music headphones

Should You Run With Music?

The age old question that has plagued many runners; should you run with music? I’m sure you’ve seen runners on trails with their phones tucked safety in their arm bands (or the stubborn few who hold them while running!). When I’m running at the park on weekends, I can count on one hand runners who don’t run with headphones. There’s been seasons of training where I have given up music completely but I also ran my marathon with some music toward the end. So here’s the kicker, should you run with music? Well that depends on who you ask.

Yes, you should run with music:

If you are a beginner, I would recommend running with music. However, I would caution you to be smart. DO NOT hold you phone while you run. It changes your stride and can alter your form which can lead to injury. You should not be holding or gripping anything while you are running.

Be aware of your surrounding when running with headphones. Either take one earbud out, run with the volume turned down, or turn on the ambient noise setting if you headphones have that option. Listening to music is very helpful as a beginner. You can set up a playlist and use that to pace yourself. An interval workout is very easy to do if you jog during the verse and sprint during the chorus. If listening to music makes running easier for you, then I would say go for it!

No, you should ditch the headphones:

However, if you’ve been running for a long time and you’ve never been on a run without music, I would suggest you lead your headphones at home. When you’re not listening to music, you’re aware of your surroundings and your body. Listening to your breathing and your footsteps is crucial when it comes to running. By taking music out of the equation, you’re giving yourself more time to focus on your body. This allows you to make any changes necessary and helps you reach your goals.

I began going on silent runs when I realized that I began to ignore my music. Just because I had music playing didn’t mean I was listening to it. If I’m not going to listen, then what’s the point? Without music, I could focus on my breathing. It made me realize that my breathing was shallow and that was the main culprit holding me back. I would have never realized this with music on and I would have never improved my form and speed.

Running is supposed to be a stress relief. By giving yourself some quiet time, you’re really taking in your surroundings. Without being distracted by music in your ears, you can calm your mind and really benefit from your run. Not only with you feel better because of the endorphin rush afterwards but you’ll feel better because you were mindful throughout the run.

I think it’s a good balance between both types of runs that make a good runner. For speed work, I’ll tend to leave the headphones at home. On long runs, I’ll reach for an audio book. Sometimes, I’ll go completely technology free for months!

Do you listen to music while you run? Do you prefer music or audio books while running?


5 thoughts on “Should You Run With Music?”

  1. Thanks for posting! I’m about to start running again after having my daughter! I’ll definitely make a playlist today! Music can be so motivating! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I usually do listen to music while running, but keep it pretty low as I want to be able to still hear my surroundings. I do really enjoy running without music now and then and agree that it’s great to be able to hear your breathing and cadence.

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