I’m doing something new on my next race again.

I have a 5k on Saturday and I have decided to run it without an ipod.

Running without music is something I have never done before, but it is starting to make more and more sense.

During my last half marathon, I reached a point where my music was really irritating me. I felt like trampling my playlist. Since then I have not quite been able to get back into the music I bring along during my runs.

When I started running, I believed that music would make the time go faster and distract me from the exhaustion of running those longer distances. Now I’m not sure it does either.

I also suspect that it might be preventing me from becoming more connected and aware of my body, my form, and my breathing. I need to pay more attention.

I’m nervous about a silent run because in some ways I think I use my ipod as a safety blanket and to shut out the world. It’s always with me and I’m not sure how I’d feel without it. Probably lost and confused. I have actually never experienced a race without music.

Scott Miles from irunnerblog.com wrote a great post about about running musicless, which is what inspired me to try this.

The whole concept of becoming more aware and connected with my body is something that I have been thinking a lot about. Most of us walk around completely clueless about the changes and symptoms and stages that our body experiences.

On Monday my trainer did an interesting thing. She made me do part of my plyometrics routine blindfolded. She had me jump up and off different levels of height and distances relying solely on my other senses and on memory. It was scary.

If I didn’t do it right, I would fall. If I was getting close to the edge, she would cue me verbally and I had to trust her completely. I was forced to focus and really THINK about the movements of my body. If I didn’t ground my mind, I would feel disoriented and dizzy.

When I finally took off my blindfold, my trainer told me that my form and performance had been better blindfolded than when I could see! She said that doing a blindfolded routine would strengthen my brain/body connection, allowing my body to respond more effectively with what I demanded of it. So I’m now ready to seriously start working on developing these neural connections.

Today: lose the ipod.

Tomorrow: blindfolded ninja.

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7 responses

  1. this is what i do all the time .. only recently have i started to use my ipod when i run on the treadmill .. But every time I do a run I do it music-less. Im able to listen to my body and i run with the rhythm of my heart, my breathing and my feet and i can keep a more constant pace because i can listen to everything as a beat and if i start to slow down you can listen to your rhythm changing and either increase or decrease your pace. I think its better than a heart rate monitor because when your running you can feel your heart beat and you know if your pushing yourself too much or if your need to go a little faster without over doing it. the other plus is im a people person and if i start seeing someone of my same pace running beside me or doing intervals and i keep catching up to them i start to talk to them lol … good luck on your run I hope it improves your performance (=

  2. I love running for the peace and quiet (two young children at home!) so ipod’s have never really made sense to me ;-)

    But I am fascinated by the blindfold experiment – keep us posted on that one. I must admit to loving the feeling you get when everything seems to be going really well: arms just right, shoulders relaxed, smooth breathing, minimal bounce….ahhhh.

    Of course that doesn’t happen much but it is good to be able to sense it when it does!

  3. I have never run WITH music – neither in training, nor in races. I just think it is an unneccessary extra weight – why would I want to carry it? But this blindfolding thing seems very interesting, maybe it is really worth trying..

  4. Haha, blindfolded ninja, I like that. What a great experiment your trainer put you through. As I have said to you in the past, you will love running without the music. Good luck and make sure to update us on how it worked out for you.

  5. I think you’ll enjoy it more than you think! I hardly ever run with an ipod… as Edgar said, I only listen to music on a treadmill when I really need a push to not get bored. I find my self frequently singing songs in my head on my long runs, which allows me to “listen” to music, but match the song in my head to the pace I’m comfortable with. Plus, on a race, you get to hear the spectators cheering for you which can really help.

  6. I still use music on training runs, but not during a race anymore. If it makes you feel better, I PR’d by 3 minutes the first 5K I did without music!

  7. I had no idea so many of you run without music. CLEARLY I should have written more about the blindfolded thing instead! I’ll keep everyone posted about that.. I was excited to do it!

    @Edgar – All good points. If I was running your pace though and you started talking to me, I would probably run a little faster. ;)

    @OreMan – I know what you mean about the weight. My ipod is so light, but I still feel tied down. I think it’s because of the cord. It messes with my head or something, I feel like it’s a leash. If you do try the blindfold thing, make sure you have someone guiding you the way I did with my trainer. Preferably someone who doesn’t enjoy watching you run into concrete walls and/or trees.

    @Brandy – I went on a quick “practice” music-less run this morning (because I swore I would never do something brand new on race day after my last disastrous experience). I actually sang in my head too! Apparently I am very bad at remembering lyrics.

    Thanks for the comments guys! I can’t wait to try this out! :)

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