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Monday, May 10, 2010

MBE: Music

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Topic: Music

Question: Do you listen to music when you work out? When you race? What are you top ten favorite songs to get pumped up to?

Oh, no, Jill! You gave me an opportunity to rant about iPods and music during a run.

I am anti-music during an outdoor (non-treadmill) run. Let me rephrase - I am adamantly anti-music during an outdoor run. That includes races, street runs and trail runs.

Several reasons. First off, I consider it dangerous to wear headphones in or around traffic. 100% of the time, if you are near cars, you need to be able to be aware of your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones, you might think you're safe, but you're not. Your mind is elsewhere.

What about when cars aren't around? On the trail where I run most of time time, you still have dogs, bicycles and other people that you need to be aware of. Things can happen, and you should want to hear it. I have had a runner in my group who was unaware that a cyclist was behind her and got into a collision with the cyclist. In the end, it was the cyclist's fault, but awareness is so important and frankly bikes aren't that loud. And don't get me started on the fact that it is just rude to wear headphones when you are running with someone else, or in a group.

Races? It's annoying and inconsiderate to listen to music during a race. If I'm coming up behind you and need to get around you, or I'm trying to say "excuse me," or I'm trying to let you know that there's a wheelchair runner trying to get by, or I'm trying to alert you to a race announcement and YOU CAN'T HEAR ME, I get seriously annoyed. I make exceptions for races over 15 miles, when sometimes you have to do anything you can to get through it, provided the race is not crowded and you have the volume very low. However, there has been at least one time in nearly every race that I've run where I've tried to get the attention of someone and I've been unsuccessful due to the fact that they're listening to music. Once at Lehigh Valley, I could actually hear the music myself, that's how loud it was.

My suggestion, if you must have something is to listen to a podcast or book on tape, that does not include music, only talking. I've done this, and it's not much different than running with someone who is talking to you, provided it's not too loud.

Let's be honest, though - do you really need music, really? Not all races allow it, so I think the best plan is to train without headphones, in case you cannot wear them on race day. It's not a good idea to depend on them all the time. And come on, you have to have headphones for a 5K? You can't run for 30 minutes without some sort of distraction? REALLY? I just think it's best to break that habit.

All of that being said, I do listen to music on a treadmill. I can't think of any reason not to. What I choose is Cardio Coach, which I've talked about in detail before (go look here!). What I love about Cardio Coach is that it doesn't make you "zone out" like when listening to other music. Instead, I tend to focus on my running, my body and what I'm doing even more when listening to Coach Sean. I think it's a great way to really get into your running. Even when I'm running outside without Cardio Coach, I think I'm better at being more in-tune and more aware of my running than I would be if I didn't train with him on the treadmill. I can't imagine the treadmill without it. I love Cardio Coach!

Ok, rant over. I know most folks disagree or do not feel as passionate as I do on the iPod/running issue. What you choose to do with your safety is your own decision, and if you feel safe or comfortable running with headphones and music, that is fine. I've gotten used to being on a bike or running and not being able to get the attention of headphone-wearing peeps. So, that's fine. Just please, if you're running with me, leave them at home.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Amby Burfoot's book "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life!"


marathonmaiden said...

amen to being anti-music during outdoor runs! i totally feel the same way and it's such a huge safety issue. gosh youve gotten me all amped up thinking about this hahaha :)

Kitzzy said...

I agree about not listening to music outdoors for safety reasons, but how is listening to a podcast or audiobook any different? It still seems like it would be distraction and hinder hearing what is going on around you.

Lacey Nicole said...

i'm super interested in something like cardio coach but very reluctant to fork over money for it. what if i don't like the music? what if it doesn't play on my little shuffle ipod (i haven't been able to get podcasts to play on it- it's all very mysterious).

you make it sound so appealing though and having a "coach" and a workout to follow is my dream! have you tried several of the volumes?

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I used to love running with music; in fact, I'm not sure I could have continued without the distraction + motivation. Now, however, I feel much better when I don't have music. That being said, a great song by Superchunk, Social Distortion, Husker Du, or the like gets me pumped and ready to go!

Kim said...

@Kitzzy - I agree, and I tend to not do podcast or audiobook either (it's rare, I've done it on a total of two runs ever). However, there are these people that MUST run with an ipod and insist that they HAVE to have it, so at least it's easier to do someone talking with only one earpiece in, and at least it's not constant volume.

@Lacey - I have all 8 volumes and I love them! They'll work on your ipod, not sure why the podcasts won't. Cardio Coach is relatively inexpensive enough that at least it's not too much dough forked out if you don't like it :)

onelittletrigirl said...

I think it is good to have something to be passionate about. Even if I don't agree 100%. I understand that not everyone listens to their IPODS at a decent level, and even then people disagree about wearing them. I figured the question would cause a debate, something I personally like; it's good to read different perspectives.

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