Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Headphone sound-off, wrap-up

So, lots of information I got from folks about thoughts and considerations re: headphones. To wrap up:
  1. People who wear them in heavily trafficked areas are just plain annoying, and this includes many races. They get in the way and don't hear people who are trying to pass them.
  2. Some people prefer to be more in tune with their surrounding and their own internal experiences and feel that music obsures this.
  3. Some people like the music a lot, particularly in training, but don't listen to music during races.
  4. Most of the people who commented felt that they were faster without it.
  5. There seems to be a relationship between relative running ability and listening to music, although cause-effect isn't clear. As I've told my students, if A and B are related, then either A causes B, or B causes A to happen, or something else altogether causes A and B to happen at the same time.
  6. It seems that one of the differences between people who prefer to run with and those who run without is that those who prefer to run without are more competitive, even if only against themselves.
I like to keep an open mind about things. When I originally wrote that post I was kind of ticked off, but you have all (as usual) have given me a lot to think about.

I also think from time to time about my marathon at Ironman Louisville. My previous marathon was 6 hours. My bike split was painful and slow and my feet and legs were sore and I was so tired. By the time I hit the run, I'd been racing for more than 10 hours. Yet, my Ironman marathon, without headphones, was 6:20, and I felt strong.

Perhaps the headphones have been holding me back?
Finishing a little faster would be nice because I'd like to be able to finish some races comfortably, instead of when it's really hot out and the pizza is all gone. Not that I don't enjoy the occasional drama of the last minute finish, but it's hard on me emotionally, ya know?

It bears investigating, I think. I still like my runs along the bosque dirt trail with my music from time to time, but perhaps now I start focusing on the various signals my body gives me. Maybe that will be the next stage in my "evolution" as a runner!



  1. I love run training with music when I'm alone. It's my favorite form of dancing. But in races, I fully understand and comply with the "no tunes" rule.

    I also like to learn the life story of a new running friend and I usually meet these new folks and feel quite connected and this makes me happy.

  2. I listen to audio books when I run and they most certainly do not help me run faster. In fact, if I'm really paying attention they probably slow me down. They do have the advantage of getting me out the door, though as I have a rule about audiobooks. I'm only allowed to listen when I'm running or on a long drive and since I never go anywhere it has to be running.

    I'm pretty sure that focusing on the running makes you faster but that's what track workouts are for, non?

  3. Nice posts.
    Like I said, I love my music--but I do find that as I get better at running, sometimes I just like to get into the running groove--feel myself stretching out, breathing well, pushing a little harder, etc, without the headphones.
    I think that the music can lull you (me) into not feeling or trying as hard as when you don't have it.
    On other days, it makes me run harder!
    Just depends.


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