People always ask if I run with music. For me the answer is generally no. I have never been one to listen to music while I run. I only do on occasion when running outdoors or perhaps to get through a boring treadmill workout. I prefer to listen to the sounds as I run . . . the rhythm of my feet hit the ground, the sound of my breathing, my inner monologue, and also to the noises and sounds around me. By focusing on these sounds I am able to enter an almost meditative state as I run.
This preference to run in peace began when I was a rower at Colby College. There was nothing better than going out for a morning row in the eight on Lake Messalonskee on a glassy lake morning. Rowing requires an intense focus as all eight rowers attempt to take the perfect strokes together to balance the shell, a long straight arrow, sliding through the silver water. The sound of each stroke, each click in the oarlock, and each feather of the blade coming into the catch to drop the blade into the water in perfect unison was the sound of perfection. Breathing. Harmony. Peace. Power. Endurance and strength.
I still crave those moments and often miss that sensation. I find that on runs when I am alone or enduring a hard focused workout with a friend, or in a race, if I am able to bring myself into that almost zen like state then I am able to fly. Therefore I choose to run to listen to myself. Free without being plugged in.
This is a hotly debated topic according to Runner’s World Magazine. Check out this fantastic article where both sides are debated.
What is your preference?