Running without music. It’s something that I don’t really think about as extremely abnormal but causes a fair amount of amazement from people when I say something that alludes to this fact about me.
I was recently giving one of my “sales pitches” to a friend for Apple Pods (honestly I should get a commission, because I’ve sold at least three pairs to people by now) and we were discussing the benefits of the music connectivity with the Apple Watch and mid-conversation she realized that I don’t run while listening to any music. It is a topic I debate about with a lot of people, many of them runners and I don’t have a ton of rationale behind it other than I think it just makes me a more self-aware runner and quite literally forces me to listen to my body.
Some athletes may be gifted with the ability to multitask, listening to a variety of beats throughout their workout while maintaining a pace, breathing appropriately, and of course trying to be safely in-tune with their surroundings and connected with themselves as individuals, but unfortunately I am not one of those people.
In the past used music to cover up the sound of my breathing, thinking that if I couldn’t hear it that it was regulated, therefore, “okay”. Now I don’t think that much about my breathing at all. I’m paying attention to things like my heart rate, both with my fitness tracker as well as simply being able to feel my heart pounding in my chest. I have a significant poker face when I exercise and I’ve often had to vouch for my efforts but I know how hard my body is working because I can feel it, despite having a somewhat relaxed look on my face.
Learning to run without music as a crutch has made me that much more in synch with my body and mind while exercising. Becoming a runner was a process for me that happened somewhat accidentally, so being able to be at peace with myself during my time on the road and aware of how my body is feeling throughout that time has been a gift. It has also enabled me to be more confident in my ability and push myself harder through visualization and a meditation of sorts. I’ve been able to experiment with envisioning how my runs will go and creating positive outcomes in my head. I believe I’ve become an even better runner due to this practice because when I see myself achieving whatever it is on my mind I have more trust in my ability to actually accomplish it, which in turn gives me the energy to get it done in the “now”.
Even though I might have accidentally become someone who runs without music, I’m a huge advocate of it and I won’t be changing my ways anytime soon. There are times when I consider taking my headphone with me when I fall in love with a certain song, but I know in the long term, I am more powerful than a momentary slew of notes and sounds. I am my biggest and best cheerleader and my mind is the most prevailing tool at my disposal.