Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Why I Run Without Headphones

Way back in 2007--saying that makes me feel old, but it was eight years ago--when I was training for my first marathon, I did every long run with headphones. My tiny iPod shuffle and I were practically inseparable. However, I had decided that I wouldn't be wearing headphones during the race so I tried my last 20 miler without them. Much to my surprise, it wasn't a bad experience and the run still went by quickly. During the race, as expected, I didn't miss them at all.

After that, I would wear headphones occasionally, but more and more I did my runs without music. Today, my iPod shuffle has been long forgotten and even when I'm stuck running on the treadmill I often choose to forgo music. At a certain point, I just realized that I get more out of my run when all of my senses are tuned into the workout rather than the latest Flo Rida beat.

Photo credit: B2C

 On this morning's run I had a special moment that made me so glad I was fully present. I was running along the greenway through Hudson River Park near the West Village. Usually all you can hear is the gentle roar of the cars and trucks on the West Side Highway and the occasional helicopter overhead. Just as I was passing Chambers Street, though, the green lights changed to red and all of the traffic stopped. Suddenly I couldn't hear any motors. Instead I heard only the gentle lapping of the North River against the bulkheads. For a few moments, I wasn't running along a busy arterial in New York City, it was just me and the water.

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