Music To My Ears

Let’s talk music for a few minutes. I’m talking about the great music vs. no music while running debate.

Ok so it’s not really a debate but more of a personal preference. I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Yesterday I had 4 miles on my half marathon training schedule. Upon arriving to my go-to running location, the menacing clouds immediately began raising concerns.

(photo from last summer)

Now let me just tell you…I have zero luck when it comes to my iPhone. I’ve lost 2 iPhones and dropped one into a full tea cup (it was surprisingly fine!). So of course, with the threat of rain, paranoia sneaked into my head. God forbid I ruin another iPhone!

That’s when I decided to do something I’ve done only once before…I ran without music! And I loved it. There wasn’t a single second when I missed the blaring noises that I assumed I was so reliant on.

I didn’t fumble with my headphones. I didn’t feel the need to constantly skip songs. I wasn’t concerned about my iPhone falling to the ground, because it was safely sitting in my car. I just…was.

And it.was.glorious. Liberating. Peaceful.

There are many benefits to running without music. Safety is obviously the #1 concern – you are significantly more aware of your surroundings without the distraction of music. Running nakkie also keeps you in tune with your body, allowing for clear judgement with every step. Finally, without the background noise it’s just you and your thoughts – the ultimate “me time.”

There are plenty of other reasons to run without music, but it truly is a personal preference. There is no “right” and “wrong” side to this debate.

In many ways I just wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t a slave to my playlist. I wanted to see if I was capable of running a “long” distance sans music. I got the answer I was hoping for, but I also discovered an entirely new pleasure to running that I never before experienced.

Looks like I picked up a great new habit!

Do you ever run/exercise without music? Do you find it benefits you or makes the workout more difficult?

♥ Irina


  1. May 21, 2012 / 11:37 am

    The quiet time is awesome, but I do always prefer running with a playlist. I’ve been starting off the first mile of my runs in silence to just clear my head, then popping the headphones in after that when I need something to concentrate on other than “well this is no fun!”

    • May 21, 2012 / 10:51 pm

      Haha yea one of the downfalls of running without music is the fact that you are much more aware of the distress your body is in. And something I probably won’t be able to 100% live without is the burst of energy that sometimes comes with a great song.

  2. May 22, 2012 / 11:04 am

    I see advantages/dislikes of both. Mostly, my music is there as “backup” if that makes any sense. As in, I often zone out into lala land, but if my mind quits thinking, it makes for a good distraction until I start thinking of weird random things again.

    • May 26, 2012 / 1:39 pm

      Agreed…it definitely makes a great distraction but my problem is that I end up concentrating on the music too much!

  3. May 24, 2012 / 10:56 pm

    I went through a similar experience – I used to feel so reliant on having my music with me for every run, thinking I “needed” the distraction. Then there was one run where I had to decide between using my phone to play music, or using my phone to track my time/distance/pace with the My Tracks app. My phone didn’t want to do both at once. So I picked My Tracks and ran in “silence.” It was wonderful, for the same reasons you mention – no fumbling with cords, no skipping tracks (even though I spent SO much time perfecting my playlist) and I could listen to the ambient noise around me. I haven’t run with music since, other than the few times I find myself on a treadmill (which is rare). Since then, I’ve trained for and run tons of races, including half marathons, without music. Granted, lately I’ve been doing a lot of runs with other people, but I still do plenty of runs, including long runs, solo. I actually kind of like the “peace and quiet” which isn’t always so peaceful depending on where you are, but sometimes it’s just nice to be in tune to your surroundings.

    • May 26, 2012 / 1:43 pm

      Wow, I hope to train for my half marathon without any music as well! I haven’t run with music during my last few runs and don’t miss it at all. But treadmill + silence = hell! I need to find some running buddies in my suburbian area because long runs are starting to get a bit lonely :/

      • May 26, 2012 / 3:36 pm

        What area are you in?

        • May 26, 2012 / 5:16 pm

          North suburbs…north shore

          • May 26, 2012 / 5:19 pm

            Have you checked at your local running store? Usually they have weekly group runs, or they know where the local running clubs are, and which ones would be a good match for your current pace/distance. I started running with groups last fall (sometimes at my local store, sometimes with a local club) and I love it! I have met so many awesome local runners, and have improved so much, and now I always have someone (or a group) to do races with! I highly recommend checking out as many local groups as you can, to find the best match for you.

          • May 26, 2012 / 6:50 pm

            Great advice! It’s crossed my mind for a brief second but I should definitely look into this more. I had no idea that you can find running buddies by pace (I’m a slow runner and was primarily worried that all others would be too fast for me)!! Thanks 🙂

          • May 26, 2012 / 7:17 pm

            I know at least by me, there are a few different running clubs, the “fast” one that is a little intimidating, and then the more fun/social ones (including the one I run with). But usually at running stores for their group runs, they have people of all paces. I know my local store does run/walk programs every few months for beginners.

  4. May 25, 2012 / 11:46 am

    I bet the quite time is awesome! If I ran in a prettier place, like trails or on the beach, then I probably wouldn’t use music. But a lot of my running is on the streets and the noise of cars whizzing past aren’t exactly peaceful. So music is a must to me! I have a shuffle so it clips perfectly on my shorts 🙂

    • May 26, 2012 / 1:45 pm

      Yea the scenery around my house is severely lacking as well. The place that I typically run at is a 10 min drive and sometimes I just feel like stepping out of my home and running. Cars are annoying and noisy but they are a surprisingly good distraction in terms of background noise!