I'm having a bit of a coming out on my blog. I've stayed out of the discussions regarding music while running for as long as I have been running, but I can't remain silent anymore. I listen to music while I run. There. That's it. I've said it. I am "out". I not only listen to music while I run, I LOVE to listen to music while I run. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Now let me explain why...
1. It's the only time that I can listen to the music I want to without someone telling me how much they don't like it, talk over it, ask me questions through it, etc, etc, etc. With all of my kids around, very rarely do I get an uninterrupted moment to think, let alone listen to my favorite tunes. For instance, I have been up and down tending to kids three times since beginning this post.
2. Music helps me steer the voices in my head. Sometimes, my head has to work through things and this usually happens while running. Again, it's my alone time. It's the way to I figure out how I really feel about something. It's how I discern many things in my life. With the physical output that running and now swimming offer me, it helps streamline my thinking so that I can work out whatever is going on in my head. Music helps here as well. When the voices in my headed are pulling me in many different directions, the music helps me to find a rhythm and that in itself offers a calming effect that relaxes me and helps to clear the mind.
Also, when running a particularly tough run, left to my own thoughts without the music, it is much more difficult to motivate myself to continue. The right music will uplift me and I can pull myself out of the funk more quickly.
3. Prayer. I pray most when running. Oftentimes, music is a prayer to me. 99% of the music I listen to is Christian music. I have a few artists that aren't but, typically, I've got some very spirit-led music directing my thoughts and heart towards God. I have had many situations resolved, prayers answered, and problems figured out while listening to music on the run. The songs speak to me. So music is a form of prayer for me.
4. Not always on. I don't listen to music at all if I am running with a friend or a group. I feel that the person I am running with should have my attention. Otherwise, why run with someone? I usually don't even bring it with me, but I will if there is a chance I will end up running on my own.
I also don't wear music on many races. Some of the longer ultras I will have it handy, but I don't wear it very much. I like to be alert to the people and activity around me.
If I am running in crowded or busy areas, or at night, safety comes first. I either turn the tunes off or take out at least one headphone. And I buy cheap headphones so that I never really block out the background noises anyway.
I completely respect those who choose not to listen to music while they run. I think it is an amazing thing that they can tune into their own happy place within themselves while they are out on the road. I know I am capable of doing this as well, but I just don't want to. I love music too much to not enjoy it when I am most able to appreciate it.
Many of you know that my favorite band is Third Day. They are a Christian Rock band with a Southern rock influence. Even as a Yankee growing up in Massachusetts, I loved Southern Rock. And Rush, which isn't Southern Rock, unless you are from Alaska. Third Day has a very distinctive sound and their music hits a place deep in my soul like no other group. Lately, their song "Slow Down" has been getting a lot of replay on the run.
I can't wait to see them in September! In preparation of their arrival, I have been listening to them almost non-stop, with the exception of a few Coldplay and Rush albums. I hope they can stand my singing at their show!
So, feel free to chime in on the music issue, but no bashing anyone...play nice!