If you’re like most people, you probably listen to music while you run. It can be nice to have some hard-driving rhythm going on in the background. Running is hard work and (gasp!) it can even get boring. Any distraction can be welcome!
But I’ve never listened to music while running. Here’s why:
1. Safety, safety, safety! You can’t hear whether something—a car/bike/other runner/dog on or off a leash, etc.—may be heading your way, especially if you run on city streets. Most likely you won’t be looking carefully, either. It’s much safer not to assume that everybody else is looking out for you!
If you can possible leave the earbuds home, please do. I’ve seen signs asking for information on hit-and-run accidents involving runners, and even one of those is one too many. I’d hate for the next one to be you!
2. If you’re running in a park or on a trail early in the morning, you won’t be able to hear the birdsong, people talking, their dogs barking—all the sounds of life. For me, this is a real pleasure, and it helps me stay connected to my surroundings. It also helps make running—or walking, for that matter—more enjoyable.
3. If you have to run on city streets, there are still plenty of things to see and hear. Even cars, buses, trucks and other traffic can be interesting. Is that your neighbor taking the dog for an early walk? Is the local newsstand—or more important, the local coffee shop—open yet?
Try using your new awareness to lighten up the intensity a bit. Do you tend to pull your head forward in the effort to get where you’re going? Try allowing the sights and sounds of wherever you are come to you. Do you tend to send your feet way out in front of you? Allow your legs and feet to take you where you want to go.
We all tend to lose our form when we get tired, but if you can think of lightening up every so often, you might notice a difference in your energy and ease.
In my next blog, I’ll tell you how you can use your ears to help your stride. Sounds crazy, right? Not really.
For further reading, I strongly suggest Malcolm Balk’s very fine book Master the Art of Running.
Meanwhile, happy running!
Photo via Good Free Photos