Become a Better Runner: 3 Reasons To Run Without Earphones
Don’t! I know what you’re going to say. “But, running without music is soooo boring!” Alright, yes. I’ll be the first to admit it, running with no musical motivation can sometimes make a run feel quite long and boring. Until recently, even just the thought of running without my earbuds was absolutely terrifying. One of the best parts of running is picking up the pace and rocking it out when your favorite song comes on. I live for that! What would running be without it?!
Yet, a few days ago I was forced to face my fear of music-less running. My headphones were MIA and it was waaay too nice outside to ditch my workout for such weak reason. So, for the first time (maybe not ever, but in a very long time) I closed the front door behind me and embarked on a 3-mile run sans music. At first it was weird. But it didn’t take long to get into the groove. I soon forgot all about my missing music because I started to pay attention to a bunch of other things that I normally only focus on for a moment or two when my ear buds are blocking out the world.
Here are three reasons why you should run without earphones to become a better runner:
1.) Hear Your Footstrike: Sure, music gives you a nice tempo to gauge your pace off of. But believe it or not, the sound of your footstrike is an even better beat to go by. The entire time you’re running, your body is giving you cues, and the sound of the speed at which your feet are hitting the ground is one of them. Hearing it will make it more likely that you’ll be able to tell whether or not you’re running at the right pace. I find that I run much faster when I’m without my headphones. (And I’m not just assuming that. I’ve timed it. It’s true!) This won’t necessarily be true for everybody, but it certainly can’t hurt to try!
2.) Heighten Your Body Awareness: So many of your muscles are working when you run. From your glutes, to your abs, and all the way down to your calves, there’s a lot going on. Not to mention all of the joint motion taking place. When I run, my left foot tends to over-pronate, or roll inward. When I run with music, (even when I’m consciously trying) its very hard for me to correct the motion. But without music, my gait almost as much as corrects itself. Proper running form is important for injury prevention. Do yourself a favor and, even if its just for a mile, run without music once a week. The whole time, listen to your body. How do your core muscles feel? Are they engaged? What about your hamstrings, your IT bands, your ankles? You’ll be surprised at just how much more aware of your muscles and joints you’ll become when your brain isn’t busy singing along to Nicki Minaj.
3.) Soak Up The Sun: Ok, so maybe this won’t technically make you a better runner. But sometimes its nice to just disconnect for a little while, you know? Hear the birds chirping, feel the wind blowing, stare at something other than your iPhone for more than two minutes of your life. Don’t get me wrong, music also definitely has the ability to take you to that detached, “flow state” where you’re totally in the zone. But trust me, it’s refreshing to reach that disconnected feeling all on your own every once in a while.
The bottom line: I’m not saying you should go toss your headphones in the garbage. I recommend a short-distance, music-less run once or twice a week. If you make that a consistent habit, you should start to feel your gait and form improve progressively. So much to the point where proper running form will start to become more natural and you can rock out worry-free during the rest of your running routines!
Have you ever tried running without earphones? Do you find it helps you to run with better form?