Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lose the tunes: The Music Dilemma

I've been thinking for the past few weeks about whether or not to bring some tunes along for my 13.1 mile run through Baltimore. When I ran 12 miles four weeks ago, my music was so important to me that I risked my iPhone's life, and ended up putting it in a two week coma, to ensure that I be pumped by music on the run. But, three weeks later, on another long run rainy run through the city, with nothing but a watch and a water bottle, I learned that a run without music might be even better. That day, I just let my mind wander. I thought about many things and I focused on my speed. I learned that I'd rather get lost in the run than lost in the music.

I was still a little worried that I'd get to mile ten or so and regret not having Katy Perry or Anthony Keidis blaring in my ears. But then I read the race packet and my mind was at ease. Because Baltimore is going to come alive for this race. There will be bands playing at every mile. There will be an expected 30,000 spectators at the start of the half, and countless more at the finish. I definitely don't want to miss the excitement of the crowd because I'm lost in any music.

So when I got to the part of the packet where it explains the headphone policy, I was far from disappointed that the running festival discourages the use of personal music devices. And it, yes believe it, made me even more excited for the race...

We believe your race experience and those around you will be greatly 
enhanced by leaving the headphones at home or in the car. Running 
headphone-free allows opportunities to develop camaraderie with your fellow 
runners and to enjoy everything the race has to offer. Plus, volunteers and 
spectators will be on course cheering you on and providing directions to help 
get you to the finish line.

I think I'd much prefer that camaraderie and cheering at mile ten than Katy Perry or Anthony Keidis in my ears.

But I know some people swear by their music. My friend Hadley can't live without it. And a DC running blogger I read, Liz, had to go buy a new ipod the day before running the Chicago Marathon. Which I totally get, I'm just enjoying life without them these days. What about you- are you bound to your headphones or do you prefer to go au natural?


  1. It's funny! I go through phases where I don't want to go anywhere without music in my ears. And then I'll have weeks when I can't stand to listen to anything that isn't the sound of what's around me. But you inspired me to try my next run without any music!

  2. I actually ran a half last month without music and it wasn't so bad! And it sounds like the crowds will be enough to pump you up. I also think it is a good test of mental endurance to run without it.

  3. Recently I've running with music less and less. On my long runs I still bring my ipod, but I usually listen to an audiobook or podcast. When I listen to music I end up going too fast and tire myself out.

    However, I do like when someone is playing music outside, such as during a race.