my MP3 players battery on empty, even I'll admit that is strange. I'm not actually sure why I do it either!!

      Running on the beach listening to the sea making it's noise can be really stress relieving and music would interfere with that.

      For me it all depends on my mood or the thoughts that are racing around in my head and where I am running to whether I turn my music on or not.

      An interesting hub, thank you for sharing.

    • asherruth profile image
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      asherruth 5 years ago

      Hi truparad0x, I can so relate to that. It's like vowing not to look down at your Garmin and then you glance at it, 4 miles in to a 20 mile run. Arrrgh! I have never done a long run without music, except when my ipod died on me midrun. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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      truparad0x 5 years ago

      I used to run with music, but now it just reminds me of how much distance I've covered. On a long run, it can be tough to realize you've ran for five songs which should average about 4 minutes each and taking into account your usual pace of x:xx, it means you've only ran x% and have x many miles to go.

    • asherruth profile image
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      asherruth 5 years ago

      Hi Fatcattango, You are right, as happened to me with my close call, safety is a big concern with an ipod or other mp3 player. Nature sounds so much better! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

    • asherruth profile image
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      asherruth 5 years ago

      Hi DFiduccia, I get bored at the gym too. I go to one with a cardio cinema, otherwise I would not like the treadmill. It's so good to be able to run with nature when you can. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • asherruth profile image
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      asherruth 5 years ago

      Hi Mikeydcarroll67, I understand, music can really be a help. Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Fatcattango profile image

      Fatcattango 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I never run with music. I agree with previous comments that, on trails, I would rather listen to the sounds around me and, on roads, it's safer without.

    • DFiduccia profile image

      DFiduccia 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      When I can run in natural terrain far from a city, I prefer listening to the sounds of nature. When I run on a treadmill at the gym, an mp3 is a great distraction from boredom.

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      mikeydcarroll67 5 years ago

      I love running with my mp3 (and yes, non Apple) and helps me focus and lose myself.