Silence is golden. {My first music-less run.}

I wrote a post a couple weeks back about the music I listen to when I run and I mentioned that I think people who run in only silence are rockstars (because you are). Yesterday at the suggestion of my running bloggy BFF Helly,I decided to try and be one too. A rockstar with no music.

I had 5 miles on the trail planned for my lunch break and it was really a perfect scenario. The run was short enough that if I started to go insane I wouldn’t be out there for very long. Also for safety reasons I like to be a little more aware when I’m on the trail. It’s not exactly secluded or anything but I do like to know when someone — a biker or a horse for instance — is coming up behind me. Or a bear or an axe murderer. I usually keep my volume low anyway for this reason.

To be sure that I wouldn’t be tempted to use them I left my yurbuds at the office, but obviously still planned to carry my phone in case of an emergency. As I started out the biggest difference right away would be my favorite difference of the whole experience…nothing in my ears to bother with and no wires to adjust. As much as I do love the yurbuds because they stay in my ears, it’s very obvious that they are there. Instead it was just me, my footsteps, the pleasant sounds of nature, and my obnoxious breathing. Yep. I discovered that I breathe really loudly when I run. I don’t know if it was just extra noticeable to me because it was my first time without the headphones in or if everyone who has ever gotten within 10 yards of me running thinks I’m about to keel over from lack of oxygen – which I’m not – but I’m super self-conscious about it now.

I creepy-heavy-breathed my way past some people walking their dog, but other than that there was no one else out there for first half of my run. It was a little unnerving at first, but mostly peaceful with mid-30’s temps, sunshiney, crisp blue skies, and a light breeze. The trail was a bit of a mess still in some spots with ice, mud, and deep bike tracks, but overall it was smooth sailing. I stopped for a minute at my halfway turn around point and took it all in. I love this spot because it makes you feel like you are the only person for miles and miles, but really there are some big houses up at the top of the hill to the right.


This is a really pretty day for winter in Maryland. ::shakes fist at anyone who lives amongst palm trees::

I feel like not having the headphones in made me much more able to appreciate everything else that was going on around me. I passed some other runners on the way back and took a tally of which ones were running with music and which were not. Survey says: Half and half.


I don’t know what I was expecting to happen with my time, but going music-less didn’t affect it negatively. To the contrary this is my fastest run on the trail to date.

Before going out there yesterday I was excited, but fully expected to be writing up another beer run for today. What I got instead was the very pleasant realization that I’m not nearly as dependent on my jams as I thought I was. I don’t think I’m ready to jump fully into the no-music Kool Aid yet, but I’m committing myself to at least two runs per month without being tethered to my iPod and see how that works out for me. If anything I’m hoping I can get my creepy breathing a little more under control.

Maybe one day I will join the ranks of you rockstars who prefer to run in silence after all.

My Bondi Band giveaway ends this Sunday, so if you haven’t already entered you can do it HERE!

I will be dedicating my long run to Meg tomorrow. Where are you running this weekend?



34 thoughts on “Silence is golden. {My first music-less run.}

  1. piratebobcat says:

    Yes! It took me years to learn to go music-less, but now there’s no way in hades that I could go back. It’s great if you can transition to it so early in your running career. You’ll find that it helps you listen to your body (breath included) and make adjustments. I know you’re just going to get faster as a runner – and look at it like this – Elite runners never wear music (except before hand to get pumped up)

  2. onedreamymess says:

    I defiantly understand how you feel about listening to music. I tried running one day without it and it didn’t go so well. I really need something to distract me from the actually running part.

    And don’t feel too bad, I am a creepy heavy breather as well when I run. I think other people understand though…. hopefully haha.

  3. ambertherunner says:

    I bet your loud breathing in all in your head. Think of how weird it would be for a runner to pass you, but you couldn’t hear them breathing at all? Where’s the cadio in that? 😉
    I’m pretty dependent on my music, but I make sure to run once or twice a week without music (or podcasts). It’s funny how many thoughts actually fill your head during a run!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Or maybe they are a vampire. O_o #toomuchtwilight
      I am actually looking forward to doing it again this week! I think I’ll be doing some 2nd birthday party planning while I’m out there. 🙂

  4. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    I think it’s awesome you did a run without music. I often worry I’d feel the same way that the songs keep me going (in anything gym related). Taking in nature though, I think is a great thing. I feel like all too often we get sucked into the technology portal and forget to see and watch the world around us.

  5. txa1265 says:

    Awesome – saw that on Facebook yesterday!

    As I noted on the previous post I am definitely a non-music runner. Coming up on 25 years, no music. Tried a couple of times, definitely not my thing.

    As you noticed – you increase your awareness by removing music. Which of course means running WITH music decreases your awareness by some amount.

    I love to run, and I love nature, and love being at one with myself and my mind. I have run for 25 years with no music and plan the next 25 years music free as well! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I think the next step will be taking on one of my city runs without it. The increased awareness was nice on the trail but for safety reasons it will be extra nice when there are more dangers around me. 🙂

  6. shonnako says:

    First off, kudos on the music-less run, you fearless woman, you. The thought hadn’t even entered my mind. Thanks for planting the seed. Not quite ready yet though 😉
    Second, #megsmiles. Whoa. Chills. And, a beautiful perspective to keep in the forefront as I’m negotiating with myself that I have gone far enough for my run this weekend.
    It’s a great day.

  7. Andrea says:

    I started running without music when I joined a training group several years ago. It just seemed rude to have ear buds in when I could be chatting with people. The group actually asks that if you want music to only use one ear bud. Races have pretty much given up on banning music, but a just a few years ago it wasn’t always allowed and I didn’t want to depend on it during my training. I’m more conscious about safety than I used to be too. I’ve had way too many close calls with cars and want to be able to hear the car that’s about to fly from a side street into the sidewalk path!

  8. Lindsay says:

    I actually run almost all of my runs without music these days. I kinda like the time to just “be” but as my miles get longer I think I’ll change my mind! 🙂

  9. Abby @ Change of Pace says:

    Way to run without music! I used to depend on it but about 10 years ago quit it cold turkey. I don’t think I could run with music now! I love the silence of it (even if there are cars and noise around me!).
    and ha- got a kick out of your fist shaking at people who live by palm trees. I feel the same way!

  10. Lindsey says:

    I usually run without my music outside unless I am really just trying to zone out. These winter months I have been so excited to be outside and not on the treadmill that I like being aware of every second outside!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I hear you. I don’t mind the treadmill sometimes, but it’s being forced to run on it that I don’t like. I actually don’t listen to music on the treadmill at all (I watch movies, but I can rarely hear what the actors are actually saying) so that was my first clue that maybe I’d do okay with it outside.

  11. kristenk says:

    Yay for joining us non-music runners! Although as you saw, I’m thinking about trying some music on my long runs to see if it will help me get through the boring parts of my run 🙂 Anyways, I think running without music is so relaxing and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • runsaltrun says:

      YES!! *high five* Honestly, I’m still going to be pretty dependent on it for awhile for my long runs. I made a new playlist of stuff I hadn’t listened to in a long time for my run on Saturday and some of the music that was coming on made me so happy while I ran. I’m not ready to give that up.

  12. Anita says:

    I went out for a run a few months back and it wasn’t until I was 2km in that I realized I had forgotten my music. It was also my fastest run. I still take music out with me but I’m finding I am turning it off more often now and just listening to what’s going on around me.

    PS. I’m a creepy-heavy breather too 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      Creepy heavy breathers of the world unite! Maybe we could form a support group. 🙂 Maybe I should try doing some of my longer runs with half music/half not to ease into it a little more.

  13. Kristy says:

    I just found your blog, and I think I will be a regular here! Would love to read some posts on your yoga, specifically poses that help with running! You are pretty speedy for only running a couple of years. Will be fun to see your progression!

  14. Jesse - Questionably Texan says:

    I rarely listen to music, but I do listen to podcasts on my lunch runs. Helps distract me from thinking about work in the middle of the day. I took a pair if earbuds and cut off one side, so that I can always still hear what’s going on around me.

  15. Sara says:

    I find that I often turn my ishuffle off when running, but I like to have it when hitting hills, or need that extra push or encouragement when I am out on my longer runs.

    That is a great idea to commit to a couple music-free runs a month.

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