Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dropping the Earbuds

   When I started running, I was a slave to my iPod.  In fact, I distinctly remember being nervous for my first run with a buddy because I "couldn't run without music."  My, how things have changed since then.  
  Today, I typically do not run with music.  My general rule of thumb is no music for five miles and under.  I have run 7 with no music (or buddy...I never have music when I have a buddy), albeit that one was not by choice, haha.

The other day, Ashley mentioned that she had read something about music distracting you from the true joy of running and asked if I agreed with that.  So, I thought I would take a look today at the positive and negatives of running with music.

Why music is good...

It provides a needed distraction
Running is a very mental thing.  Sometimes, your brain will convince you that you can't when your body really can.  Music can be a great distraction from that little voice that says, you can't do this...this is too hard.  I know that for me, music was a huge help when I started out as it helped me keep that voice quiet.  Additionally, the playlist my brother-in-law made for my first half marathon was a lifesaver at times.  Somehow, just when the going got rough, the perfect song would come on to keep me going.

It combats boredom.
Let's face it...running for 90 straight minutes with no one to talk to can get boring, especially if there is no good scenery (heaven forbid you're on a treadmill...eek!).  Music is a great way to keep from getting bored.  Running is so much about motivation, and who would be motivated to do something that causes boredom?

It can help build a workout.
Sometimes, I base my speed work on music.  Every time the chorus of the song comes on, I will speed up.  I enjoy this workout much more than looking at my watch for time intervals...especially when a good song is on.  :)

Why music is (sometimes) bad...

It can provide an unnecessary distraction.
Not long after I started running, I remember running with a buddy who said "I can't believe how many people run with iPods...they are missing so much." At this point, music was a bit of a crutch for me while running, but her words really stuck out to me.  I'll be honest, at first, I didn't know what she meant.  Then I tried it.  There are few things more peaceful then the sounds of the outdoors as you run early in the morning.  Don't take my word for it.

It can become a crutch.
Lack of music for many people becomes a reason why they can't run.  This makes me think of the past season of The Biggest Loser...no excuses! :)

It might block some great things.
Some of my best thinking happens while I run.  In fact, I am that girl who says "I need to run it out" when I'm stressed about something or have a difficult decision to make.  The quiet of an unplugged run really gives you a chance to think, and I have come to some definite realizations while doing it.  I decided to buy a house while on a run.  I decided to suck it up and take my first plane trip while on a run.  I decided to run a half marathon while on a run (well...I guess that one makes sense, haha).  I have even come up with some of my best lesson plans while running.  Great things can happen when you get away from all those distractions and just do something for you.

What do you prefer while running...music or no music?

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