I find it much easier to run whilst listening to music, or a podcast, or an audiobook. It’s easier to ignore the pain, and ignore the fact that - for me - running isn’t a very fun activity.
These days, I do most of my training whilst listening to something.
That isn’t necessarily a good thing.
For one, when I come to do a race, I won’t have the music to listen to. I might find it harder to keep to a consistent pace, or I might find the race more difficult, just because of the lack of music; it wouldn’t be how I had trained. It’s a good idea to prepare in race-day conditions as much as possible.
Second, if I’m running with music, I’m only training my body. I’m not training my mind. My mind is off in la-la land and isn’t learning about how to endure pain.
Third, I might not even be training my body as well as I could whilst listening to music. I might be subconsciously matching my pace to the rhythm of the music, rather than trying to go for a pace that would help me improve.
As David Goggins says, the music isn’t always going to be there. What are you going to say to yourself to get through it then?
These last two years have been the years where I have been the most serious about running and exercise that I have ever been. I currently run five times per week. It seems a shame to not make the most of each run because I’m afraid of enduring pain.
I ran without music today. The only other times that I can think of when I have ran without something to focus on (music, podcast, running partner) in the past two years has been running events.
My run today was very hard; much harder than usual. I wasn’t going at a different pace than usual, but I was much more focussed on the run and the pain, which made it harder. It felt like I was just running for the first time.
I’m going to be running without music for at least the next month. I’ll check in occasionally about my experiences in these microblogs. Hopefully it will be a good experience for me, and that I can grow from it.