I know that many people run to music, and create dedicated soundtracks to motivate themselves. A friend even told me she had an app on her phone that made it sound like zombies were chasing her and would catch her if she slowed down. This sounds pretty traumatic to me, although each to their own, of course.
I never run with headphones. I can understand why you might want to at the gym, as it is incredibly tedious in there and some of the tracks they pump out are just awful. But when I’m running in the ‘great outdoors’, I actually like running and don't wish to be distracted from it. I want all my senses on full alert, and I like to listen to the world around me.
5 Things I Listen to when Running:
- My breathing – the rhythm of your breath, your heel strike and your heartbeat are very important to running, (and to breathing). As a person prone to anxiety attacks I was encouraged to be aware of my breathing and control it through running, swimming and yoga.
- Possible danger – I don’t just mean cars and out-of-control dogs, but having lived in Manchester, there is no way I would ever run down an alleyway without being able to hear exactly what or who is behind me. Wearing headphones tends to make you disconnected from your circumstances, thus compromising your own safety and that of those around you, and there’s a very good reason why they’re banned from many races.
- Wildlife – With approximately 250 species, Canberra has the richest bird life of any city in Australia. From screeching and squawking to twittering and even laughing, they sound great and I wouldn’t want to miss that. Rustlings in the undergrowth alert me to lizards, possums and even snakes. I’ve yet to encounter a wombat while out running but Him Outdoors has and my time will surely come.
- The elements – Whether it’s the wind in the wind in the trees, the trickling of a stream, or the lapping of the waves, nature doesn’t just look beautiful; it sounds it too. Running is a relaxant and a way to avoid the over-saturated stimuli of a media-concentrated world. An hour of peace and relative quiet is essential for my mental health.
- Other people – it’s just sociable to reply when someone says hello to you as they run past.