The age old questions I ask myself before a run, when I first started training, was “should I run with music or not?” Some runners never leave the house without their earbuds, but then others encourage leaving the tunes at home. So what is best?
A few years ago, I would have said a great playlist can change a run. When “that song” comes on, it can create motivation out of thin air making it almost impossible to keep from going harder. As much as music can be inspiring my experience rose some concerns that come with adding music to your long run.
- Perfecting the ultimate playlist: It takes a lot of time to get the inspiring music on the same play list. It use to take me hours or even days and by the time it was perfect I was tired of the songs. Then, on long run days, I would have to come up with double the music. Those extra miles need fresh encouragement, that can not always be predictable when creating the music choice. The days I was feeling strong I would add an extra mile or two in but my playlist did not always account for this. On long run days, little things can affect how things proceed and lets just say song repeats improve anything.
- Attempting to change the music: If, in the middle of my run, the playlist wasn’t just right, I would fuss with my iPod or phone to fix it. When I chose a Pandora or iHeartRadio station and the mix was going in the “wrong direction” I always stopped to find just the right one. For me the time I would spend trying to adjust what would play just doesn’t seem to payoff and would interrupt the “vibe” of my time in my #brightorangeshoes.
- Getting it just right: Aside from the actual music playing, I use to spend time messing with my headphones, trying to get the cord length just right or keep the earbud in my ear. I am a REALLY sweaty runner and after a while they would slip out of my ears and after a certain amount of miles, that was just about the only thing I could think about, again being my main distraction.
- The cord: Then there is the cord. My last two pairs of headphones would make a disruptive rustling sound over the music when they got sweaty or cold, which was not pleasant. On hot or cooler days, I wouldn’t even be able to hear the music playing through my earbuds because of the rustling. It started to seem like all the fussing about that I described in 1-3 was just draining my run of effectiveness and wasn’t worth the bother.
All in all, after years of being a die-hard “music runner” there were too many repetitive interruptions that have encouraged me to leave the headphones at home. Leaving just me and my #brightorangeshoes out there on the road.
So my vote, no music. Some may be very disappointed in that opinion but my take away from this is, if you have not tried to run any distance without music, try it. Personally it allows my mind to calm itself and run its own course. Many of my best ideas or clearest understandings have happened while running, unplugged and outside.
I would love to know what everyone else does. Do you prefer to run or workout with music?