To Run Or Not To Run (With Music)?

I’ve been running for around 5 years now & I can count on one hand the number of times that I have ran whilst listening to music. In fact, I can count it on one finger. 

Sennheiser Running Earphones

On the one and only occasion that I ran to the beat, I was pacing out my usual 7.5 mile route from my home near Southend Airport, along the seafront & back. I chose to listen to my iPod as my running partner had recently started a new job and I needed some way of taking my mind off the task ahead. However, the mp3 player caused more of a hindrance than a benefit.

For starters, I had no pockets or a band that would strap my iPod to my arm, meaning that I had to hold it in my hand. Anyone that has attempted an 8 mile run clutching their music player would agree that it’s pretty awkward. Secondly, I actually struggled to find a playlist that  matched my tempo / heart rate. I figure that my indie rock music taste doesn’t quite sync with a 180+ bpm workout.

The aforementioned aside, I could have invested in one of the thousands of iPod accessories & downloaded a few apps that would match my iTunes / Spotify library to my running pace, but I opted against it. Why? I figure because although music can help you get into the zone and block out the outside world – I didn’t want that. I don’t have any issues with runners listening to music, but many of my routes passed through high traffic, urban areas. Places that required you to keep your wits about you.

We’ve all read the horror stories online, of runners being hit by cars. Many are fortunate and escape without any real injury, but there are some really sad stories of aspiring athletes and fantastic individuals not being so lucky. Even without music, I’ve had a couple of close calls, at times when I’ve wanted to shave a second or two off of a training run – we’ve all been there (haven’t we?).

Ok, so running & music don’t work for me, but I’d love to hear from some of you that it does. Has it helped you to break PB’s or do you listen just to block out the noise? Are you extra cautious of traffic or does it not really bother you?


8 thoughts on “To Run Or Not To Run (With Music)?

  1. Tezza,
    I cannot get going unless I have some tunes to get me to focus. i agree that it gets me to think less about work stuff, as I know I would be thinking about that and deffo run in front of a maxed out Citroen Saxo blasting 120db tunes.

    However I think that it is all a question of degrees. i am running a lot slower than you mate so I have a lot more time to fill to get even a couple of miles in, whereas you are finished, showered and having a fry-up before I even can spot the finish line 🙂

    • Haha!I’ll admit there are a fair few pimped out Saxo’s around Southend (or at least there were before we left)

      The main thing is that you’re out there man… As long as you’re sensible with the tunes (which I’m sure you are) – you have nothing to worry about 🙂 Completely agree with the helping you not think about work. I do exactly the same on the train…

  2. Such a good question. My ipod broke and I dont have the money to replace it, so at the moment I dont have any music to run with. I dont miss it when I run outdoors at all, but sometimes (ok a lot) I have to treadmill train and I do miss having music then.

    • I thought about this when writing the post. Treadmill running I figure is a different story, think I’d have to invest in some kind of mp3 device for that.

      Have a little look on eBay – should be able to pick up a bargain, or if you steer clear of iPods you can get a good value mp3 for under $50.

  3. I listened to music once when I ran too – at that time I was averaging 8:45 minute miles over a 7.2 mile course (hardly any traffic, rural area – great for running). Being an aging metal head, I chose Metallica Ride The Lightning as my tunes… The beat was so fast that I wound up completing my first mile in just under 7 minutes. By the second mile I was completely spent. Never. Again. It was hilarious.

  4. I have my IPod on shuffle although the slower folk & singer songwriter tunes I tend to skip 🙂 Also I tend to skip the faster power metal tunes otherwise you end up wanting to sprint! I do like a bit of prog rock although with a thirty minute run you may only squeeze one song in sometimes.

    As I review a lot of music for Get Ready To Rock! running with my music is a good chance to give it a listen.

    I do keep a keen eye on my surroundings though as like you much of my running is on pavements and involves lots of road crossing.

    • I think that’s the main problem, finding songs that don’t make you want to go to bed, or at the other end of the scale, sprint as fast as you can.

      I figure running is a great time to “get some work done” in your case. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to keep fit & be productive at the same time 🙂

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