Sound vs Silence



  •  I find the use of my i.pod at races a great motivational tool. I run races for my own enjoyment and part of that is to music which keeps me going, makes me push the pace at times and keeps me going when ready to slow down. As simple as knowing to tie your shoe-laces, so is safety awareness for yourself and fellow runner when wearing an music device. It's your choice.
  • Run to the Beat - interesting idea, but I find if I'm not keen on the music, it's actually quite draining. I'd need to know the playlist before signing up! I'd rather run in silence than with music I don't like. Gym music is a pet hate, particularly when it's audible over my MP3, as most of the tracks aren't my cup of tea. Also I would never take up someone else's recommendation on what to run to: I'm curious to know what works for other people, but it has to be down to me what I listen to. Is it just me who's this fussy?
  • hey gazzer1uk, where do you run? I must meet this man who does not race. do you not want to challenge or test yourself, or is it enough in itself for you just to run? Because I would get really restless if I was training/keeping fit by running but knowing that some achievment could be formed from running.

    anyway about the opinion, i know that I changed, but although i myself prefer running without music it is not my place to tell people otherwise, but it is intresting to see other peoples points of view.
  • Hi JP,

     Warwickshire is my homeland in the bounds of a small town called Southam.

     When I started running, I was 17 stone ( I am just short of 5' 4" although a wide frame it was no excuse) and could run (jog?!!!) image for no more than 10 minutes. Now I clock up a long run of 2 1/2 hours once a week with several other shorter runs and in June clocked up a total of just over 100 miles. I never wanted to race, the intention was to wrestle myself from morbid obesity and from being so unfit, and thus I was and am competing with myself. Perhaps it is the race of life....? So in reality I would suggest I have challenged myself and every run is testing as I try to improve either its duration or speed. Perhaps in this I am anti social as I train alone too, but honestly, I am cool with that, it is not my persona to be outwardly competitive in running, other activities, I am very loud!

    Anyhow, I have actually competed in one 10k race, came 12th...... from last!!! I have signed up to do another and now a half marathon. I am not racing anyone else, although there are people there to race against.  So with my Ipod on, meditation mode in, I race myself. I do accept wholly that running with others affects your performance, something in the genetical make up of wishing to keep up etc etc But if I never ran another "race" I would still challenge, compete and test myself, after all what better challenge could I have than beating me!!!!!!!!!!!

     For yourself sounds like you need to compete to maintain your motivation,  so good luck with that I hope you continue to improve, were all motivated by different challenges, different tests, and in doing so use different resources to help us. And even if we fail on those challenges, doesn't mean were failures, simply getting your butt out there to do something physically positive is a good enough challenge for many.

     And I do agree with you it is interesting to hear others views, and sometimes they can be very valuable and can influence our own thinking about the way we tackle things, and by such investment, they can help us achieve our goals and ambitions! Sometimes though they make for good debate image

  • I am with gazzer, I run, I don't race. I know I am never going to get anywhere remotely near the front of a field, my usual finishing place is in the last 10% of the field, but I do try to beat my own times but never go out of my way to do it by any more than I have to. My closest shave so far is taking 3 SECONDS off a PB, so I don't race, but I do enjoy running, Chacun a son gout, as the French might say.
  • JP,

    Pun intended,  you appear to have changed your "tune" somewhat. Maybe your still laughing about it, but appear to have accepted using music makes you neither athlete or non athlete, it is all about personal choice. Therefore Ipod wearers can be runners, hooray, consensus.

     But for some people to enjoy themselves "running", they do like music, so glad to see you accept that point too.

    Great thing about forums is you get to put a view over, and then have a debate about it, not getting worked up, its just in written form (pen mightier than the sword) some expressions appear louder and over stated than they would in the post race beer...... sorry speak up, forgotten to take my earphones out......

  • I prefer to run with music. The sound of my heavy breathing puts me off and makes me feel more tired than I am so I give up easier. I start off with a fairly slow beat till I warm up, gradually getting faster till I get to a sprint beat then slow down again. It works really well.

    I too run alone and don't expect a conversation in a race. I find I can't talk much anyway and prefer just to get on with it.

     I don't have the music turned up so much that I can't hear what's going on around me. The sounds on a race day are usually louder than my music. At road crossings, I always have a good look round or even stop till I'm sure it's safe to go on. I think everyone should make their own choice.

  • i like running with music,it gives me focus...but i will not run a race listening to my mp3 again as i did it this year on a half marathon but soon felt slightly alienated because i couldnt hear all the friendly banter from the other runners,and especially the encouragement from people who came out to cheer us all on.
    so to conclude,yes you can wear an mp3 when out running,but if youre in a race,then let the ambience be your soundtrack.
  • Surely it is up to the individual to decide whether or not they want to run with music or not - not up to some governing body to decide we can't run with music because some idiots are too stupid to look after their own safety.

    Are you going to start banning the folk that just barge you out of the way in a race to get by - these folk are more anto-social than the people wearing iPods. What about those people that absolutely stink of BO ? They should be banned......

    Running a race is an individual choice, therefore it is up to the individual if they wish to listen to music or not. Some f the races I do have miles and miles of country side and you need your music to keep you going.

    Therefore it should be left to individual choice not Big Brother choosing for us. Are they going to tell us what we can wear to races next ?
  • Blimey I'm a bit shocked by some of the virulent anti-mp3 opinions on here.

    I agree it's unlikely a highly competitive racer in a 10k or a half or marathon or whatever would want to wear headphones - they're monitoring their body, real competitors etc.

    But the other 90% of us in these fields that race purely against ourselves - it sees some of us through. Personally on a nice day in the country I like to run silent, but often in longer races - halfs or more - I NEED my ipod. I suffer with shin splints sometimes and other niggles with my lower legs and although I don't have it on at the start, I generally slip it on after 6 or 7 miles, as often a repetitive beat / a song that makes me smile is the only thing that keeps my feet going in front of each other at any pace.

    The marshall argument is fatuous, I've never not seen or heard a marshall - you generally see them a mile off! (how loud do you think i-pods are?), and I think I generally run in a straight line - not much differently to how I run without, just more aware of my lower legs!

    I think this is more that they annoy runners trying to get past people who possibly (I accept this) can't hear them coming. But I encounter plenty of runners with no MP3 player who get equally in the way...

    If they get banned, prepare for a big drop in racing numbers - a shame when running is on a real high at the moment as far as I can see - I think the MP3 is partially responsible for it.
  • Generally I seem to agree with most of the last few posts here. I'm a runner with music, but I'd never let the music alienate me from a race. Never had a problem with hearing other people, marshalls, and even have had convs with other runners, whilst wearing my MP3. Keep it to one ear, just loud enough to hear, and I have the best of both worlds at a race. Whilst training I tend to have it louder (especially if at the gym, if just to drown out the ridiculous "music" they put on the overheads). I agree with Berger: if mp3s are banned across the board it'll be a shame as I think it will actually alienate a lot of people who enjoy running currently. Kinda ironic given that half the argument against mp3 players is that they're alienating themselves...
  • this is a test to see what happens
  • Some people train with their i-pod's , me included. It becomes almost a security blanket and for some they then feel that if they change their routine for race day they won't be able to do it.

    I agree that both earpieces in could put the runner in a dangerous position but running with one earpiece in they can then hear what is going on around them and it gives them  their comfort zone by listening to there fav tunes . 

  • Mp3's in training if you want to, but not in races. Quite a simple rule rule of thumb.

    Still puzzles me that people seem to have to 'force' themselves to run - and that they 'need' to use a MP3 to get through a race! It's not like being at school where you 'have' to go running. If this is the case, then why not try another sport?? I wouldn't choose to be a runner if I didn't enjoy it.

    And if the numbers of runners went down due to the banning of MP3 players, it's a harsh but true fact that many people would be pleased to see the numbers go down so that they might be able to get in their local races again, or not have to enter 3 to 4 months before the event.
  • All the defences of MP3s in races seem to be me me me. Let me do what I want. I need this. I'm entitled to do as a I please. 

    Training can be lonely sometimes I accept that (although it's a strange person who is uncomfortable training with themselves), but a race is a communal event.  It's about lots of people doing one thing together.  As such a person locked inside their MP3 world is not only denying themselves the opportunity to be lost in the community of runners and to enjoy the voices of supporters and competitors alike, but is also creating a hazard by being completely unaware of the runners and marshals around them. In a race I can hear someone on my shoulder and this either leads me to make way for them or drives me on. When I approach an earphoned, wired for sound dreamer I know that my presence on their shoulder will not be registered until I nudge them and then they will resent me breaking their reverie.  If you hate racing so much that you have to do something else whilst running why do you do it at all?

  • If people want to blast their eardrums playing their ipods so loud that they cannot hear anything else, then they should be allowed to do so. They are all adults, and responsible for their own safety. I am tired of the nannying that goes on - health and safety, risk assessments, ban this, ban that.
    I happen to enjoy listening to my MP3, both when running alone and in races. I can hear the sound of the traffic, cheers of the crowd and the instructions of the marshalls perfectly well, as I don't have it at an ear-splitting volume. It is just a pleasant background noise to take my mind off my aching limbs. I don't see why I, and other responsible listeners, should suffer from a ban imposed because of a mindless minority who have their sound up so loud that they can't hear anything else. How loud must that be anyway? They are surely damaging their hearing but, again, that is their responsibility. If, through their stupidity, they cause an accident, then they should be banned from racing.
  • Uncle Bob - what about the people involved in the accident who were paying attention, but suffered at the hands of one who was more involved with the mp3. It's all very well letting people do what they want, but if the worst ever happened, there'd sadly always probably be one who'd go and try to sue the race organisers, or something ridiculous. I don't agree with this at all; I'd love to live in an age where everybody was sensible and we didn't have to be controlled by rules like irresponsible children.

    What bugs me is when I've been at recent races, where the rules have clearly stated only one earpiece in with MP3s, I see loads of people flouting these rules and running around with 2 in! Unless people do want mp3s banned totally, I think everybody should respect the rules laid down and show they can be responsible and a comprimise can be made. 

    Martin - your post made me think of races in a different way..I guess I have always seen running as a solitary sport. For the sake of argument I may try my next race without any music at all and see how I feel about it then.

    Simon - I guess for some the love of running comes in the achievement of having finished it, rather than the actual doing it. I'd hate to see these people turned away from participating, however.

  • I can see the arguments on both sides. Organisers concerned with health and safety and runners wishing to listen to music when they run as they feel it helps them. I have completed 37 races in the past 2 years, some with music and some without, and I feel that music can be of great help when you are feeling fatigued or unable to pick up/maintain the pace. Provided the music volume does not prevent a marshal from instructing the runner they should be allowed as we have enough of a police state as it is already; individuals can decide for themselves and accept the risk that comes with the activity. Perhaps adding a disclaimer to the rules and conditions before signing on to a race that the runners use music and mp3 players entirely at their own risk would satisfy the legal matter for organisers and allow runners the choice.
  • I don't like to run with music myself but if it gets you through thats fair enough. But, what does get on my nerves is those people in races who suddenly slow or pull up because they need to change a track volume etc. Then they give you a dirty look as you barely avoid running into them.
  • LadyBee,
    I agree with what you say, but there are plenty of other menaces in races in addition to mp3 listeners - you can't legislate against them all.
    My pet hate is people who overtake then cut in front before gaining a bit of distance, I've often been kicked and nearly tripped up by such people. Then there are the ones incapable of running in a straight line, weaving all over the place, barging into people. Then there's the chatterboxes, two and three abreast, yapping away, oblivious to people who want to get past, forcing them to veer out into the road.
    I still say that we shouldn't all have to suffer because of the irresponsible actions of the few.
  •  agree with what you say, but there are plenty of other menaces in races in addition to mp3 listeners - you can't legislate against them all. -  I know that, but not taking an MP3 player with you is a decision you can make before you leave the house. Usually other menaces  are spur of the moment things that cannot be helped.

    All the talk about disclaimers and what might happen to the MP3 wearer - but what about the MP3'er who wandered into my way when he did not hear the instructions of a marshal? These things happen in courses with more than one lap.

    So not only might they endanger them selves, they might slow up other runners - when they affect others runners, its not good..

  • skaterboi wrote (see)

    Excellent quote from Pearl Izumi's we are not joggers website. image

    Runners don't want to escape the fact that they are running.

    These days you'll see a lot of people out there with MP3 players. Blasting some indie rock to make the miles go by a little bit faster. Every one of these people are joggers. Because runners actually like to run. And they're generally a little sad when it's over. They don't want to be tuned into some dumb guitar solo. They want to be tuned into every facet of their run experience. The cadence of their footfalls. The rhythm of their breathing. The sounds of the world around them, car horns or wind moving through pine needles. Sure, runners dig music, but they know that it makes them lose touch with their environment, and lose kinesthetic awareness of their bodies, and that is something they simply cannot have.

    I've just been skimming through this discussion and chatting offline about it with a mate and didn't really want to get involved with all of this (don't listen to music myself and can't understand why I'd want to, but live and let live I say), however that site linked to above has to be the biggest load of crap I have ever read. It makes me ashamed to have once touched a pair of their shoes in a running shop.

     I feel better now, had to get that out of my system.


  • Well said LadyBee!

    If you are in a race/event there you are going to running in close proximity to others and inevitably there will be problems, that's just racing or running in an event. It would be lovely if nobody got in anyone's way in every race but it's just never going to happen. All this talk of banning this and banning that is quite disturbing and I'm shocked at the poll percentages.

    I've run with an MP3 and without, I don't have a problem with either. If people want to run an event with an MP3 let them, all the talk of Health and Safety just leads to one conclusion.......we should ban running races altogether.

    All the pro banning voters should lighten up! It's supposed to be fun! 

  • OK a solution......

    MP3 wearers left side of the course, non MP3 players right side of the course.

    Like that would work............ (Be interesting to see how far apart they finished though.....)

  • This should be a matter of individual choice - not down to race directors to ban - we already live in a 'big brother' nanny state that is health and safety mad!!

     Personally, I have ran races with and without music - running marathons can get tough towards the end and a bit of music can psyche you up and get you through it. I find fast pace runners starting too far back because they were late for races far more annoying, weaving around and cutting you up.

    What's next - dont wear bright colours because it might hurt someones vision?? This is just another example by race organisers of piety.

  • good lord

    whatever happened to "live and let live"

    maybe they should separate fun runners and club members also ?

    or those who run in lycra separated from the ones in racer shorts, lest anyone get upset

    i run with and without music, depending on my mood, and i always smile and acknowledge other runners, cos surely that's what it's all about ?


  • Must admit I never used an ipod until last October, now its a ritual and part of my running 'kit' and panic sets in if i dont have it.

    I only ever have the volume on very low - I can hear my running partners every breath and foot step and fart so safety isnt an element!!!! and at races I can hear the faster runners approaching me (when they are lapping me LOL) so i can get out of their way so im not an obstacle!

    One race my battery went flat right at the start, i panicked but ran anyway and did one of my best 10k times ever - so maybe next race I'll go without!

    Dont think Id have the same huge admiration of the athletes at the Olympics if they all wandered round plugged into their ipods - just wouldnt seem right eh? so I wouldnt oppose a ban on ipods at races, but on training runs each to their own.

  • I ran a 10k without music last night for the first time since I took up running. I normally only wear one headphone and don't have it loud. Sometimes I can just say hear it. I can't say I enjoyed the last mile because normally I'd have found some uplifting song and would have it on repeat. (Not loud). But it would have got me through the feeling sick bit.

    I never have it so loud I can't hear what is going on. I run on my own most days. I don't need music to retreat into a world of my own. I can do it without music. In fact I didn't realise one of my club mates was talking to me cos I was reliving the argument I just had with my OH before we left the house. So if there had been anything else I probably wouldn't of heard it. I was engrossed in pretending I was stomping on his head at every foot fall.

    If they want to ban things perhaps it should be mobile phones. In the GNR a guy ran 1/2 a mile talking to someone in a very loud voice on his phone - why.

    It is always the idiot minority who run with music loud and not able to hear what's going on that spoil it for the likes of myself, who just want to be able to run with a little bit of music. After all in our house running with my Mp3 is the only time I really get to listen to My MUSIC!!!!

    My dad always said give an idiot a gun and everntually he will shot someone. The same with dogs, Mp3 players, cars you always get some idiots.....
  • I hate to exercise or how I lost 30 kg by walking. I have noticed a couple of postings about a site called and want to relate my experiences using their music.

    I credit run2r ( as a key component of my 30 kg weight loss to date. I decided to try it to see if it worked like they said and sure enough it did.

    I find that their theory of designing music to BPM is sound (excuse the pun) and I find that by using their music I keep up my pace throughout my walk, even in the face of strong head winds, inclines, and at the end of the walk where I would usually start slowing down.

    I have also found that I have increased my walking time and sometimes miss my landmarks due to being in what they call the “sweet spot” and that I end up walking longer than my allotted time. I have purchased a stop watch so I know how long I have been walking (I used to do it by the different songs but now get “lost” in them so can’t count).

    The nice thing about their music is that it complements your program rather than competes with it and I don’t have to put a lot of different playlists together hoping to get some kind of consistent BPM throughout the program (almost impossible to do and then you have changing beats and sounds that do not work together). It allows for deep thought while exercising. It does the work of keeping me on track so I can get on with other things. Most of the time I am not even aware of the music it just keeps me going, and going, and going.

    It is also not expensive (I hate the word “cheap” except when describing bird sound and inferior merchandise) and I don’t have to buy a lot of expensive shoes and iPod’s. I just use the shoes I have and my old obsolete mp3 player.

    FYI: just for the record I do not have any financial interest in this company but have met the founder and know his system is sound and has helped many serious runners improve their game.

    Also you might pass this on to any “Fat Arse” friends you have who want to lose some weight.
  • Wow - we really are becoming a nation of intolerants aren't we...?!

    Generally when you enter a race you have to sign a disclaimer anyway that says that it's not the organisation's fault if you catch fire, collapse, get abducted by aliens etc., so I would guess that tripping over an mp3 listener would fall under this disclaimer too.

    There's loads of things that can be annoying at a race but surely we don't need to be banning people from listening to headphones.....? What about banning all these people that throw their empty drinks bottles across the race route...or people who breathe too heavily, or anyone who finishes ahead of me etc etc.

    I'm just happy that there are enough people out there running so that we can have races to enter in the first place!

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