Friday, 26 April 2013

Running naked (i.e. without music)

This post is about the pros and cons of running with music playing in your ears.  It's not about taking your clothes off and running around nude!
My brilliant little iPod shuffle
WIth the big city marathons taking place around this time, the sight of runners outside is common nowadays.  Not just marathon runners, many noobies are out and frequently I have noticed them running and being plugged into to some kind of MP3 player or smart phone.  Here's a few things to consider in deciding whether you run naked (without any music) or fully clothed (with music).

Benefits of running with music

  • blocks out the sound of traffic
  • replaces horrible music being played in your gym or fitness club
  • a good beat can help you achieve a great pace
  • it can be very motivational
  • you can listen to podcasts such as Laura from Couch to 5k
  • might be the only opportunity you have to listen to the music you love
  • you can be alone for your run, not having to talk to anyone
  • the right music at the right time, place or run can be a magical and unforgettable combination

Benefits of running without music

  • you notice your surroundings more and this could be a safety issue - being more aware of other people, traffic etc
  • you are more likely to enjoy your surroundings - the sights and sounds of the countryside
  • less likely to be the victim of crime (robbery etc)
  • you won't damage your ears through playing music too loud
  • you don't have to figure out how to carry the device
  • running is a simple and pure sport - so why complicate it?
  • you might be more aware of your body - listening to your breathing, your footsteps, your heartbeat, how you move your arms etc.  and this adds to the beauty of running

And me?

I can see the benefits of both sides.  Originally I got my wonderful little Apple iPod Shuffle as a birthday present and I used it mostly when I went to the gym because of the horrible music that was constantly played.  

I have used it for running outdoors and it's okay sometimes.  A small number of times there has been the right combination of surroundings, the run itself, my mood and a choice piece of music which all comes together to turn an ordinary run into a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

On balance I prefer to "run naked" - i.e. without any music etc for all of the reasons above.  But there's no hard and fast rule: no doubt I will spontaenously pick up my iPod Shuffle for another run and probably wax lyrical about how wonderful it was! 

What about you?


  1. In the end it's each to their own, but for me it's no to music. Partly, because I'm a purist but also because I want to have situational awareness. When I lived in London,I had at least one incident where out running I was confronted by a potential assailant but because I was fully focused, I was able to avoid getting attacked. Had I been wearing some Walkman 'Thing', he may well have gone for me.
    Out here in the country where it's a lot safer, I just love hearing the sounds of nature.This sounds a bit cheesy but its true.

    1. H, a little cheesy maybe but I know exactly what you mean and I also appreciate the peaceful sounds of the countryside. I take my little iPod only on a couple of runs each year and that's generally because I want to listen to something newly downloaded!