Last week, Eric wrote a phenomenal article about why he prefers to run sans headphones. While he has a lot of good things to say, and I suggest you read them HERE, I'm not one of those people. I do some of my runs without music, but for the most part, I'm plugged in.
There are plenty of reasons to run with music, but let's get right to the most important question: is it safe? The answer, is yes, if done correctly. It's easy to tune in, turn on, and drop off the sidewalk because you didn't hear that bike coming, but keeping your music at a lower level so that you can still hear things around you is safe. Maybe even try having one earbud in and one out might work as well? I've personally never tried that approach, but I know that for me, keeping the music turned down a notch helps.
Now what's the benefits of running to music, podcasts, radio, or books on tape? For me, it's the external stimulant. I can run without the noise, but sometimes I prefer having a run where I can focus on something else. Nothing beats a long run where I can listen to an entire episode of Stuff You Should Know and become completely engrossed in the story and information. Having something else to focus on distracts me from my day, and that makes running even more relaxing for me.
And while an interesting podcast can help me focus on a long run, a well-made playlist can make all the difference on a sluggish run. There are plenty of days where they idea of going to run is not necessarily the most appealing, but I've found that having a fun playlist can get me out the door and make that time go fast. At this point it's been pretty well established that Pitbull only belongs at sporting events, parties, and workout playlists, so why not jam out to some Mr. 305? And by the time you really get going, you're enjoying all the benefits that a run brings and it's a great day. Thank you music.
Another reason why I like music while running is because I have a simple workout that
I totally came up with first found. Put your playlist on, and alternate between easy running and a tempo pace each time the song switches. Nothing gets me more excited to hear "When the Levee Breaks" if it's on the easy section, and nothing makes me cry like Kanye's "Runaway" on a hard section. The workout is simple, and I enjoy how it gets me to give my best.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to not run with sound, mainly safety as well as perceived effort like Eric laid out. The key is balance. When training for a race it is important to keep the recovery runs easy and the hard runs busy. Running the same workout every single day is not good and not advisable, but life is about having fun, so if music works for you then I say go for it. Running is one of the most enjoyable things in life, and it's up to you to make the most of it.
Oh...And I may be very biased because Yurbud earbuds fit oh so perfectly in my ears and are super comfy. If the iPhone headphones circa 2008 were the only kind on the market I would probably ditch running plugged in forever.