Listening Post

I don’t normally run and listen to music, in fact it’s not something I would do at all. I did when I very first started running.  I’d signed up to a Couch to 5K programme and alongside the coached Wednesday sessions, we had ‘homework’ to complete ourselves.  At this stage I was running to time rather than distance and I very quickly learnt the exact length of each song on my playlist which was a little bit de-motivating for me as after 2 songs I had only been running for a small  amount of minutes with a big amount of minutes to go.  My solution?  Podcasts.  Listening to someone chat in your ear is very distracting, in a good way and depending on what you are listening to, it can be very enlightening too.  Problem solved.  We then started up a ‘homework’ group and rather than listening to Iggy Pop deliver the John Peel lecture, I got to listen to and engage with a bunch of very interesting men and women who I still get to call my friends.  Many a problem has been sorted out on a social run let me tell you and I found myself opening up in a way I never thought I would to relative strangers at that point, and them to me.  They do say that it’s sometimes easier to talk to someone when you don’t have direct eye contact with them all the time…

So fast forward to C25K graduation and beyond.  I started entering races and most state that the wearing of headphones is prohibited.  So far so good, I always ran with a group on training runs and no headphones no problem. I never really ‘race’ during races either and will often chat my way through a race with different people.  I have this year however been a bit of a loner on my longer weekend runs due to all sorts of things and through choice too, it’s very grounding to be alone in nature with just your thoughts and I find that my senses go into overdrive.  I can hear birds and other creatures rustling around in trees and hedges, the flowers smell stronger and my eyes pick up on small details that would perhaps be missed if I wasn’t alone.  This is what I enjoy about running, I try and run off-road where possible as I find road running boring.


Sometimes races can be fun!  That’s me, no 259…


I’ve not been well recently and haven’t been on a proper run for a little while so I forced myself out of the door this morning.  I think that the lack of company was putting me off going but at the same time I didn’t want anyone else to witness my potential inadequacies whilst trying to get back up to strength and speed again.(I use the terms strength and speed very loosely when talking about my running!)  So, I downloaded a running playlist  (Running to Hip Hop Hits if you’re interested) and off I trotted.  The little E by the majority of the tracks should have been a clue but this was not radio or family friendly (!) but there is something quite liberating about listening to something really sweary whilst running in beautiful countryside!  (You can read another post about swearing here if you’d like.)

Reader.  I enjoyed the experience.  I noticed just as much as I would have normally and actually, came to the conclusion that it’s not really too much different to running with a friend gently yammering in your ear.  Which is a good thing in case you were wondering…

I’m not sure that I’ll run with headphones every solo long run, but every now and again I think is ok.

Do you run with headphones or with company or do you prefer the solitude of you and nature?  Let me know what other playlists I need to be on the lookout for too please


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