Sound vs Silence



  • Headphones in training = good

    Headphones in races = bad

  • I wonder if it's linked to the why bit of running. Varying as it does, I can see why this subject gets a bit heated. Personally I'm in the silent camp, and I do have to admit that although I think everyone should be able to run with the soundtrack they chose, I just can't understand why anyone would want to run with music. But that's probably because I run for 'headspace', as much as anything. I never really got on with any kind of consistent meditation practice, and I think that running works for me as a close alternative. It's the time that I'm completely present - aware of my body, of my breath, of the breeze on my skin.....of the van man honking his horn and shouting "hello sexy" (Sexy? Sexy? In this gear? With this blotchy red face? Looking this close from keeling over?) image. That's the thing: I get to be focused and contemplative, but also I'm connected to what's going on around me.

    It's downtime thinking. I'm not thinking about anything much, but I get the feeling that stuff is ticking over. For me listening to music means I'm not listening to what's around me, or to myself. But then what I want out of running, and how i respond to music, won't be the same as someone else. Which is fine, just as long as no-one wants me to run with music image I really felt for the both of the journalists - look forward to seeing how the experiment turns out really. Even if it is a little cruel and unusual (to me at least) image

  • Eloquent, but missing the point. I don't think anyone cares whether we listen to music or not in training.

    Really, no one cares.

    Races? That's different. But training -- people do what they want to do, and that's OK.

  • Do you mean that the debate is going to be over running with music in races? I'm sure that the thread opened with just a discussion about music and running in general? Although I can see from previous threads and most peoples replies that races and music is where the fireworks start image I don't think I was missing the point - perhaps just missing the point that's the most controversial? (Now why would I do that....? image )
  • touche, I agree, well said mrs pig,

    i can never understand why people have a problem with people doing things different to them, live and let live.  I personally find most of the arguments against very weak.

    i train with my mp3 all the time and wear it  in 10m and above in races for the final couple of miles.  I do aim to keep the volume lower enough to hear things around me, and choose headphones with built in volume control so i can quickly turn the volume down if i want to hear something. i also follow the highway code and run facing traffic, i generally find i am very aware of things around me (might be because the volume is low).

    for me the only two valid arguments i have heard are attacks from behind and loss of hearing, while these are a risk, the enjoyment of listening to music far out ways these reasons. i will take my chances and aim to use good road sense, which i hasten to add a lot of runners without music could do with doing, it scares me some of the things i see runners doing.

    i find the new uk athletics rule daft and badly thought out, for instance as i understand it, if i have speakers attached their is no problem, now i am sure that will go down well with my fellow competitors when they have to listen to rage against the machine. i think its better to carry on with the headphones and risk being disqualified, than a black eye or two.

    in addition, a word to organisers, if you don't want us to listen to music in your race, say on you application form. not on the race day information after we have paid are hard earned money, that i call stealing.

    O.K. I am of my soap box now

  • I love training runs with my Ipod.

    I generally listen to Melvyn Bragg's "In Our Time" podcasts - usually something very worthy and informative like the Library of Nineveh or the History of Anaesthesia.

    So really i am educating myself as I run and its a win win.

    Or "Start the Week" - the relentless stream of dessicated academics, American flim-flam merchants  and self-regarding arty types pushing their latest books never ceases to make me smile and it helps pass the time during long runs. 

    But I prefer to be Ipod-less in races, despite the fact that for long stretches i am running alone. This is more to do with soaking up the pre-start atmosphere and being open to conversations with other runners rather than an Elf n Safety argument.

    In cars or on buses or on the train, someone with an Ipod on is effectively saying "I'm listening to music, thank you." So I think it can be perceived as behaviourally anti-social.

    But again as always, would I ban it? No I wouldn't. People should be allowed the freedom to choose whether they wear one or not - just don't be surprised if no-one ever talks to you if you do!

  • Tortoise --

    What debate are you referring to? Are you not simply describing a preference?

    I can't see any debate. If I don't want to buy and wear an MP3 player, not even a Winston Churchill could persuade me that I should do so. Equally, if I want to listen to music as I plod down the canal tow path, no amount of debate will stop me.

    OTOH, I can see that there are wider issues in races, where one person's actions can affect the comfort of other people, and that definitely IS worth discussing/debating.

  • I wear an Ipod for training and in races. I really have to- I find the sound of my heavy breathing totally off putting. I cannot see what the problem with the in races is. I'm slow, very slow, I'm big - everyone can see me- and I stick to the left hand side - always. I expect to people to be going past me and so I keep to edge as much as possible. I turn to look if  I have to go round something so I don't get in anyone's way. I keep my lamps lifted always. Surely wearing Ipods in racces is a common sense issue - if you wear one you have the responsibilityy of sticking to a basic set or guidelines?  I don't expect conversation as I'm running races either - whilst I don't wish to be rude, I just wanna do my own thing without the worry of social interaction, in any case, it's hard work talking and running!
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    Fair comment, Spinkletoes.

    Personally I think wearing an iPod in training is a bit risky but each to their own. I think that wearing one in races is a bit rude and potentially unsafe to self and others, but again, each to their own. And despite what a lot of people think, it is possible to disapprove of iPods without wanting to have them banned.

    But if race organizers ask you not to wear headphones, then don't wear them.

  • I think the music broadcast at my fitness club does help me on the treadmill but I wouldn't listen to music with ear phones outside when training or racing because I need the assurance of being aware of what is going on around me, this includes being aware of any runners in races who may be looking to overtake me because it might either hinder their progress or cause an collision.

  • Yes, I agree with Muttley about races. I also think it rude to wear them when in the company of others. But.....

    I wear headphones. I accept the risk that entails running with headphones. I feel they make me more focused on my running, add a tempo. Some people dont think that way, we are all different. Folk should therefore do what they makes them happy.

    I hope RW dont end up making a declaration as to whether headphones make a difference to our running. On some people it will make a difference and on some people it wont. Its not like speedwork, which is proven (I think??) to make you faster. Its a holistic or psycological thing, rather than a physiological thing.

  • I've read these discussions with interest for months now, but never commented - so here's my 2p's worth!

    I use my iPod for training, but never for a race. I enjoy the atmosphere of a race and want to feel like I am part of it all, so I take my iPod with me (I use the Nike+) but leave my earphones at home.

    For training I have music on quietly - I can still hear traffic and I am always alert and take in my surroundings. Nothing has ever crept up on me yet - I usually see cars and other people way before they see me (mostly because I am always on the lookout for mad dogs!!). I don't get much chance to listen to music any more, I work full time, I have a 4 year old child, a partner and a busy life. My running time is *my* time. My brain can wander where it likes and often does, but I also love the chance to listen to my favourite music, or new stuff I haven't had time to listen to before.

    There seems to be a lot of snobbery about running with music and I think that's a shame. Whether I listen to anything or not, it's still me breathing and my legs doing the work - my music doesn't give me an easy time when I'm battling yet another Sheffield hill. It saddens me - running is mostly such an inclusive sport, it's disheartening to see some take the first opportunity to belittle the efforts of others.

  • Running with or without music?

    In my case, I guess it depends on the session,

    If I'm running on my own and don't have any company then I'll usually have my iPod on. If there's a good podcast that I've not listened to yet and I'm just doing a steady slow pace for a set distance (easy day) then I'll probably listen to that.

    If I'm doing interval work then I'll listen to the mp3's I have that are for interval work (basically a voice kicks in at set times so I don't have to watch my watch).

    Or I will have an uplifting playlist for everything else, sometimes I'll have the music on when running on road's (drown out the noise) however you can always turn off the music when you get to that country park or nice carless/road less area.

    When I'm running with friends or at events I'll usually don’t run with music and soak up the atmosphere.

    Personally Music gets the thumbs up for solo run's and atmosphere gets the thumbs up for events in my opinion.

  • Marshaling duties at a local race on Saturday.

    Runner (towards the rear of the field and on her own) started running off the route and along a different road.

    "Oi !! Here. Here. Keep to your left!!" - Nothing.

    Starts waving arms and jumping up and down - "Oi!! - THIS WAY!!"

    Finally notices me. Runs buy and takes out earphones - "sorry, didn't hear you..."


  • *lol*
    Well thats the other reason not to wear music at events (or at leased either only wear one head phone or/and turn down the volume...
  • Poor git was probably off to spend a penny.
  • I'll come out of hiding (lurking) just so you can take a pot shot at me.  Like most on this thread I do both, it depends on where I'm running, why and who with.

    If I'm running in a group (training or racing) then I won't take any music.  The chance to talk to people is enough motivation/distraction when I need that extra 'focus'.  But I'm happy enough for others to wear their headphones in a group run, and even in races.

    When on my plod to/from work then I'll wear the headphones - mostly to reduce the noise of the cars on the concrete section of the A30 which can be heard for miles!

    I keep the volume quite low so I can hear cars coming up behind me, so the safety issue is minimised in that sense.  And to be honest I'm deaf enough not to hear bikes with or without headphones so again that makes no difference. 

    For me the most important thing in all of this is CHOICE, there is no right or wrong answer.  But like one of the previous posters I think the test is flawed.  Choosing someone who never listens to music to see if they like running with music is pointless.  You should have chosen someone who likes music but prefers to run in silence - as the previous threads have proven there are quite a few out there.

  • I personally am in a very social job and spend my whole time at work being chatty and chirpy...when I get home I have a big family and my ears bleed from my teenage daughters love issues and my sons stories of x-box adventures, not to mention the latest escapades of the wonder pets from my youngest.  Similar to Yorklass, I love music and initially started running as an opportunity to listen to music uninterupted ....I just found I enjoyed the running more than I expected.

    As for being socially rude....I never wear my ipod on a club night as I know people there and will chat....the rest of the time (races included) I don't talk to strangers outside of work....its a Yin Yan thing.  Sorry if others believe I'm being rude but this is my time where I choose to be just with myself and my music.  If a race advertises no ipods, then I will either run without it, or not participate....I'm not rude enough to go against rules.

  • I have a foot in both camps I'm afraid!

    On my long slow runs on my own, I listen to music, but have the volume at a reasonably low setting. This way I am still aware of what's going on around me. Unfortunately this means it doesn't drown out the honking of smart-a$$ mens in cars (why do they feel the need to do that?!)

    I also run with a club, and obviously on these nights I run without music. Being part of a group though, I don't tend to miss it, and never think about it.

    As for races, anything under a half-marathon I don't bother with music, halfs & marathons I use it - I can pick the music to give me a boost if I need it at specific times.

    I agree with a previous poster - people should be able to listen to music if they wish. If they choose not to, they shouldn't be critical of those who do.

    And by the way, the other poster who said only "joggers listen to music" - well I run a 1hr 20 half, and just did a sub-3hr marathon - am I classed as a "jogger" with those times?

    Each to their own I say image

  • 1hr 20 half and sub 3 hr marathon!!!!   Can I borrow your playlist?
  • Good point  Wrinkly Smurf.   If someone has no liking for music, has never been to a gig or would not listen to music at any other time, I don't think that making him run with music is going to achieve anything. Using someone who likes music (or at least  is not averse to it) but runs without it may have proved a more meaningful experiment.
  • I am totally with D Runner on this one.  I train on my own a lot and usually either have music or an audio book to keep me company (audio book is the best because you can still hear traffic and other peeps etc). In a busy race I wear one headphone and then take it out when the crowds are thick and people are shouting encouragement - especially towards the end of races. I always run the last mile with my headphone out.

    Short race or one where I have company then obviously wouldn't use it.  BUT music really really helps me to pick up the pace. I definitely run faster with it.  I have done plenty of races with and without and the difference is noticeable.

     I have also done marathons with no music and marathons with.  The first one I ever did was New York which apparently has an amazing atmosphere - well yes it has BUT when It takes you well over 4 hours- that can get a bit lonely and I really really missed my ipod that day.

    I understand those who like silence and the birdsong and i understand those who like a beat.  What I don't understand is why the 'anti's' get so worked up about it when it comes to races.  I really struggle to believe that it's really a health and safety issue - I tend towards the opinion that it just bugs some people because once or twice they were cut up and so now every time they see headphones in someone's ears they get cross.  I get cross at folks cutting me up too but more often than not they don't have headphones in - they are just rude!

  • I also wonder if there is an age thing here.  There is a whole generation of runners who have grown up with walkmans and now ipods and live their lives to a constant beat. Either at home or in the car or even at work.  For these people (and I kind of include myself in this), music is like a constant backdrop that is very noticeable when It is absent.
  • Those crotcheted ear muffs on the first page........CatherineRW......have you been busy lately?!?

  • Personally though I think this is pretty much a pointless debate, as there will always be a differing of opinions. Some peeps like music, some dont - lots of excellent market research for Nike!

    Whether ipods should be allowed in races is a different matter.

    There is a POTENTIAL safety issue for sure - ive been cycling and rung my bell to alert response due ot headphones. (this is on country lanes no pavement!). There are of course other safety issues that are assocaited - especially getting 'jumped' by someone.

    Only time I use music when I run is the rare occasions when I run on a treadmill, and that is to get rid of the gym muzak.

    I dont think it is an age thing at I have been to loads of gigs, always have the radio on at home, listen to music in the car. Whereas I know older people who have rarely been to gigs and always choose to run with music.

  • I run with headphones all the time, and I race with them too. No one will stop me running with them because thats how I like to run.

    The problems raised by posters such as runners being careless with music, not being sociable etc, none of them have any real point to them.

    Is it just me that doesnt actually want to have a in depth conversation when Im racing? When I have raced without music no one talks anyway, everyones trying too hard, and when theres someone I know near me how difficult is it for me to turn it off for a few mins, not very. So this argument is rubbish, ban stupid watches that beep all the time to set your pace, I dont want to listen to your beep every second, or the random people who wear a bean bag on their shoe so they can hear their pace. Now this is annoying.

    As for being less aware and careless, I take more care because I am sensible enough to know that I can't hear. I always check to see if Im cutting people up in races, but theres a difference between taking the racing line and cutting up, non music runners cut you up as well. But what about those people who in races and on the roads are too busy looking at their watches, too busy chatting, etc to notice me coming behind them (this happens a lot) this is just as bad, but you wont want to outlaw watches or talking will you.

    I think I need a run now.............           with music

  • StrayceltStraycelt ✭✭✭
    Hmmm....echo some previous points...for someone to whom music is anathema to their spirit is not really a fair choice. For a focussed runner who never uses music it might broaden their thinking so got/to feel for Steve S. I run with/to music when in the gym, occassionally outside if I need some extra motivation, if it's a dreary day or want to focus on a certain type of run. Idon't run with music if it's a good day in my head, heart or with the weather. I never race to music, especially mass events. I believe that it would be 1)A distraction from focussing totally on performance or the event 2) Disrespectful to others at mass events and 3) Not in the spirit of why I've turned up to any race and that's before we consider the HASAW police.
    I think the vote is too narrow for a straightforward yes or no to sound or silence as I know others too, who mix and match running to music or silence as mood or circumstance dictate
  • Hi

    I've been reading through all the previous comments.  I can't see the problem with listening to music whilst running. 

    As a rule, if i'm running at night, I don't listen to anything, as my safety matters more than anything. 

    When I did the Bupa 10K, I did listen (& got Very wet), but stayed to the side of the road, so people could pass safely. 

    I run by myself, I don't have it on too loud, but (I'm pretty new to running) it encourages me to pick up or slow down depending on the trace I am listening to.  When I am tired, I put on a track that I find uplifting and my legs seems to listen.

    I think it's all about consideration for others, and not weather you listen to music or not! image

  • You'd think that Nike would have been interested in this stuff BEFORE they went into bed with apple and Nike+ed their entire shoe range...
  • Peter, I am not quite sure how you can say that runners with music on being careless is an issue without a real point.

    Myself, and others on here have experienced situations, whether at races, or while driving, or as in my case while cycling adn also while out on a training run when someone listening to music has not been aware of my presence. The point is, that as a cyclist when trying to pass it could cause an collision, or as a lone runner someone could very easily be followed and suffer a surprise attack! Ive had pedestrians step out in front of me even when I have rung my bell in cities and thy've not been aware of me as they simply wouldnt have heard me!

    As you say you keep aware of what goes on around you, not everyone does - believe me I have seen and experienced it. 

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