Friday, February 09, 2007

Wired for sound

I heard part of tapering is to get your mind off stressing about the race so I was thinking about running with some music. You know it may sound strange but I've never done it so I'd like to try. Do you all listen to music when you run? Do you think it helps and in what way? I know some people don't care for it what are your views on this?


  1. I suppose my 'problem' is I have always run with music when I run alone. I started with it back in the days when Sony Walkmans were the rage. Not sure how I lugged one of those things around! I still have old 'mixed tapes' of music I ran with, as much of a non-hoarder that I am I can't bear to part with them.

    Now in races music is almost like a security blanket. And the sort of music I play depends on the race - faster stuff for short races etc. If I'm feeling like slowing down I just think ... one more song ... one more song ... And for marathons I put it all in a particular order and make sure fun songs come on after the three hour mark when I really need it.

    Two of the things I love doing most in life are running and listening to music, being able to do both at once is so good :-)

  2. Can't help with that one Scott - I've never run with music. Unless you count running around Parliament House when the bands were rehearsing for Australia Day.

    Perhaps not, if you haven't tried it in a race. I don't think music is neccessary to run a good marathon ;)
    (sorry Tess)

  3. Don't listen to Owen!!! heh heh heh

    I don't think I would enjoy running a 'serious' marathon without my music. Like Tesso I put my songs in order so I have slow ones at first to make me ease into it and not go too fast.
    Then the tempo increased towards the end. From 30km I have fast drum beating tunes and my feet move in time. Well...they try :)

    Music blocks me listening to my breathing and makes me a calmer runner. It also blocks out those annoying sounds like someone alongside you or someone around you with floppy shoes or a beeping HR monitors.

    I have been training without my music for past 12months but I wouldn't RACE anything over 10km without it.

    I'd very much suggest you trying it out for a few shorter runs to see how you like it.

    One more thing - they fit/stay easily in my ears but a lot of people I know tape the earphones in to ensure they don't have to worry about them falling out during the race - especially someone who is going to run as fast as yourself.

    If you choose music, chose something that you like, that means stuff to you - you will be more likely to listen to it than tune out, so to speak.

  4. Tried it out late last year for a training run and found it to be pretty good it can take the boredom out when running alone. However when I tried it in a race situation I hated it, found it annoying. I switched it off and was left running the remainder of the event with an ipod dangling off my arm serving no purpose.

    I suppose it also depends on where you run, crowded areas is good as it drowns the traffic noise out but on a nice trail run I much prefer the sounds of the bush.

    Just give it ago you may enjoy it and end up like Tesso and have the earphones surgically implanted into your ears ;-)

  5. Yeah, that bloody Owen!

    But I'm very firmly in the Owen camp. I bought an MP3 player over a year ago, choosing a model specifically because it would be good for runnin', but I tried it a few times and decided it is more trouble than it is worth. Even when running alone I just prefer to be more in tune with my surroundings rather than a tune and don't like the distractions of dangling wires and things not sitting properly in my ears. And it is one more complication to worry about when getting ready for a run. I think the best running experience I had with it was running home one night from work through the streets of Nishi-Azabu/Hiroo area with Jimmy Hendrix on at full blast. I did enjoy that I will confess. My runs in the taper though will be very much focused on running a specific pace, so I really don't need the distraction of music. Too much else going on in the ol' noggin, and let's face it, it is a noggin that is not well-equipped for multi-tasking. It is male for a start...

  6. An interesting question Scott.

    I don't use music when I run but there was a very serious study done in the States last year on the effects of music on running. From what I recall the bottom line was that music can play an important part in helping improve running efficiency and form.

    Aside from the technical stuff I think music on the run is probably a good thing, although I would be wary of tuning out in busy or dangerous locations (roads, lonely paths, etc)

  7. Yeah it's an each to their own type thing so have an experiment and see for yourself!


  8. Have never run with music, too dangerous where I live (I rely on hearing cars before I can see them).

    If it was me I could imagine getting distracted at times - it's much easier to focus on anything else when it hurts.

  9. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. I find that if I'm not really motivated for a training run, music helpes me check out and just get on with it. Conversly, if I feel like running, my mind just checks out and I get that "oh, wow, I'm done already" anyway (and music annoys me at these times).

    I have never raced with music, and suspect that I don't need the chance of things slipping off or out. On a training run that's ok, because you can slow a bit to fix stuff up - this could stop a PB in a race. I also think that in a race I want to be a little more in tune with other runners (e.g. motivation by catching people or not letting them pass etc.).

    Headphones. I used to have headphones that fit in your ear, but they fell out too regularly. Now I have the type that fit over your ear (but have a small speaker, not the massive ones) and they seem to sit well.

  10. "It is male for a start..."

    What do you mean Stephen - I'm great at thinking of one thing at once.

    Scott, another option would be to have a friend (I'll volunteer if you pay the airfare) standing at each aid station so you can toss it if it becomes annoying.

    As for Don's suggestion of it possibly improving running form... Sorry Don, but I've never seen a world championship or Olympic marathon won by a person wearing a sound pod; and those runners usually have reasonable form.

    Yours sincerely,


  11. I have just recently started running with music. Most of my runs are alone and the tunes help distract the mind.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  12. Do it! Its good for a million reasons. I like it a race as it covers over the sound of my breathing (like Tess said). In training, its good for just zoning out (or is it getting in the zone??).