Converting to music
Aside from the occasional gym session when I'm feeling particularly anti-social, I rarely plug into my iPod when I exercise.
For some people this is just bizarre, and they couldn't possibly consider working up a sweat without their favourite tunes.
I understand why: music certainly has attractive attributes when you're slogging it out.
Except I haven't been partaking in musical runs, until recently. Some days I still can't stand it and I embrace silence; other days music has been a real lifesaver, helping me go further and faster.
So I'm weighing up the pros and cons of listening to music on a run.
- It's motivating - hit that Power Song and fly!
- It's fun - smile as you listen to that feel-good song and recall its memories.
- It's distracting - when all else fails and you want to stop, drift off into an album and let the minutes tick by.
- It's a buffer - hate the gym music? Annoying person next to you on the treadmill? Up the volume and say goodbye to the world.
- It takes your focus away from your body and listening to your own rhythm.
- It's a faff when you want to head straight out the door but need to fiddle around with gadgets.
- It's an even bigger faff when you desperately want to get off the random, awful tune that has somehow crept onto your playlist, without losing pace.
- It disconnects you from what could be a beautiful run, especially in the country, robbing you of one of your key senses.
- It can be hazardous if you need to negotiate roads, other runners or cyclists (in the short time I've been running with an iPod, I've nearly peed my pants at least twice when a bike zooms past from behind).
- It's not recommended by the Police, as less savoury types could take you by surprise.
Another environment I haven't considered here is racing. I haven't done a race listening to music and it'd be interesting to see if it takes me away from the atmosphere of the event, or helps me reach a personal best...
It's a bummer that more cons worked their way onto the list than pros, because I've discovered that it can be a great experience running to music.
I do like the fact I'm (currently) not reliant on music to get going, but in the last few weeks I've realised it does have benefits worth enjoying, which will get me tuning in a little more.
Would love to hear your experiences of running to music and what you think about plugging in during a race.