Why I Run With Music

Sony Walkman

I can’t remember if my very first run was done to music. If it was, then considering I only ran about three feet before stopping to have a massive coughing fit, I wouldn’t have got very far through a track (although, possibly approximately twelve Lawnmower Deth tracks). I know I ran with music when I started blogging about my running though, as at the end of each post, I listed the tracks I listened to.

The only time I run without music now is if I’m running in a group and the only time I run in a group is for a speed session as that’s over quite quickly – I’m really not a social runner; I want to be on my own and zone out and listen to music, not chat or be able to hear the sound of my feet thumping the ground or my inelegant heavy breathing.

However, one day in 2008, after reading a debate on the Runner’s World forum, I decided to have an experiment and run without music, and you can read about it here (sorry for the broken links to pics). I concluded my experiment by concluding I don’t like running without music.

I’m also one of those runners people get wound up about by running races listening to music. Seriously, people actually get annoyed by this and apart from them being a touch uptight, I have no idea why this would be something to get annoyed about (unless they can hear music leaking from other runner’s earphones, which would wind me up something chronic). I know some people say you can’t hear the marshal’s instructions if you’ve got music on but I’m not blind and the marshal’s instructions are usually more in the form of pointing, not talking and if they’re your usual happy smiley clappy marshal, they’ll get a happy smiley ‘thank you’ back, as listening to music doesn’t actually affect my ability to speak.

As a back-of-the-packer, I really couldn’t bear to be stuck at the back listening to a load of women chatting to each other and I need my music on to drown them out so, these days, I check race websites carefully to see whether MP3 players are allowed or not. Luckily, MP3 players are welcome at the Dymchurch Marathon I’ve *gulp* signed up to do at the end of November (it doesn’t matter how many times I say I’ve signed up to do a marathon, it hasn’t sunk in yet and according to my calendar, I need to start training for it soon).

When it comes to what music I’ll play when I’m running, I’ve got to say, it’s usually Audiofuel. Audiofuel keeps me running at a somewhat consistent pace, whereas if I’m listening to my own music, I’ll probably end up stopping to skip tracks or I’ll decide I really need to hear a certain song RIGHT NOW and stop until I find it and some of my music just isn’t great to run to in the first place (have you ever tried running to Cardiacs?)

In the gym, however, unless I’m in the mood to hear something specific, I’ll just keep my iPod on shuffle and listen to whatever it throws up. One thing I discovered when I joined Fitness First in London years ago though is that you need some noise-cancelling earphones so you only have to hear your music, not theirs too, otherwise you’ll end up with some weird dance/indie combo. Well, in my case, anyway. You may well end up with a dance/dance combo and not notice any difference.

So, yes, I’m definitely in the pro-running-with-music camp. How about you?


Sanity saved with Sennheiser

As you know, I recently went back to my old gym as I wasn’t making enough use of the gym in the town centre. One of the reasons I left my old gym was because customers had control over the music and could whack it up as loud as they wanted, which drowned out my own music on my iPod.

Now the stereo’s been moved into the office, customers can’t control the sound level themselves. But they can ask a member of staff to turn it up – and they do. The other day I almost gave up my workout early as the merging of my and their music was driving me mad.

I’m too shy to complain. I can moan, but I can’t make a complaint face to face. I used to have a friend that would complain about everything – she’d complain about the noise of the air conditioning in a hotel room, she’d complain about the table she was given in a restaurant. I wanted to die with embarrassment when I was with her when she was complaining, although secretly I admired her assertiveness.

So, when I got home, I emailed the gym and asked if they could keep the music at a reasonable level (I know, how pathetic of me). I also got on Twitter and asked for recommendation for headphones that totally cancelled outside noise out. A friend recommended these Sennheiser earphones,


so I bought them and they’re great. The sound is a lot deeper and richer than my previous earphones so I hear a lot more of the sound I want to hear, rather than outside sound that I don’t want to hear.

You already know I’m a massive fan of Sennheiser’s Thru the Gears Audiofuel collaboration, and now I’ve got some of their earphones to listen to it through. Sennheiser impress me. Well done, Sennheiser.