Running with an iPod: yay or nay?

On the radio this morning, they were talking about the iPod and how in 2009 it was named the "Decade's Top Music Moment" and it got me thinking: How has that affected the running community?

When I was training for my first marathon, all of my long distance runs were without music. I was going to be running the event without headphones, so it made sense to prepare for race day. However, on my shorter mid-week runs, the ear buds were busy bumping The White Stripes and 30 Seconds to Mars. Since then, I have trained and ran events with a predetermined play list going through my iPod shuffle.

Time to show your age:
Who remembers running with a Walkman? Was it yellow?

Time to show your age, AGAIN:
Who remembers running with a discman? That "anti skip" button never really worked and you were left trying to hold that thing as still and flat as possible as you bounced up and down the street.

Placing safety aside, and yes, I understand that is a huge factor to take out of the equation. Has the iPod (and sister products) benefited the running community? Has it provided motivation for those less likely to run, to strap on their mp3 player and log some miles to Kid Cudi?

How has the iPod affected your running? For the better? For the worse?


Heather @ Better With Veggies said...

I love running and listening to an audiobook - who knew I'd be able to combine reading & running while marathon training. When I'm low on motivation, I only allow myself to listen while running - so I have an added incentive. :)

Stephanie @ LiveLikeAGrrl said...

Showing my age here, but yes, I do remember running with a Walkman. And yes, it was yellow. It sucked when the batteries ran low and the music started slowing down!

Safety aside, I LOVE running with music. If I wanna run fast, fast music helps. If it's a long slow distance, I can zone out to lower key music. Only during track workouts do I not have my earbuds in. Don't know why that is...

Jon L. said...

I always run with music (unless its a no-ipod event). I have a mental thing where I get really distracted and unfocused when I hear my own breath and footsteps when I run. Weird.

Angela @ SF Road Warrior said...

I guess I'm a little biased because I haven't experienced the pros of running with music. (Literally, I've tried to run with an ipod exactly twice in my life & really didn't enjoy it at all.) Yes, there's definitely the safety issue when running out doors (I'm pretty sure my body / brain would never even let me TRY this, because not being able to hear feels to me about the same to me as running with a blindfold on), but the bigger issue I have with ipods is how it often makes people oblivious to what's going on around them purely from a courtesy standpoint. When people are running on their own, though, I guess they have a right to do what they want, but I do really wish that during races that expressly forbid headphones, people would follow the rules. I've had too many bad experiences racing with people with headphones who are utterly oblivious to others around them.

Anonymous said...

I have SUCH a love/hate relationship with running with my ipod. Arm bands stink, they either rub miserably or don't tighten properly & slide down my arm constantly. Pain in the tookus!

But, I find it so hard to do my LRs without music. Unless the course is absolutely gorgeous, or its a race. Then I get into the zone so much that the music is completely being ignored.

I guess this means I need a nano I can clip on & go.

Also, I was a track runner when Walkmen were all the rage. Oh that anti skip button, I swear it sometimes scratched my CDs...

Even more so, who remembers tape players? I was an active child & they were still the cheap option then... Fixing the tape with a pencil when the actual tape came out..


Mike said...

Haha! Had the yellow Walkman and the CD player. Talk about running down memory lane.

These days, I do not run with music when I'm running outside. I love hearing all the sounds, to include my breathing and foot falls. I have run up to 32 miles as a long run so far and never once wished I had music.

The treadmill is a different story though. I find it very hard to run on the TM without music.

Paulette Ference said...

One of my favorite things about running is being outdoors and experiencing everything it has to offer. I don't run with music at all and haven't since I started running regularly in 2008. Before that I did use the iPod sometimes, but the cords always got in the way.

My fave is to have a buddy to talk to when running and my hubby is often with me on long runs. :)

A said...

I had that same anti-skip CD player! Ohhh, the memories. It worked so horribly that I ended up using it when I ran on a treadmill instead. Once even the treadmill was shaking and the discman flew off the stand and down the belt, clear onto the floor behind me. I remember having to pick up the CD and all the batteries at the gym. Good times.

courtney (pancakes and postcards) said...

haha I totally had a discman. It was blue. I brought it everywhere. It usually just had N Sync in it.

I almost always leave the house with my shuffle, but often don't turn it on at first. Sometimes the first few miles I just think and then when I want a bump when I turn for home I turn it on. Other times I have it on from the get go (esp if I am trying to run fast). It just depends.

I would like to run my next marathon without music however. At CIM I didn't turn it on until mile 17 because I needed the bump. I'll still carry it for boring solo 20 milers but I'm hoping to run big sur sans music. It really does take a little away from the shared experience.

Maria said...

I actually HATE running with music! I think it's distracting and messes up my pace and breathing. But if I'm lifting I love listening to angry music to motivate me. Props to others who can listen to music while running, especially an audiobook!