I remember the song that played on my iPod as I crossed the finish line of the Broad Street Run in 2008; my first ever road race. From then on, every time I hear “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae, I am transported back to that moment in time.
I have heard arguments on both sides of whether or not to wear headphones when running. Some argue you must not wear them because it is important to be aware of your surroundings, while others couldn’t imagine getting out on the road without their playlists.
While I do not sit on either side with any conviction because I enjoy both, for me it depends on the circumstances.
If I am running with another or a group, no music. I’d rather chat with my fellow runners and be present in the group. If I am out logging miles with a four-legged friend, no music. It’s not allowed, first of all, but also I need to be completely in sync with the dog I have and aware. If it’s an all around super good day and I just feel like getting out there and enjoying the moment, no music. It’s nice to sometimes get lost in the way my body performs out on the road.
If I am hammering out daily miles to get them in and go for a quick run, my iPod is with me. It helps sway the focus from my body and keeps me moving. If I’m having a not so top notch day and I know a run will be the perfect cure all, my iPod is with me. Losing myself in the music helps me to de-stress. If I am racing, the iPod is with me. This is the ultimate de-stressor and keeps me motivated to not mentally take myself out of the race.
I do not, however, have playlists. I rarely run without simply using the shuffle function of my iPod. This way I’m surprised with what comes up next and the genre and tempo changes throughout my run. Sometimes, just the right song will kick on at just the right moment and make all the difference in my run.
In 2010, I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando, Fla. When I was coming around the bend into the park and got my first view of Cinderella’s Castle, Tom Petty and The Heartbreaker’s “Learning to Fly” started. I never hear that song without seeing the castle in my head. Crossing the finish line of that race “On to the Next One” by Jay-Z was playing and has the same effect.
I have a few songs on my iPod with lyrics that include “run” and goofy as it is, these songs keep me going and make me laugh when I hear them mid-run. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to run,” Linkin Park’s “Easier to Run,” Sugarland’s “We Run” and Avril Lavine’s “Runaway” to name a few.
I should also admit that I have a ton of live music on my iPod; those crowds are cheering for me right?
Whatever kind of runner you are, music or not, be safe out there, know your surroundings and keep your head in the game.