For many runners, including myself, a music playlist is a vital component to the workout experience. Specific songs or beats can increase pace, help time pass by and even bring about creative directions. But what happens if you decide to change up the norm? Is it better to run without music?
Although running with music is usually preferred, there’s something to be said about (literally) tuning out. In an essay for WomensRunning.com, writer Hannah Hartzell explains why she chooses to run without music. She notes that running without music makes room for typically overlooked motivations, such as repeating mantras that keep you moving, acknowledging breaths of fresh air and recalling memories that specific landmarks elicit. It’s a tactic that’s increased Hartzell’s connection with both nature and her own mental processes.
5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Run Without Music
With research pointing to positive correlations between motivation and music, it can be difficult to ditch the headphones and seek other incentives. Reflecting on my experiences, music-less runs are definitely uncomfortable if you typically tune in. However, I’ve noticed practical outcomes to this approach which range from increased safety to better race training methods.
Before updating your playlist with new songs, keep reading for what a run without music offers. It may just inspire you to give the sounds of your running course a listen instead.
1. Increased Safety
According to Verywell Fit, running without music increases your safety and sharpens your senses. If you’re not distracted by music, you’re more likely to be alert for cars, bikers and other runners. Increased safety is also a benefit to evening or early morning runners, as obstacles are harder to see in darkness. Running in silence ensures that all attention can go towards hearing and seeing what’s around you, something that’s principal in minimal light.
2. Race Preparedness
If you’vee ran The Spring Lake 5 or the New Jersey Marathon/Half Marathon, you’re likely familiar with the emphasis placed on running without headphones. Training for lengthy races without music can prove to be advantageous when approaching the starting line. It’ll not only help in terms of preparedness, but in pace-setting as well.
3. Consistent Pace
Listening to songs that have faster beats can have you pushing yourself at inconsistent paces. The result of this is too much exertion at varying points in your route, and potentially less energy to complete your run. Silence can help you maintain one desired speed and remain focused on breathing, which is helpful for race training or increasing stamina.
4. Opportunity to ‘Unplug’
American adults spend upwards of 11 hours a day interacting with various forms of media—a number that’s going to continue rising. As a mentally and physically-freeing exercise, running without music presents a chance to fully disconnect. If you’re not distracted by sounds and screen sights, you’ll certainly find clarity for a moment.
5. Improved Concentration
If you’re a morning runner, you know that an entire day of responsibilities and tasks is waiting for you afterward. Choosing to run without music is an ideal way to organize your thoughts and mental to-do list. It gives you time to be in touch with prioritizing, and readies you to approach the day with a clear mind.