I choose not to run with music for a few reasons. First, I find it distracting. For me the best thing about running is that it transports me to a quiet place where I can think – or not – as I move along. I’ve written about running at 4:00 AM and how much I enjoy the silence of that experience. Second, the need to wear ear buds as I run is a big annoyance. The one time that I tried it the tugging from the ear buds bothered me so much that I pulled them off and tossed them away. Fortunately I was on a treadmill so I could do that. When I saw those other runners listening to music while competing it made me think they were less serious about their commitment to the run. This is a race people!
Lest you think I’m some kind of hyper judgmental person I’ll concede that music can be a great companion for some. Perhaps those in the race were using the music to help them focus. I know there is a Nike+ iPod app that coaches you as you run. Maybe these iPod wearers were actually doing it for competitive advantage. I will be getting an iPhone soon, primarily for business related research. I am thinking about whether I would try the MapMyRun or other location aware applications that use the GPS signal to communicate speed, distance and other metrics in real time. If I did that would I also consider listening to some music since I’m lugging the thing around anyway? I’m thinking I wouldn’t but you never know.