Running Silently

On Monday I was looking at the website for the half marathon I’m going to run, and I came across these words: No Headphones.


I’m not gonna lie, I’m completely freaking out about this. I have never run without music or a podcast or an audio book playing in my ears. NEVER. Music helps me get through the rough patches in my runs, gets me excited and inspired, and keeps me smiling. How will I make it through 13.1 miles without music? Liz, my former roomie and an avid runner (Hi, Liz!) told me she runs without music all the time and that it can be very refreshing to just listen to the sound of her feet hitting the ground and that it gives her the chance to think about things, so clearly it is possible to run without music. I’m just not sure I’m going to like it.

Of course, the only way to find out is to try it, so this weekend for my long run, I am going to leave my iPod at home. (How lame is it that just writing that out scares me a bit?) I am just hoping I can get through it. Naturally, I will report back after the run to let you all know how it goes.

Do you exercise with or without music? If you run without music, do you have any tips for me??

And THANK YOU for all of your support and encouragement. You guys really are the greatest!

14 thoughts on “Running Silently

  1. I am with you. I HAVE to have my music. It is very strange without it. You hear your breathing and your feet hitting the ground. Some people love that, but I LOVE the music, it keeps me going and going and going. I focus on the music instead of the running and I think I go farther. I guess you'll just have to play the music inyour head. GOOD LUCK. ihave been thinking about a half marathon also, but chickened out.


  2. i run without music (we don't have an ipod, so its more out of necessity, ha). i just think about my day and whatever is going on in my life while i run, and its not so bad to not have music =)


  3. I think I've misplaced my ipod…or lost it. Which means for the past couple of weeks I've had to hit the gym ala nothing. Luckily the gym has been on a music roll. Outside though? on a long run like that? You'll be fine! You'll probably be more in tune with what is going on with your body during your run. More aware of everything happening.


  4. I have to have music as it really pushes me. But I also got that rule in my face when I joined the Kidney March to walk 60 miles in September. They won't allow us headphones or music.
    Almost made my daughter not sign up….
    But you can do it, there will be tons of folks around you to get you motivated.


  5. I read an article about the new guidelines with headphones and races. Some people think it is a safety issue, so they put it in the rules. Many people still use their headphones at races and lots of races don't enforce this rule, but by putting it in the official rules, they are released from liability if something happens. I would say to take your headphones to the race – there may be tons of people running with them…


  6. I started out running without music because I hate the arm band that holds my ipod! SO I'm not sure what it feels like to run with music…but I have also heard that they don't always enforce the no headphones rule. Perhaps you can try it with out for a while and bring them just in case and be pleasantly surprised when you can use them!


  7. Hey Erin. I was a race director for a local 5k race for several years. Our liability insurance for the races required that we ban headphones, no dogs, etc. It has been a touchy subject for many runners. But it's due to safety and liability reasons. Unfortunately, you are at a much higher risk of injury if you have earphones on. We even have a police officer on our running club board, and he tells us that muggers will attack people with earphones instead of those without because they are more distracted. Not to freak you out, really. I run with earphones sometimes and just keep the volume low so I can stay aware of what's going on around me.

    That said, I trained for my marathon with earphones… and then ran the marathon without them. I really was fine. You get so distracted by what's going on around you and excited about the race that it keeps you occupied. Another option is to find a running buddy. I've done that too and it helps pass the time more quickly for sure.

    Don't torture yourself during your training. If you want to wear them during training, do it. You'll be FINE on race day, I promise!


  8. Oh one more thing. Some people will STILL wear their music even if the rules say not to. Then this becomes a disqualification issue, based on how picky the race director is, etc. I know some of the bigger races have started putting people on the course to write down numbers of people who wear headphones and DQ them. If you get DQ'ed you won't get an official finishing time or be an official “finisher.” A lot of people don't care about that. So it's up to you. Many RD's (race directors) don't do anything about it–although I think there is more and more pressure from the USTAF to enforce the rule.

    Probably more than you wanted to know. But it might help give you more information! : )

    Happy running! You can do it!


  9. I can run with or without and it's only been recently that I started listening to audiobooks. I prefer to run (or walk as I'm doing now) with an iPod but many times I've left it at home by accident.


  10. Our Little Rock marathon “suggests” no headphones, but says if you do use them to only use one earphone so you can hear what is going on around you. You might just check to see how adamant they are about it. Good luck.


  11. First of all I don't think I've introduced myself to you yet. lol. I started my own blog and my 'journey' in December and I've found your blog very helpful and inspiring. *smiles, looks down, and rubs the back of her neck with a small chuckle* LOL. As for working out without music. I wouldn't have made it past the gym doors without my 'cheap-o mp3 player'. But it's pretty much been out of commission this past week and a half. It hasn't been impossible but I admit it's been a bit odd. Yet I also have a job that requires me to hike for hours at a time without headphones and it really is amazing to have the quiet and room for thought. You can do it!!
    and thanks for your blog. 🙂


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