I Don’t Run With Headphones

ID-100207800Deep breath.  Keep calm.  It’s true;

The more I run, the more I hate running with headphones.

Why?  I’m not entirely sure.  Well, no.  That’s not true.  But I can’t put my finger on any one specific reason.

Running without music – without buds in my ears – is oddly liberating.

When running, the wind picks up and noise sort of… disappears.  Not forcing music into my ears means that I’m running almost in silence.  My heart beat being the only constant sound.  The sound of my feet hitting the ground grabs my attention when the patterns change.

Running without music has taught me a lot about how I run.

Now, I can pay attention to what I’m doing.  My posture.  My breathing.  My pacing.  How I feel as I push myself harder.  Identifying when I need to slow down, or go easy on a hill.

Running with music is peaceful. 

There’s no pressure to keep up with the beat.  To force your mindset to fit with the songs in the playlist.

Bonus points for:

  • No headphones slapping against your neck, or getting caught in your pony tail!
  • No pinching arm-band holding up your phone/MP3 player.
  • You can hear cars when they’re pulling up behind you (survival bonus, ding-ding-ding!)

Running without music has taught me my limits.

Have you tried running without music?  Did it gel for you?
Or are you a fan of having your music with you, and it keeps you amped as you run?

22 thoughts on “I Don’t Run With Headphones

  1. I don’t run with music either, mainly because I run in a group and want to talk! But even on my own I don’t do music for safety reasons mostly. And I often forget my headphones. When I am at the gym I always listen to music though. Don’t know why it’s different there.

    • I’m similar when it comes to the gym. I make a bee-line for our cardio theatre which blasts music with videos on a big screen. A little hypnotic after a while…

      • Maybe at the gym the distraction of music helps us focus? If I’m not listening to music at the gym, I’m often watching everybody else! haha

  2. I’ve only just started running myself and I’m using the C25K program on an app on my phone so I need my headphones for when it tells me to run and walk…I do like when certain tracks come on though….will have to see how it goes in time 🙂

  3. Hi Peonut,

    i’ve been following your blog for awhile and I really love it. I think what you’re describing is “mindfulness while exercising” – paying attention to the present moment. it’s really powerful, improved workout and less chance of injury and a great stress reducer. There are great TED talks on mindfulness, I’ve also written a bit about this (http://tripsandturns.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/mindfulness-while-exercising/) and there are other really interesting articles out there too – http://bodykineticsmarin.com/blog/bid/268201/Mindfulness-and-Exercise-How-can-mindfulness-improve-your-fitness.
    I look forward to continuing to read and be inspired by your blog!

  4. Never liked running with music on, for the same reasons you mentioned here. There’s enough noise around me when I’m not running, I like being alone with my thoughts on my long runs.

  5. I run with music on roads and through town. When I run trails, I like to hear the birds and nature so the headphones stay in the bag! I also run with music on interval runs and hills as I need that extra boost! I keep the volume low so I can hear cars. I used to listen to music working out, but the leads and phone just got in the way! If I went to a gym, then probably depending on how busy it was listen to music. You’re right about feel free running with out music and the leads getting caught up!

  6. i remember about halfway through a long run one day, realizing that i hadn’t been paying attention to my music at all. i couldn’t remember anything but the song that had been playing when i first started out. from that point on, i ditched the tunes and LOVED it. i had always felt like i “needed” music, to keep me amped up and motivated. so once i stopped using it as a crutch – and a completely mental one! – it felt amazing and liberating!

  7. I usually run without music but sometimes I do just for a bit of a change or a lift. There are no absolutes sometimes if I have spent the day silently working, doing paperwork with no people around I like the company. If it’s beef a day full of people an empty head is better.

  8. I’ve only tried running with music a couple of times and I found it very hard to feel my effort level properly or focus on my pace. I’m a big fan of hearing the world around me and hearing myself as I run, some of the draw in running is in that peace, for me.

  9. There is always one. I have tried to run numerous times without headphones and music and it does let me hear my foot crunch the gravel and take notice of my breathing. However, that just makes me feel more tired. For me, music is a way of bypassing the feeling of being tired. That being said, anything that helps you run, is a good thing. 🙂

  10. I run super early in the mornings most days, I kinda like running in a “Ghost town” No one out in the streets, no cars going by, just me the music and the pavement.
    I really enjoy listening to the latest podcast’s that I am subscribed too, but there was a time when I needed to listen to my breathing and my feet hitting the ground and just my general awareness.
    Because I run the same areas quite a lot, I feel like I need the entertainment. If it were somewhere new/I was running with a friend I would ditch the tunes.
    Hope you are enjoying you training 🙂

  11. I’m a power walker not a runner but it depends on my mood. Recently I haven’t been using them but some days I just need music. I do find the beat keeps my pace fast a d I’ve used headphones for my Moonwalks, twenty six point two at night is a long time without music! I never use them on roads with no footpath or on the woods though, just for safety.

  12. I used to run a lot before and between my six kids and partial foot amputation….. I love your description of running in tune with your body. When I ran, I loved just listening to my feet hit the pavement and the silence that cleared my head. You are a good writer. I’ve enjoyed checking out your blog.

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