It may well be the food of love but is it the food of runners? Oooh, controversial Jones! For some time now I’ve been intending to blog about music and running and hey, here it is!
If you’d asked me a year ago about running and listening to music, I’d have said, yes, definitely, I can’t run without it. I need the beat to keep me going and deter the boredom factor. I would have freely admitted that after a run I couldn’t have told you what I’d listened to but I would have been adamant that I couldn’t have done it without the music.
Dr Costas Karageorghis, a renowned sports psychologist at Brunel University, would probably have agreed with me. He was involved with the Run to the Beat Half Marathon which proudly promoted itself as “London’s music half marathon”. The idea being that live music would be staged at numerous locations around the course to encourage the participants in their endeavours. Except the year I did it (also the first year of the event), it rained before, during and after and I think I remember passing only two bands on the course. Were the other bands prevented from appearing because of health and safety concerns, because they didn’t want to get their hair wet or was it just the fact they didn’t want to get up early on a Sunday morning, possibly after a gig the night before!? Who knows, but it was so wet on that run my MP3 player eventually drowned about half way around so I had limited musical accompaniment!
In any event, until around this time last year I have always run with music but then along came parkrun. As I didn’t know the etiquette on my first run, I took my music with me but in the end I was so keen to know what was going on, it remained in my pocket! And it’s stayed there on a parkrun Saturday morning ever since.
Then last September I took part in the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield and because I had a running buddy on that occasion, it would have seemed rude to stick my earphones in, especially as he had sacrificed his race for my benefit (see post Thank You Sheffield for more details) .
The following month I ran the Givauden Ashford 10k – another very wet run and absol utely no point in risking the life of my iPod nano (yes, we’d progressed from an MP3 player courtesy of The Daily Telegraph).
The next run was the Paddock Wood Half back at the end of March and this event was promoted as a “music free” run. In fact if you were caught wearing headphones you would be excluded from the race. So on this occasion I had no choice. Bit daunting, 5k and 10k without music had been bearable. How would I cope during a half? Perfectly well, as it turned out. I even had a little chat with another runner on the way round.
And now, when I go out for my “training” runs, I very rarely take any music with me (possibly partly due to a lack of pockets during the warmer weather!). I think I may have been partly influenced by a book I read following a reader review in Runner’s World – “Running with the Mind of Meditation” by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche (I shall be blogging about this book at some point in the future). I would thoroughly recommend the book to anyone who runs. Unlike the reviewer, it has not made me run any faster (yet) but it has made me look at my runs differently (but more of that another day).
Anyway, I digress! Not like me, I know! So what am I trying to say? I suppose if you think you can’t run without music, give it a go. You might be surprised and by the sounds of it, you might have to get used to it! At last week’s Amba Hotels City of London Mile, while waiting for the start, we were advised that music was not allowed and I was surprised to hear them announce that all organised runs except parkrun are now music free zones – really? Has anyone else heard that?
Another benefit I have personally discovered during “quiet” runs is you seem to get more respect from other runners/walkers/dog walkers/cyclists if you’re not wearing earphones. And, if you’re deaf to the world during an organised event, you’ll find you miss the humorous quips and friendly encouraging banter from other runners.
What do you think?