The sound of no music

Music-wearing runners do look cool, I’ll grant you that.

Sometimes I ask myself: am I even a runner at all?

Unlike many of my marathon-training brothers and sisters, I don’t do the running tights. And now, on top of that, I must admit to another sign of my possible non-runner-ness: I don’t listen to music while I run.

If I want a tune, let it pop into my head – but I won’t be packing any gadgets.

The main reason is safety – I run along the streets and so I’d very much like to be able to hear oncoming vehicles, falling pianos and other common obstacles. I find I live longer that way.

Also, be it traffic rumbling on the roads or birds chirping in the woods, the sounds around me help create the atmosphere of my run. This is especially true for races – how could anyone wear earphones during a marathon? You’d miss the buzz of the starting area, the cheering crowds and the bands playing along the route – what motivational tunes could possibly beat that?

And there’s the possibility of safety announcements or emergency vehicles during the race – I note that the Dublin Marathon organisers strongly discourage competitors from listening to music, for this reason.

Still, I suspect that MP3-enhanced running is becoming seen as the norm. Wearing a new fleece running top for the first time during the winter, I noticed that it had a little hip-level pocket to hold a small music-machine – there was even a ‘play’ button on the outside. (No sign of a vinyl record-player version of this garment yet.)

But there’s hope for me yet. The UK edition of Runner’s World magazine has just announced the result of a survey: 53% of respondents run while listening to music on a gadget. That leaves me in a healthy minority of 47% – and as we’ll have less accidents while running, soon we’ll outnumber you MP3-heads.

So, do you listen to music while you run? If so, is it for motivation or entertainment? And what do you listen to?

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2 Responses to The sound of no music

  1. Dear Run and Jump,

    I plug my headphones in if I think I’m going to have a problem staying motivated, or think I might have trouble switching off – a run after work, for example. For this, I often tend to come back to the soundtrack of Grosse Pointe Blank. It’s a mix of energising and uplifting songs that seem to compliment a blast of fresh air. Thank you for creating a forum where I can share this – at last! I’m looking forward to hearing other suggestions…

    • Run and Jump says:

      That’s a great soundtrack (and film) indeed – ‘Blister In The Sun’ by the Violent Femmes must be a cool song to run to.

      If you want something with a bassline, I’d recommend ‘Got Your Money’ by Ol’ Dirty Bastard: – remember to do the double-handclaps while you run!

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