I get a strange look almost every time I mention to someone that I generally run without music.
“Isn’t it boring?”
“Don’t you need the distraction?”
I’ll occasionally run with music or while listening to a podcast or a book (the last one I listened to was Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it), but I generally prefer to run without bass-heavy earbuds pumping Taylor Swift (a guilty pleasure) into both ears. Here’s why:
- It’s safer, especially when running outside – co-existing with traffic on public roads isn’t easy given distracted drivers and the widespread fundamental disregard for runners; I want to be able to use every sense to keep tabs on what’s going on around me. Even if you are running on closed roads or in a park, there are still safety concerns, especially for women.
- You can focus on your breathing, your form and your performance – running optimally requires regular checks of your heart rate, posture, cadence, pace and how you are feeling.
- You can brainstorm ideas or work through problems – I give lots of speeches, do lots of writing and am currently experiencing some life transitions. An hour-long run gives me some time to do some deep thinking about what I want to say in a big speech, how I feel about an issue or how I want to approach a situation.
- You can clear your mind and get better at eliminating distractions – my mind races during the day as I juggle multiple priorities, interact with others in meetings, via phone calls, texts and social media. A break from all the noise is both cleansing and clarifying.
- You can fully enjoy the experience and your surroundings – imagine taking an hour per day to be fully present, appreciating nature and hitting a reset button? Stop imagining it and start doing it.