Should you wear earphones in running?
What’s the hardest part of running?
Putting on your shoes.
Getting over that initial mental battle and out the door! When you’ve made that start, should you wear earphones and listen to music?
I saw a debate on Twitter last week around this. Does it really matter if you wear earphones or not? It’s something I’ve thought about for myself because I can’t race with music. Sometimes when you tell people you run without earphones you get a funny look and response like "You run without music? Just your own thoughts? You're mental!"
So, here’s my opinion on it.
If earphones and music get you out the door, do it. If they help to get you running, do it. However, in the long run (pun intended), I think there’s a lot of benefit to no music, podcasts or whatever you want to listen to.
Before going any further, in case you're thinking it's easy for me as I run a lot, I want to clarify, I never enjoyed running. I was a swimmer, which to be fair is even more sadistic when you think of swimming up and down a black line for 1.5-2hrs with nothing else!
When I first started running I needed music. I needed my earphones. However, it was another input of noise in my day. Podcasts, opinions, music, simply more noise in my day during a period I could escape and zone out. I started trying to run without that input for one main reason originally and that was that I had to race without them.
How to change your habits
I made a deal with myself. If I could run the first half of my session without any input, I could listen to something for the second half. Over time that extended to two thirds of my session. Then one to two songs to finish. Eventually I could go a whole session without music or podcasts distracting me. I even learned to enjoy running!
Sometimes I’ll run with AirPods with nothing playing just to block out the noise of cars, it can feel a little more peaceful. I think everyone should aim to run without music, podcasts or anything else playing through their earphones. It’s a chance to escape, become present, gain clarity and experience flow state.
So, should you run with earphones and input? In the long run, try not to. If it gets you out the door initially, by all means do what it takes!
The odd day that I struggle, I still make a bargain with myself, get to X mins and you can play a few songs. Most of the time I don’t as once I'm started and into the session all feels good.
It’s also the one time I can get 30, 45, 60+ mins to myself without any other opinions, screens and whatever other distractions we face.
At the end of the day, it's up to you what you do. Don't knock it til you try it. Try making some deals with yourself, doing more of you running without music etc., and getting some headspace!