Do you like to run with music in your ears or do you like to listen to the world go by? I have three different scenarios when I listen to music and when I don’t.
- Your solo long run – I usually listen to something on a long run where I run by myself. This is not to say I always bring music and when I travel I do like to experience more of my environment. If you are on a scary busy road you also want to have full awareness of your surroundings or if you are on a single-track trail where you might be passed. (This is nothing more annoying than coming up behind someone and they don’t hear you).
I recently had an experience of running up behind a lady who was running but then started walking. She was weaving from one side of the path to the other. I yelled “passing on your left” but by her reaction when I passed she did not hear me as she yelled, “For F**ing sake you scared me to death”. I am sorry but if you are on a public path and you start walking you should aware of those approaching to pass!
I was also running on a busy road with little or no shoulder. I wanted to be able to hear oncoming traffic in case I needed to dive for the bushes. In this case, I would turn on and off my music depending on how far ahead I could see. During the same run, I also wanted to hear all the birds and wildlife, including dozens of chickens waking up. Sometimes it relaxing to just sit back and experience the run.
- Running in a group – I find it annoying when runners join a running group, then have their earbuds in and when you start to chat they don’t hear you! Why join the group? I am a chatty runner and like to strike up a conversation. I don’t go to a run group to run by myself. I go to talk if you run with your earbuds you are shutting out the group.
- Races – A lot of races have a rule on headphones. I have never run a race with headphones, even the smallest races. I know a lot of people need this to get them through a marathon but I prefer to experience the race and immerse myself. I have heard people argue the point that they do their long runs with music and they need it for the race. I would say practice without headphones. If you run a big race then it’s worth listening to the crowd move you along!