Unplug, You Might Like It


Ever since the Walkman, runners have taken music along with them to keep them entertained on the roads.  If you ran in the 90s, odds are you passed at least one of these on your route:

Technology advanced, and some of us were daring enough to try to bring a Discman on the run, believing that “skip protection” would allow us to listen to that sweet 311 CD with no interruptions.  How wrong we were…

Nowadays, of course, we play music on our phones, a feat only possible when growing up if you were using the dial-pad to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” along with using them to track our runs.  Generally speaking, I have nothing against music on the run.  Though I don’t use it often, it’s nice for those solo runs on routes I’ve done over and over again.  I’ve even used it in a couple races, though I was playing podcasts, and not music.  As a rule, I don’t think headphones during a race are a good idea unless you can clearly hear what’s going on around you, but I digress from the intention of this post.  

With Boston Marathon training starting up, many people will be doing long runs with groups of people, often through their charity teams or local running clubs.  What I never quite understand is running with headphones/music during these group runs. For me, a large part of the appeal of a group run is the opportunity to meet and connect with other runners, share training and race experiences and learn from each other.  You’d be surprised at how quickly a run can go by when you’re just shooting the [stuff] with someone you’ve never met before.  That said, I do realize that on the scale of Silent As The Grave – MicroMachines Man I would be considered quite the Chatty Cathy so I know all may not share my desire to converse while on the run.  

Even if you aren’t into the “conversational” part of “conversational pace” though, I would still recommend that, every now and then, you consider unplugging for your long runs, particularly if you are running Boston as headphones are technically not allowed on the course.  There really is nothing like the crowds of Boston (though I am sure New Yorkers will disagree) and so much of the appeal of the race isn’t the course itself, but the people that line it.  While you can probably get away with wearing headphones during the race, why would you want to?  If you are planning on running unplugged, you definitely want to get your brain used to having only your thoughts jumbling around inside it, as opposed to learning why Miley Cyrus is comparing herself to a wrecking ball.  

Music can be a great training aid, but so can other people.  And, sometimes, even your own thoughts aren’t the worst company.  I humbly suggest you try unplugging, even if only for a short run, who knows what’ll happen!

Run Happy!

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