Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Music to My Ears

For whatever reason, whether or not runners should listen to music while running has become a topic of debate. I usually love debating, but I kind of hate any controversy that serves to drive a wedge between groups of runners.

Barefoot vs. traditional? Zero-drop vs. cushion? I don't want to hear it. Do you.

That's why I was surprised when Runner's World's Facebook page posted an image a few weeks back that opened the floodgates for heated debate that was filled with un-runner-like animosity. People feel really strongly about this, apparently.
The image in question...the comments on this from both sides of the debate were simply ridiculous.
When it comes to my choice, I like to have my music with me when I run. I can run without it, and often I run without headphones and just let the ambient soundtrack play from my phone speakers, but if I had my druthers (can you tell I'm reading To Kill A Mockingbird right now?) I'd choose my Run It! playlist and Yurbuds any day.

My music falls into three main categories and a sub-genre, but I mix them all together into a single playlist because I like to hit all three areas of my mood, rather than choosing a mood and sticking with it the entire run.


Pump Up 


Anything catchy, upbeat, and fast-paced falls into this category. Of course, there's a fair amount of unexpected alternative and rap here too...Who can say no to DMX or The Clash? They clearly go together. These songs kick up my pace, and usually I can be found mouthing the words or pretending I know how to play air-piano while running.
 Zone Out

Probably my favorite songs, but the least-represented on my playlist, my zoning out songs are sometimes slow and may seem like the antithesis of workout music. But they follow a very important rule: I know every. single. word. Matchbox Twenty (oh my gosh, favorite!), Goo Goo Dolls, The Spill Canvas...These are the best when I take the playlist off shuffle and let a few of them play in a row, especially if I'm well into a long run and facing some tough miles.
 Power Songs

I love Nike+ for having this option. Adding power songs to my playlist lets me hear exactly what I need to at any particular moment with just a tap of my phone screen. (Seriously, people who ran with Disc-Mans and Walk-Mans? How did you do it?!) Most of my power songs are about overcoming something. I've got "How Far We've Come" by MB20 right alongside "No More Drama" and "Work It" by Mary J. Blige. And for some reason "Backstabber" by Ke$ha is super effective.
Downright Embarrassing

If you've even glanced at the pictures in this post, you know what I'm talking about. 3OH!3? Gangnam Style? Avril Lavigne? Yeah. You need some space for embarrassing music that you genuinely love on any running playlist. A run simply wouldn't be complete without it!

As far as running races goes, I've never run a race that was so crowded with spectators and entertainment that I felt I was missing something by having my music going. I guess if I ever run a Disney race or any show-stoppingly huge race, I'll stow my headphones.

But for the most part, I'm just a music lover. Music gives me a way to deal with my head; the beauty of music is that it speaks to us in a way that is personal and intimate but also universal. If running is the perfect time to get my head straight and refocus my emotions, then what better companion is there to run with than a good playlist?

Do you run with or without music?
What about at a race?
What are your top music choices right now?

ABK

18 comments:

  1. I'm definitely a runner with music - it pumps me up and I can't hear my breathing, which is awesome on tempo runs :)

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    1. I like to cover up my breathing, too :)

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  2. I most certainly do run with music! It occupies those 'long' miles and pumps me up when I want to go faster. It's also great for long runs, which as we know, can feel super long when those legs are toast! ;) Thanks for so many options to pick from as well. My playlist is very fluid as I'm always adding/deleting songs. :)

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    1. I need to change my playlist more often, but I'm super lazy so it rarely happens haha

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  3. Yay, thank you for posting your running playlists! I see some songs that I am definitely going to steal for my own playlists!

    I HAVE to listen to music when I run on the treadmill. I tried to run on the treadmill once without it and I barely made it one mile. When I run outside I usually don't listen to music unless I'm having a tough time. Music is a must to pull me through bad patches ... especially my girl Avril :)

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    1. I ran without it on the treadmill once and it was strangely relaxing...but I was watching The Fast and the Furious (with subtitles on mute) so I was distracted lol.

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  4. About 2/3 of the time I run with music, and 1/3 not. If I have headphones in I'll turn down the sound when in a crowded area or trying to cross a street without lights. And all my runs are in the daytime right now - if I ran at night I wouldn't use it. I always start races without music but carry my shuffle with me in case I need it. Like at mile 21 of the marathon. And my music choices... I have a running playlist, lots of up-tempo stuff (nothing current) and then I include albums I want to listen to. Right now a Brazilian compilation, Michael Franti (almost always some Michael Franti), Etta James, Sinead O'Connor, Best of Sun Studio, and Dave Brubeck.

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    1. I love the artists on your playlist...very eclectic.

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  5. I have to say that I'm pretty shocked about that ad from Runner's World. Why add fuel to the fire? I personally couldn't care less what any other runner does. I listen to music when I'm training (as long as it's not raining and I have a charged iPod!) but I never listen when I race. Do I care if there's other racers there with earbuds in? That's absurd! LOVE so many of your music choices too!! Rock on girl!

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    1. I was surprised too. I think it's one of Remy's de-motivational posters, but it really didn't sit well with the FB group.

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  6. I really need music, not just while running, but in my every day life. I find myself not even listening to the words, but just having that background noise. I listen to it in my car really quietly, not too loud. I listen to it while I run, but quiet enough that I can hear things around me. I really can't stand loud music (or loud noises in general) so I would say I am pretty safe about my headphones. Your playlists look exactly like my playlists. I have some super embarrassing music on there and I have been obsessed with the Macklemore Pandora station lately. Those zone out songs are some of the best, because singing along makes the miles go that much faster.

    Great post!!!

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    1. I'm the same...I like some ambient noise (it's why I like the headphones I have) and loud music annoys me, but I have music on pretty much constantly in my life.

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  7. I used to wear headphones, mostly because I was following a couch to 5k plan. When I stopped doing c25k, I found that I was mostly tuning the music out. Now I listen sometimes but never with headphones, I just listen through my iPod speaker. Doesn't bother me if other runners wear headphones unless they are also completely oblivious of their surroundings, particularly at races. There are plenty of people who are completely oblivious without headphones.

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    1. Oblivious runners are the worst...the kind that just stop right in front of you or cut you off on the way to water or whatnot. But yeah, I see that from all different kinds of people! I do mostly tune the music out once the run gets going, but it's nice to be able to tune back in if I'm struggling.

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  8. I have no problem with people running with headphones and I train with music on occasion but really think that racing with headphones shouldn't be allowed! There are so many sights and SOUNDS to take in during a race that you miss when you wear headphones! I love hearing people cheer for me while I'm racing!

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    1. I'd definitely agree, except that 90% of the races I've run have been small/quiet. Maybe it's because I stay local and don't shell out money for big-named races, but a quiet half marathon course is like Kryptonite for me!

      It's interesting that you say you think it shouldn't be allowed...I'm glad you enjoy the sights and sounds of races, but others run the races for their own reasons :)

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  9. I HAVE TO RUN WITH MUSIC! The only time I run without music is when I am running with my friends....I have been a lot better about being safe though! I only run with one ear bud and I make sure the music is low so I can still hear traffic!!
    Also
    1. I love Kesha
    2. Have you ever seen 30h3! in concert? Amazing :)

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only music-runner out there!

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