The majority of professional runners don’t run with music. In fact, many running events don’t allow it.
While this may be telling us something, music can actually enhance your running.
The trick is to know when to run with music and when to run without music.
Let me explain:
Sports psychologists recognize two types of attention strategy:
Inwardly focussed attention and Outwardly focussed attention.
- Inwardly focussed attention is where you are aware of your breathing and feet landing. In other words no music and no distractions.
- Outwardly focussed attention is the opposite where you are focussed on something else such as music when you are running. You’re distracted away from yourself.
This strategy (running with music) works best at low to moderate intensity. Your long run for example, is a great time to listen to music.
The same study found that inwardly focussed strategy, (running without music) being in tune with your body, your breathing and your feet works better at high intensity.
That’s why, in a race situation, most runners won’t be wearing their headphones.
In summary: Best to run with music at low intensity and run without music at high intensity.
Important Note: Running with headphones can pose a safety risk. Please be mindful that if you are running in traffic or alone in the woods, your relative awareness of your surroundings will be impaired. Be safe people.
Now we know what the professionals do, let’s take a look what 89 running mums had to think about running with music. This question, “Do You Run With Music” was posted in the Running Mums Australia Facebook Group. Here are the results:
80% Said they don’t run with music, while 20% said they do.
The biggest reasons for running without music are; earphones are uncomfortable, safety concerns and for the peace, being more in tune with their body.
Interestingly, 19% started running with music and later gave it up. Is running with music a newbie mistake? What do you think?