Good question….when I first started running a little over 5 years ago, it was always with music. However, as I was training for my first long-distance race in 2008 the USTAFA banned headphones for all certified races (they have since repealed this ruling). Once I learned of this ban, I immediately stopped using music so I could learn to run without. From that point forward I’ve never gone back, and have no plans to run with headphones again.
There are several reasons for this:
- I found that it was easier to get lost in the rhythm of running without music. While music can keep you entertained, my running rhythm tended to vary depending on what was playing at the time.
- I do a large percentage of my running on public roads (with traffic) and feel MUCH safer without headphones.
- Related to number 2, I like to be as aware of my surroundings as possible, especially when racing. In some of the bigger races I’ve participated in, it is common for other runners to bump in me or in some cases practically run me over. Almost always when this happens I look up to see that they have headphones in.
- Finally, I do as much running as possible with friends, and I would much rather talk to them than listen to music.
Well…there it is. All that being said, I don’t have anything against people running with music, and as a matter of fact my wife usually runs with headphones. Just not my preference these days. Probably much more than you wanted 🙂