Sound vs Silence

Hi guys

We've teamed up with Nike to host a month-long debate into the pros and cons of running with music, and want to hear what you think.

Does listening to your favourite tunes help you stay fired up and focused? Maybe you have different playlists for different sessions? Or perhaps you wouldn't dream of adding a soundtrack to your daily run?

Whatever your thoughts, we'd love you to share your experiences right here on this thread.

Feel free to post comments and questions for our two intrepid journalists too, and let us know if you have any questions you'd like us to pose to the experts.

Happy running! 



  • see previous thread(s), all 50 of emimage
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    [bangs head on desk..........]

    oh dog
  • silence?

    Maybe Catherine means runners who wear earmuffs

  •  looks like an eco friendly iPod

  • Catherine,

     if we all put down are mad thoughts on this issue will we all get free trainers? or a free kk restraining order by any chance? image

  • i see where this thread's going
  • No, I've deleted my message. I can't bear going through all this crap again.

  • think for a while i saw about one new thread a week on this subject...couldn't RW just read those
  • Nevermind iPods - I can't get my nike+ sportband to work properly!

    I don't have an iPod/MP3 because I'm technologically incompetent (and don't have a computer at home for that reason).

    I can't understand why it winds people up so much!  Is it because people who run without them feel ignored by those who do?

    I've even seen marshals posting that they don't call out encouragement to racers who're wearing them.  How mean-minded it that?

  • I love my music whilst running.  I see absolutely no reason why one should not have the choice of running with or without music.

    Catherine RW - yes I have different playlists for different sessions with high tempo for speed and some funky/chilled for longer runs. It does take your mind off the pain and if you are unlucky enough to have to run on the roads (lone female runner) then it can also drown out the constant noise of cars, white van men beeping and idiots shouting silly things like "get those knees up".

  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • I never used to run with any music playing because a) I couldn't find decent earplugs that would stay in and b) I thought it was for 'joggers' so no serious runner should entertain the idea.

     Now you can get hold of some really good sports head-sets I run with music in when I am on my own and without music when running in a group. I find music helps to stem the boredom when I am out on my own so I tend to stay out a bit longer, but seriously doubt whether it improves your running - only running with better runners does that in my opinion.  

     I say, run with music when on your own if you like, but if you really want to improve then join a club!

  • You could always try the search function you know ....

    From a security point of view, I feel far happier running without music. 

    Athletes who tune into how they feel while they run are less likely to find music a helpful distraction while, for those who prefer to externalise their thoughts, plugging themselves into an MP3 player is just one of the ways they can get the most from their training

    I often 'externalise my thoughts' if that's what you want to call it but don't need an i-pod to help with that....  though if Nike have any going free  so I can trial this theory as well.... image  

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭


    In what sense have you "teamed up" with Nike? Might a little bias creep in somewhere??

  • lol Joddly. I'm sure Nike is going to be super happy to hear more forumites prefer silence than music unless it can give them some more marketing tips... here's the current vote:

  • When I was a slower runner I used to do longer runs with an MP3 player, however, now I find them a serious distraction... I now just have "arguments", "smack my boss" and all sorts in my mind now  as I'm running and by the time I get back home... I'm fresh, not angry and chilled for the rest of the day!

     I think people can become a little dependant on them... just go out into the hills, and run... and chill... and hear the sound of silence, it's fantastic in some places image

    Cheers Pug image

  • I run alone, and always listen to radio 4 on an old mobile phone with a single earpiece.  I don't run with music, but can see the appeal.  Each to their own I reckon.  Does anyone else get motivated by Farming Today and the Today programme?  Perhaps I'd go more quickly with Led Zepp in my ears. 
  • Hi Joddly

    Without giving too much away, Nike will be giving RW members access to some exclusive material over the course of the next four weeks, so it is in that sense that they are associated with the event.

    As for how the debate evolves, that's entirely down to you guys...

  • I know this debate has been had many times but I did want to make a comment on the article - should safety not feature in it somewhere? I don't mean the risk of getting your ipod nicked, I mean the general lack of awareness of other road users that running with music blaring out creates. I've been run into a couple of times by other runners who were completely away with the fairies listening to their music and didn't look where they were going. Grrr... I really do think people sometimes underestimate the importance of hearing - if you're going to listen to music at least be aware that you are a sense short!

    I must admit I have occaisionally listened to music on some of my long winter marathon training runs, but mostly I run without. Especially now it's summer, the days are longer and it's easier to get offroad - who wants music when they can have birdsong at dusk?

  • I tend to go out with my MP3 on 99 per cent of the time, the only problem it causes is road crosing and not hearing people coming out to either side or dare i say it from the rear. no jokes please., i find music motivates me especially rocky themes or the likes of on long runs
  • This is a 'marmite' subject, some people will always hate the idea of running to music and others will swear blind that it is fantastic, for me I can run with and without, although I do prefer to listen to music when out on longer runs.

    Some music can be extremely motivating and therefore music and running will always exist together, but every now and then i is good to head out early on a Sunday morning with nothing but the sound of your breathing to accompany you.

    But at the end of the day it is always nice to have a choice, sound or silence?

  • I listen to 5live on my long runs (runs of over 2h). That way I can listen to the footy and get my run in. During the week I never wear anything as the runs aren't long enough to get bored. Also, it gives me some 'me' time, when I can think things through or just concentrate on the run and how I'm feeling.
  • I had to add my two pennies worth here. in fact i was thinking about posting this very subject on the forum last week, but was too scared as i have read the outcome of other various threads!! all gets very heated doesnt it?!

    Right, when i first started running i always had my ipod on. period. as i did all my training on my own and in the winter used the treadmill 99% of the time i couldnt get into it unless i had foo fighters, paramore or biffy clyro belting wicked tunes in my ear. however.....

    One day i went out for a run (with my ipod blaring)and couldnt make it up this one hill. when i stopped and switched the music off i realised it was because i was going too fast and i was struggling for breath- id overdone it without realising. so the next time i did that route i left my ipod at home. It was a spring day and the sun was shining, there was a breeze and as i live in the welsh hills there was some beautiful scenery. i just reached the top that same crippling climb and as i reached the top, i could hear all the birds in the trees and just the general sound of the country. i felt elated at being able to reach the top. i could also feel everything as i was climbing it, my breathing, my pace, my form and i decided- who the hell needs music if your missing out on all this? i climbed that hill a lot easier because i was tuned into my body.

    So in short, whenever i run now, its in silence or with my newfound running buddy. I use postive phrases and mantras in my head if im struggling up a hill these days and they work a lot better. (or i imagine my exes smug face and tell myself if i stop hes won- works every time!!) If your mind is focused your body can carry you through to your goal, lose your focus and your body will give up too. Think music should be definitely kept to the gym and spinning classes!!

    However, i am also a great believer in personal choice so i think its a case of each to their own, especially for long distance runs. (how was that for diplomatic)image

  • oh and i forgot to say about safety- how can you hear whats coming round the bend or if someones coming up behind you if youve got your ipod on?

  • When I started out running I found music really helped.  Then I lost my MP3 and found I actually liked running outside without it.  Im trying to get my speed up at the mo by doing interval training on the treadmill and have found music really helps.  Plus I find treadmills mind numbingly boring.  So outside, no music, on the treadmill, music.
  • Always take my ipod with me, stick the earphones in and then sometimes turn the music on, sometimes not depending on the run and the general mood.  Being female it can sometimes be useful to ignore infantile remarks (from males both young an old - why do men do that?) pretending to listen to music!

    I always check as much as possible on traffic, whether crossing roads, running round bends, or even running past driveways.

    Each to his/her own - don't think its up to any of us to say what is right or wrong for someone else.

  • I tried it a few times and sort of liked it but found myself playing with it on my longer runs and also found on shorter ones it's not worth it and again spend time playing with it and so don't do it anymore and find that I don't play with anything now and enjoy it for running with music I don't know about that?
  • Choosing a man (Seaton) who says he can't imagine listening to a new CD at home /has no preference of music  is not really a fair test? 

    The argument is more about  whether he can be persuaded to enjoy music rather than enjoy whilst running????

    I love my MP3 when I run - would never wear it on the bike or to race. I would wear it to swim and have a waterproof holder for doing so. It helps me shut out the outside world (traffic/hecklers/passers by)   In the countryside yes I could miss the birds and bees but I tend to not wear it in lanes for traffic safety anyway - off road the same but for personal safety so as to hear someone approaching.  I'd never wear it in company either

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