The Sound of Silence

I am trying to run as many workouts as I can without headphones and music. Yesterday that was a pretty easy decision, because it was misty and threatening rain at any moment. My phone isn’t waterproof and I don’t have anywhere to stow it.

I don’t run with headphones for a few reasons:

1. I don’t want music to be a crutch during races.
I need to be able to keep sane during races, long or short, without requiring music. I have to be able to self-motivate. Many races don’t allow headphones, and other races I plan on running in the future might not have data access (I do have a regular old MP3 player but I only use it on planes) or might last longer than the battery life on my phone. If I rely on music during training and its not available come race day, I’m at a disadvantage.

2. I don’t like the carry more than I need to.
I don’t want to wear an arm band, and since it’s warm now, I can’t just shove my phone up my sleeve. This means carrying it. If I purchased either an arm band or a top with a nice zippered pocket, it would be easier, but it’s still added weight I don’t need.

3. It’s safer.
I can hear cars, animals, other people, etc. I also don’t wear down the battery on my phone in case of emergency. (This is also a reason I got a GPS watch, I didn’t want to use my phone for tracking and wear down the battery. I still of course carry my phone with me on trail runs in case of emergency.)

4. I can use it as a treat if I need motivation.
If I’m struggling to find the will to get my butt off the couch and run, I’ll pop in my headphones. I like using music as a motivational tool rather than as a requirement for running. I do use music every time I do hill workouts, since it’s the workout for which I need the most pumping up.

5. Nature is a superior soundtrack.
I rarely use music on trail runs (unless I need motivation). I enjoy the quiet on trails, and I like hearing bird calls. I also enjoy scaring myself thinking a bear is coming. Wheeee! I also need to listen for other runners so I can be ready to step to the side and let them pass (it’s a nice way to get a little break!)

I had a great run yesterday, running by feel. I didn’t want to be a slave to my watch, so after my warmup (2/3 mile, I’d planned on 1/2 mile, but during stretching my right hamstring did something weird and I had to walk it off) I covered my watch with my sleeve and ran based on effort. I didn’t walk any hills, running up them at a controlled pace instead, and focused on staying alert during downhills and flat sections. I tend to get complacent on flat sections and run more slowly than I should, only realizing it when I peek at my watch. I need to get that in check without my watch. I did a good job keeping my average heart rate down (120, 134, 139, 139) but not so fabulous on pace (18:39, 17:16, 16:40, 13:34), although a lot of it was uphill. (Guess which split was the downhill?) I’ve got to reduce my dependence on my watch (during the run), just like I’m trying to reduce my dependence on music.

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