Monday, July 18, 2011

Running with Headphones

I know that some people swear by running with headphones. Some almost can’t handle running without them.

I however am generally a no-headphone kind of runner. I like feeling in touch with my body while I run. I like hearing what’s going on around me – when I run outside in particular. I want to hear vehicle traffic and bicycles coming up behind me.

I also feel like the music that I listen to affects the pace that I run, which feels strange to me when the tempo changes from song to song.

However, once in a while I feel like having something to think about other than running. For example, last night I did my long run – 12 miles – the longest yet in my marathon training, and I wanted some distraction. I almost had the hubby come along with me on his bike, but he was busy with other things that I didn’t want to take him away from. So I wore my MP3 player.

Right now, my player is loaded with up-tempo songs that are great to work out to – some rock, some techno, some club, some R&B. I think the music really motivated me, and the pacing seemed to be relatively consistent.

I was really cruising along at a 9:38 mile pace, which is good for how my long runs have been going lately. Not my fastest for the same distance, but very acceptable and maintainable. Since I’ve been running 10+ minute miles on my long runs this summer (especially on really hot days), I was happy.

I don’t know if it was the cooler weather of the evening that helped or the tempo of the music, but I it was a good run. I enjoyed listening to the peppy songs. Too bad MP3 players aren’t allowed at the Chicago marathon. I’ll have to depend on all the craziness going on around me to keep me distracted from the pain. That is one of the reasons that I chose Chicago over a marathon close to home – all of the bands, shows, crowds and hullabaloo that the Chicago race has to offer its participants along the route.

Update: I just read that the ban on headphones has been lifted for the race (except for those competing for money).  Sweet!

I ran happy and energetically last night rocking out to my tunes. That is until the MP3 player died at mile 8.5. I was crushed by the loss! But I recovered and finished the last 3.5 miles strong.

The hubby even decided to ride my route backwards to meet me and make sure I was OK. I ran so fast, that I met him in the last quarter mile turning into our subdivision.

How do you feel about running with headphones? Pros? Cons? Have you done a marathon without music?


  1. Biking or running, I like to hear the traffic coming. I'll do earbuds indoors, but there's no one I have to share the road with there.

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