Addicted to Music

The other day I saw the strangest sight while on my run – two girls, running side by side, both with their earphones in listening to music. It seems in recent years that people have gone from enjoying listening to music while exercising to being dependent on it in order to work out. Whether on the roads or in the gym, hardly anyone ever runs without some sort of music-playing device.

Everyone, that is, except me. I get asked time after time, “Laurel, how do you run without music?” It’s simple really – that’s what I’ve always done. Just me, myself, and I. To me, it just seems normal.


I guess it’s kind of like meditation. I focus in on what I’m doing instead of dissociating with music. I concentrate on how my body feels – my breathing, my form, and the flow of my body. I notice what is around me – the rolling terrain, the beautiful sights, and any tree roots that I might trip on. I plug into my body instead of plugging into an MP3.

Running also gives me time to reflect. I think about how my day has gone and what the next day will bring. It gives me time to problem solve. I seem to think more clearly when I am running and figure out solutions to my problems more easily.

Maybe it’s because I almost always run outside. The rolling terrain and beautiful sights I see when running keep me pretty occupied. Plus, I oftentimes run with other people. I’ve had some of my best conversations while running. I’m not sure if it’s the endorphins, but running seems to bring out some really deep and meaningful discussions.

I do resort to music when I’m at the gym, though. Running in circles around an indoor track or in one place on a treadmill is just too boring. For me, running on a treadmill for 10 minutes literally takes the same amount of mental strength as it does to run for 90 minutes outside. I guess that’s why people call it the dreadmill.


I guess my question for people who always listen to music is, “What happens when you race?” Oftentimes races will have rules that people cannot listen to music during it – partly for safety reasons, but also partly because it gives them an “unfair” advantage. Most races aren’t really that strict about this rule, but what happens when they enforce it? When someone is so dependent on their music then how can they have a decent race without it?

Do you like to listen to music when you’re running or prefer to run solo?


11 thoughts on “Addicted to Music

  1. Pingback: Winter Adventures | Joy Runner

  2. I need to train myself to run without music and stop being so dependent on it so I can do it during my cross country races! You make me see the “me-myself-I” running a lot better than I thought it would be! Thankyou! 🙂

  3. Exactly!!! I gave up music a while back and now I can’t go back. I also now pay attention to how my body is feeling, my breathing, etc. etc.
    That said, we had a major ice storm over the weekend and so I had to run on a treadmill – 32 miles total. It was awful. I didn’t have access to music and then the TV’s at the gym went down. 3 hours of complete boredom yesterday!

    • oh my goodness- I can’t even begin to imagine 3 hours of running on a treadmill! That sounds miserable, especially without TV or music. That takes some willpower!

  4. Running whilst listening to music (especially when you’re with someone else) just seems so anti-social! I love music, but I absolutely hate headphones, so I’ve never run with music. I get especially annoyed when I see people wearing headphones in races, completely oblivious to other people around them – this is not usually allowed in England due to the way in which UKA rules are interpreted, but lots of people do it anyway. I also choose not to wear headphones form a safety perspective – it’s so much harder to be aware of your surroundings if you can’t hear if there’s anyone around!

    • yes, very antisocial. The girls I saw doing that were definitely running “together” as they were side-by-side, but other than that they were not really running together. I love talking to my friends when we go for a run, so this just seemed so weird to me. Yes, the safety perspective is also very important. I can kind of understand running on a bike path with headphones, but I’d be terrified to run on the roads with them in. If there was a car vs. human, then the car would win.

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