First marathon - listen to music or not?

I know there are sooo many of these threads....but do the experienced amongst you wear headphones in a marathon race or not?

I've check the event, headphones are allowed ('not recommended'...but not banned). I can appreciate from a safety side of things its good to be aware of whats around you, but I always run with headphones and as live out in the country tend to be used to noticing whats around me (don't listen to the music too loudly, and so notice cars and the odd stray dog!). It doesn't tend to distract me too much from pace either, its more background noise....But would I miss out a lot from the atmosphere? Is it worth having them for when it gets tough (and when the atmosphere gets a bit more muted)?


  • Hello Runwiththewind,


    Whilst I wouldn’t call myself superExperienced, I have done a couple of marathons, as well as other race distances. I used music in both marathons.  I’ve started to train without music now, so I can concentrate more on pacing as I have some very specific goals, however, I do still take my music out on a long run, when I’m running in daylight.  For the two marathons I’ve done, I actually created a playlist of songs that would pick me up at certain points.  For example, I put an uplifting song around each hour.  I also tended to put many songs that I find inspirational/motivational towards wher I think I’m in the last hour of the race and really need to dig deep.  I don’t think the headphones took away from the atmosphere – really depends which marathon your doing?


    London was my first, and the crowds were so loud that it didn’t matter that I was wearing the headphones.


    I would say stick with the music if you’re used to it, but perhaps set up a playlist that will help you get through the race, so you’re not annoyed at the most difficult part of the race with an annoying song that’s on your ipod from a compilation for example!


    Good Luck!

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I train with music but don't 'race' with it. I normally train by myself so find music can help if i'm feeling a little tired but when i'm with others - I like to speak to them or the crowds supporting. I find a good crowd can lift you way more than any music.

    I did my first in london and it was amazing and something i didnt want to spoil with music and it carried on from there.

  • My first mara, I had 2 hrs without and 2 hrs with music. Worked quite well for me....

  • I've done 4marathons now all with music but what I found is London ( that was my first one, i just pulled the headphones out as I found i had so much support I didnt need the music ) 

    the other ones, 2 were quiet marathons and so yes I needed the music ( sometimes if someone came and run with me then i'd pull them out and chat to them or listen to them and then put the music in when they ran on ) and the other one was a mixture of support and quiet times, and i just pulled the earphones out when there were crowds and put them back in again when it was quiet

    I would say take the music with you as back up as u dont have to use it but its thee if u need it 

  • I never use them for races as i prefer to either enjoy the different scenery or talk to those running around me.chatting to someone different about why they are running etc.just makes the miles disappear,.................and then i get to thank every marshall for their encouragement and advice and also to respond to those supporting from the side

    otherwise with headphones you might as well just be doing a long training run on your own.why enter the race

      Hope it goes well for whichever you choose

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