Friday, July 11, 2008

iPods........Do you 'rock' when you run?

I've noticed that a number of runners, even trail runners who use iPods when the run. This is particularly noticeable among the casual runners you see around the lakes in the Twin Cities. I have an iPod, but I never use it when I run. Funny thing is, my wife bought it for me as a birthday present last year because she thought I would use it when I ran.

Why don't I wear it when running? Perhaps because I'm somewhat of a running 'purist'. Even in the heydays of the 'Walkman', I've never considered using music when I train or race. I guess part of the reason is that I've never had to since I have a virtual jukebox in my head. Some of you probably know what I'm talking about. The rest of you who don't are probably thinking there are guys in little white suits after me. But philosophically speaking, I've always felt it was important to not be distracted by listening to music and be focused on running. In addition, I've felt that if running is that boring to you that you need to listen to some music to keep you interested, then perhaps you shouldn't be running.

In contrast, I can certainly see some of the potential merits of using an iPod, especially on long training runs in excess of 2 or 3 hours by yourself. It could help keep your mind off the heat or the fact you feel tired. Music itself can be relaxing, motivating, and inspiring which could help your performance or enhance your running experience. I remember how pumped I got when hearing music along the Twin Cities Marathon course.

I guess what I'm getting at is why do or don't you readers use an iPod when running? Perhaps I shouldn't knock it until I try it? Please vote on the poll I've put up and post your reasons. Thanks! In the meantime, for the sake of 'science' (since I'm an engineer by profession and more curious than most) I'll give it a try this weekend and post my experience.

7 comments:

RunWesty said...

Steve......I used to be against the Ipod especially on trails then I discovered podcasts and the nike+ system. I now use it all the time. I listen to shows on Running, PC's, Sermons, Finance, cars and health. I have been amazed at how on long runs it helps to past the time. At Afton, I listened for awhile and then put it away as it started to bother me. So it works for me in training but not that well at races.

keith said...

I've never attempted to run with headphones of any kind. I think I would get irritated by having cords on me and stuff in my ears.

Kel said...

I only run with an ipod when I'm on the treadmill... the boredom and lack of scenery is just too much.

Outdoors, I prefer to be aware of my surroundings and really don't have a problem with boredom. And I don't have to contend with sweaty ear phones and cords ;)

GRIMEYRUNNER said...

I carry my ipod but only use it when I'm feeling really rough as a way of distracting myself from the pain. I prefer to be more in tune with my environment and try to follow that zen approach of being in the present moment or maybe it's being present in the moment...I think, maybe...I don't know.
Either way, I like to hear the birds and find that I see more if I can hear more.

SteveQ said...

Music just seems to drown out the voices in my head...

Meghan said...

This American Life and Wait, Wait..Don't Tell Me podcasts make excellent running companions! Unless you don't like laughing out loud when you run. :-)

crossn81 said...

I rarely use it when running trails but will often wear it on other runs - listening to a variety of podcasts. Sometimes I won't wear it so that I can "reconnect" with my running.