September 27, 2017

Music or no music?

A few weeks ago a jogger tragically died in Victoria, when he was clipped by a train whilst out running. It was drizzly and dark and the man may have thought he had more space than he actually did but he was also wearing headphones. So that raises the question: music or no music?

Running with or without music

Many races and marathons now actually ban, or certainly discourage, the use of music during a race. Their reasons are that it annoys other runners and also that you aren’t quite as aware of your surroundings as if you were music free.

I will often run with music and I find it keeps me motivated during long runs. I have used music whilst running for years and have suffered through the times of mini discs and the very large iPods that would get stuck because they were being jolted too much – than goodness for the shuffle! But I am generally very aware that my hearing is limited when music is playing; I don’t have it so loud that I can’t hear anything else, especially traffic. Even on walking paths you can get bikes which you really can’t hear very well so keep your wits about you.

I will regularly run without music though. I’ll often do this on shorter runs or during interval training. The great thing about it is that you can tune into yourself, listen to your breathing and focus on your steps. I find that you will often pay a bit more attention to your technique and style. Also take advantage of parks, the beach and the bush and listen to all that’s around you.

Pros

  • Keeps you motivated, especially during long runs
  • You can tune in to your own world
  • Develop a playlist to suit your training

Cons

  • You tune out of what’s around you – can be unsafe with traffic etc.
  • If you train with it you’ll often need to race with it
  • You can go through headphones; they break quickly in my experience
  • You can forget to focus on your technique and breathing

I do think music is a personal thing and on a 1, 2 or 3 hour run often you’ll need a bit of a motivator. But with or without it, be mindful of where you are running, who else is around and the environment you’re in. Try it with and without and see how you go.

What are your thoughts on music whilst you run?

Ten reasons I run

We all have different passions, hobbies and things we love. I’ve run for 18 years in one way or another and still love it now as much as the day I started. So why do I run?

  • The feeling after a great run; there’s nothing like it. I feel alive and pumped and de-stressed; running is a great time for thinking or zoning out
  • Fitness – no doubt about it; you burn about 600 calories in a 10km run (depending on speed, weight etc.)
  • Strength – after I have done an interval session I feel strong and I am training my heart to work harder
  • The itch/ buzz I feel  edgy if I miss my run; I need to go and smash out some km’s
  • Legs – yes you might have slightly larger calves and quads but boy are they toned! And as for your butt!

chocolate - great running food

  • Metabolism – again interval sessions help with this but you can increase your metabolism for 4 to 6 hours following a run. That means I can eat…chocolate, and experts say it’s good for you (ok dark chocolate and perhaps not a whole 200g bar in one sitting)
  •  Flexibility. I can run when I want and where I want; no gyms needed. Just put on your kit and you’re away
  • Bragging rights – I have pub and dinner party stories from my marathons. Endless stories!
  • Technical stuff. I can spend money on heart rate monitors, download my times and be a little bit geeky
  • Lycra and running kit – running means I get to laze about in my running kit a lot which is wonderfully comfortable
  • Ok so this is my 11th point but it’s a really important one. Races and fun runs. They are brilliant and motivating. You get to see other runners and push yourself; if you’re lucky you also get a goody bag and shiny medal at the end!

What other reasons do people have for running?

5 bits of kit to help you start running

Running is not a gear/ kit intense sport, however you do need a few bits and pieces. Here is a quick list of 5 items I think you need to start running….

 

Choosing the right running shoes is important

1)      Runners/ trainers/ sneakers – probably the most important item in your running wardrobe. Without them you may as well go all Zola Budd; with poor fitting ones you’ll get blisters, shin splints and sore feet. All in all it’s enough to put you off running and your budding running career will be short-lived. Get them properly fitted at a specialised running store and ideally get gait analysis done. One tip is to take an old pair of running shoes with you so they can get a look at how your foot pronates.

 

2)      Running shorts/ leggings – for me these are very important. Pick too short a short and you have Rafael Nadal’s problem; wear tracksuit bottoms and they can be too heavy. Make sure whatever you pick is comfortable and relatively lightweight. Key things to watch out for is chafing (shorty shorts can cause this), length (think about the cold winters and hot summers),  pockets (really useful for keys),  material – lycra I find fits well and washes well. My favourite brands are Nike, 2XU and Skins. I’ll talk about compression in another blog.