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Running with Music

The snow and ice melted quite a bit today making my run a little less dangerous. Although I love a little danger in my life, I’d also like to keep my teeth. I decided to stray from my training schedule and do my long run today since the weather was so nice (don’t tell Hal Higdon). That meant today was a 6 miler. I actually decided to go through with it mid-run since I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, but luckily I felt just fine.

Like I mentioned before, I haven’t ran that distance since…oh probably May (I know, I’m a bad runner), so I was a little hesitant but it was happening today or tomorrow so either way I’d be feelin’ the pain.

This is also (obviously) the longest run I’ve taken since I’ve been in Eagle, therefore I wasn’t really sure where my normal path would take me. The running path was clear until abour 2 1/2 miles. After it ended, I just kept truckin’ along the road. For the most part I felt safe on the road just because it doesn’t have a ton of traffic, but it’s pretty windy too and I’m not sure the traffic that does come through anticipates runner’s. There’s also not much of a shoulder so it’s basically me, the road, and the cars (and the few deer that run across).


So, while I was running I wondered whether or not running while listening to music was a good idea. I try to keep the volume low enough to potentially hear a car honking, but I’m not sure if that’s good enough (these are literally just thoughts….I can’t imagine running without my music..even though I’m sick of most of it). So, I thought of pro’s and con’s to running with or without music:


  • It distracts your mind from the actual running.  Sometimes, especially if you’re training for something and have to complete a certain distance, it’s nice when your mind stops concentrating on the grueling task at hand.  Some songs just pump me up and get me excited to run, where others remind me of a certain time or experience in my life and give me a nostalgic feeling. Distraction is also always welcomed when I’m on a treadmill. I know I’m not the only one who stares at the time thinking, “Seriously? It’s only been 3 minutes. Ahhhhh!!”
  • It can motivate you.  As I mentioned before in my playlist post, some songs are good songs, but other songs are great songs. Maybe not technically, as in according to the Grammy’s or Rolling Stone magazine, but they always pump me up when I need it, and that’s all that counts. I actually read a couple interesting articles that music does in fact, pump you up, therefore…
  • It can increase your speed and performance. Songs that get you excited tend to increase your blood pressure, therefore warming your body up quicker which can result in increased speed. I know this feeling: a song comes on and gets me super pumped and I even notice I’m probably running too fast. It’s a great feeling though because it’s almost like your confidence in yourself starts to soar for some reason. Your mind temporarily shuts out the negative and truly believes you can kick some serious ass.

hmm cold or nervous...?

(I’d say running on a closed course with music is pretty safe. They tried to ban music at the Chicago Marathon in 2008, but it didn’t work out so well for them…as in no one listened (except for me!) This picture is from Eugene).

So, those are just a couple pro’s I thought of. Now to the con’s…


  • You’re distracted.  Yeah, this is the same as the first pro, but distraction while running outside can be a bad thing too. This was what I was thinking about yesterday. I’d get distracted looking around searching for deer then try to bring myself back to the present and concentrate on the ground (is there ice?) and the road (am I about the get hit by a semi?).  Forcing yourself to think about potential dangers definitely makes running less enjoyable, but I think until I’m fully acclimated with my running route it’s something I need to do.
  • You’re too pumped.  Over-accelerating when your body isn’t ready can actually lead to injury. I’m not necessarily worried so much about injury, but I am worried about pushing my body too hard when it’s not ready and burning myself out. That’s part of the game with endurance running, you have to keep slow and steady or you will pay for it towards the end. This happened to me when running the Eugene Marathon. I started with a pace group that was actually going much too fast (they were going about a 7:40 pace and should have been going 8:00). I pushed myself way too hard to keep up and struggled big time at the end. You’ve (and by you, I mean me) got to figure out an appropriate pace for you and stick with it. So watch your pace during songs you love!

Those were really the only cons I could think of. Sure, your eardrums might suffer from music too but I’m not including that :).  So, as of now, I’m sticking with my IPod.

There are things to keep in mind though when running outside. I think it’s important to:

  • Try to run when it’s still light outside. This is just safer than being out in the dark. It’s tough though especially in winter since the sun goes down so early.
  • Don’t blast your music. When we lived in Chicago, there was tons of traffic all the time. I had to be alert because sometimes, driver’s aren’t (we’re all guilty of that!).
  • If you’re in a busy intersection, walk through or just step aside and wait until it’s clear.  I did this a couple times yesterday when I saw cars coming. Since I was on a windy road, I realized it’s harder for people to see me around a corner so since I saw them, might as well take the precaution and wait it out.
  • Wear reflective gear. Yeah, I don’t have any of this yet so yesterday I was sportin’ all black (smart, I know). I did ask for some for Christmas though so hopefully I soon won’t be missed!
  •  I also run on the side facing the cars so I can utilize my cat-like reflexes and dodge the cars in case they head straight towards me.

I read an interesting article in the NY Times about the human body and music. It basically implies that we’re made to move when we hear music, so when we’re exercising, it’s only natural that we move and flow better when we’re listening to some tunes. We’re programmed to dance! Finally, I have a good excuse for dancing all the time even when the song is only in my head. You can check out the article here.

So, here were my stats from yesterday:

Boston Marathon Training, Week 1

  • Distance: 6.11 miles
  • Time: 55: 48 min/sec
  • Pace: 9:06
  • Calories: 530
  • Deer Sightings: 1- a big buck!! It was awesome!! He was standing a little too close to the road for me, but hey, I’m not his mother. He was so beautiful. He must have been irritated with his lady friends because I didn’t see any nearby. He probably needed a break.

My first long run is done! Feels pretty good. Only have to make my way up from 6 to 20…no big deal :).


Do you listen to music while running outside?

1 comment to Running with Music

  • Woohoo! One down, many more to go 🙂
    And um, love that your run recap included the number of deer sightings…I totally do that in the summer with bunny sightings 🙂

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