Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Music.
Question: Do you listen to music when you work out? When you race? What are you top ten favorite songs to get pumped up to?
I started running using the Couch to 5K Program, so I used my ipod shuffle loaded with podcasts to help me track the intervals. Once the intervals were over, I used my own music to keep me occupied. One day after finishing the program, I was running on a very hot day and could hear/feel my earbuds moving around in my ear. It irritated me so much that I yanked them out and ran without music, and it didn't suck.
At first I worried about how I would be able to get through my first 4 mile run without music, but I did fine. I found the lack of music helped me focus on my breathing and stride better, and enjoy my surroundings, so I've been running without music ever since. Every now and then, I'll run with my ipod for a little variety, or if I am running on the treadmill, but both are very rare. I think music alters my stride/pace because it sets the tempo, which is ever changing, and I can't ever find the perfect playlist.
I never race with music anymore -- I did for my first few 5Ks when I was still using the podcasts -- but most races discourage it. With the addition of triathlons to my race schedule where the use of headphones is cause for disqualification (and the logistics of using an mp3 player are not worth the trouble), it's not even something I consider anymore. I brought my ipod to use during my first marathon, since I'd be running by myself, but I opted to run without it (left it in my hotel room) and I'm glad I did. I never needed it and I think I enjoyed the experience more because I didn't tune out my surroundings.